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Nine miles of documents zoom into the classroom

Originally, we intended to take the school children to visit the Bury St Edmunds Record Office but, of course, that isn’t possible right now.

So we were thrilled when Hannah Salisbury, the Community and Learning Officer (West Suffolk) from Suffolk Archives, offered to do an online presentation.

It was fascinating; did you know that there are about nine miles of documents in the Bury St Edmunds office, that’s around 94 million pages of documents and that the oldest document they have is the Eye Charter, written in 1119?

Hannah told us that there are four very particular skills we need for looking at archives. These are: –

  • understanding the context
  • asking questions
  • thinking about things from other peoples’ perspectives and
  • being able to read old handwriting.

Which makes every child in the Abbots Green Academy Special Delivery group really, really good at understanding archives, as they have all of those skills, and many more besides.

An old hand-written inventory of domestic belongings
This extract of an inventory kept in the Record Office at Bury St Edmunds lists the value of items belonging to Clement Salisbury. The children immediately made the connection and yes, Clement is a distant, distant relative of Hannah’s.