Wakefield’s West Yorkshire History Centre celebrates first anniversary

MOVE: Archivist Helen Walker in the build up to the move to the West Yorkshire History Centre.
MOVE: Archivist Helen Walker in the build up to the move to the West Yorkshire History Centre.
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A treasure trove of history celebrated its first anniversary this week and a boost in visitors.

The West Yorkshire History Centre on Kirkgate in Wakefield opened its doors on February 13 last year following the move from the Registry of Deeds on Newstead Road.

The new building is home to more than 100,000 boxes of unique historical documents that cover Wakefield and the surrounding West Yorkshire area. The West Yorkshire Archive Service has seen visitor numbers double to nearly 8,000 people since opening its doors to the public. The move from the old building has resulted in enthusiastic visitors accessing material as wide ranging as the Stanley Royd Hospital collection to the family and estate material from Nostell Priory.

Archivist David Morris said: “The past year also saw collections held in Wakefield grow by a whopping 3,417 boxes, laid end to end this would be the equivalent of 96 double decker buses.

“One of the significant collections to be deposited with the service in 2017 was a private collection amassed by local historian John Goodchild.”

In November last year, during the ceremonial handover of the collection, a research room at the West Yorkshire History Centre was also dedicated to the late historian.

Several pieces from Mr Goodchild’s collection were put on show, including a royal pardon and items relating to nature pioneer Charles Waterton.

The West Yorkshire History Centre offers a wide range of family friendly activities suitable for all age ranges, these include family craft events during half term to courses aimed at growing your family tree.

See www.wyjs.org.uk/archive-services for more email wakefield@wyjs.org.uk.

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