There have been some significant changes at the Worcestershire Archives, the Hive, and related services. We have received the following communication from the Archives service. Note: we are now in Tier 3, so the opening times may have changed.

“Whilst we are in tier two, the opening days for the Historic Environment Record at the Hive are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, between 1030 and 1330. Please book at least a day in advance. There is a limit of five people in the search room. Please do not visit twice in the same week. Please read the details in this link: If Worcester moves into another tier these guidelines will change.

Following Victoria Bryant’s retirement from WAAS, the Service has been moved to a different County Council Directorate with some restructuring. This note from Dr Adrian Gregson explains what has happened:

“The last eighteen months have seen some changes in WAAS Management Structures, firstly as a result of Lisa Snook leaving to become County Archivist at Gwent and more latterly, the retirement of WAAS Service Manager, Victoria Bryant, long standing of this parish. Additionally, WAAS has been moved from the Directorate of Economy and Infrastructure to a new Directorate, People, including Adult Social Care, Public Health and our area of Communities. Our Assistant Director Hannah Needham, whom some of you will know through dealings with Museums Worcestershire, also manages Countryside, Skills and Registrars.

Members may also be aware that Charlene Taylor, an archivist of long standing who started working on the Croome Estate Collection has left to take up a job in the world of business archives, and we were delighted to replace her with Zoe van Well, an archivist previously at Warwickshire, but who lives locally and joined the Team during lockdown. There have been no redundancies as a result of this local restructuring. WAAS itself has been linked up with the County Libraries Service under a new post of Library, Archives and Archaeology Service Manager, held by Carol Brown who until recently headed up the Library Service. The elements of Victoria’s role that involved specialist knowledge of the Service have been shared across the Archive and Archaeology Management team, resulting in a service-wide restructure to accommodate the changes. Paul Hudson, as Learning and Outreach Manager for the whole of WAAS, manages a small team delivering big things on a mainly external budget, and is crucially responsible for our website: In Archives and in the HER/Advisory team it sounds like one of those Hammer film series, though hopefully less horrific!

The Return of the County Archaeologist, and its sequel, the Return of the County Archivist: Emma Hancox starring in the first role, and Adrian Gregson in the latter. Emma, previously Historic Environment Policy Advisory Manager, has taken on new responsibilities and has had a title change to County Archaeologist. As well as this there will be two new roles, to be filled by existing staff. We are delighted to be able to reinstate the post of Historic Environment Record Officer (HERO), after a gap of several years. We are also creating a second Historic Environment Advisor post to support the provision of historic environment advice for strategic planning, land management including Stewardship and county projects. Within the Archive Service we have created three Senior Archivists, assisting Adrian as the new Countyand Diocesan Archivist, a title last held by Tony Wherry back in the 1980s (when I started!). These posts provide a much-needed career structure within the service. Two Seniors come from within the existing archivist cohort with one being mainly responsible for the public services and the other responsible for collections. A third Senior Archivist is being recruited on a short-term contract to set up a much needed Digital Archive Management System, funded externally.

There is to be a review of the strategic direction of archives and archaeology and pending the results of this, Robin Jackson will act up to lead as Worcestershire Archaeology Manager. Staff are very much behind these new structures and committed to continuing to deliver and improving service despite our very trying and challenging times. We will continue to work with our partners and in turn welcome your continued support and engagement in protecting and promoting Worcestershire’s diverse cultural heritage.”

Take care,