First impressions of the Modern Archives

This is a guest post by Lucy Hughes, the College’s new Modern Archivist.

My first two months as Modern Archivist at Corpus Christi have been very enjoyable. Learning about the College’s traditions, its possessions and – most of all – its people has been fascinating, and I look forward to learning more. Getting to know some of the people who have worked and studied here, either through reading about them in the archive or meeting them face to face, has been one of the highlights of the job so far. In fact, there are probably enough anecdotes and reminiscences to be gleaned to make up a full-scale oral history project, if only there were time! Going round chatting to people and recording them as they reminisce would certainly be pleasant, although the necessary day-to-day work of accessioning and answering queries should probably remain the priority for the time being. Then there is the question of cataloguing. So it is a fairly busy life.

View from Modern Archives
View from Modern Archives Office

I have particularly enjoyed the view from my office, high up on I staircase. The ancient tower of St Benet’s sits square and sturdy straight in my line of vision, a bit like a beacon. It is wonderful, of course, to be surrounded by so much history; for example, finding a note (written by Robin Myers, my extremely friendly and helpful predecessor) on a chapel service sheet from 2010 recording that the Corpus Christi Day procession from St Benet’s took place that year for the first time since probably the sixteenth century, was intriguing. Finding a box labelled ‘Treasures; Ghost’ among the stacks also raised a smile. I haven’t looked inside it yet! As spring arrives, I’m looking forward to visiting  Leckhampton Gardens on Open Gardens Day (3 April) and to observing the College’s yearly cycle as we move through the calendar.

Lucy Hughes

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