Thank you and goodbye!

Today is my last day at Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives!

Despite the odd year, I've had a great time working on the project and wanted to share some of the highlights.

On arrival I looked through the collection and quickly understood its importance. With records from 1800-1960, the archive covered a significant period in the history of the Harbour and Aberdeen as a city. The records not only documented the history of the business but the way local people lived and worked and I was determined to do it justice. 

Excluding the week to familiarise myself in December, I had about three months with the collections before lockdown was imposed and we were no longer allowed to go into the office. Despite this, I managed to catalogue 516 volumes and 154 boxes to file level. This year has been all about adapting and utilising existing assets so I can’t take all this credit alone; a number of volunteers and staff had already worked hard to create lists of photographs and block plans. I couldn’t have got so far in the project without all their groundwork, I cannot thank them enough. To date, just over 4500 records have been added to the catalogue and are now accessible to the public. 


[Salmon ledger series]

As well as cataloguing, outreach has been a real challenge this year. We’re used to visiting community groups, talking to visitors and creating interactive exhibitions. Restrictions have meant that we’ve had to be a lot more inventive. I had to ditch my proposed rum tasting exhibition and heritage open day in favour of something more socially distanced. Que Code the City.

You can read more about the Code the City project on my previous blogs but, as an update, in December 2020 we finished the last page and have over 30,000 transcriptions. We have had students, members of the council, maritime enthusiasts, archivists and even an ex-ship's captain work on the project and we now have a great picture of what was arriving in the harbour during the First World War. 


[Arrivals ledger]

This mass of data has been picked up by one of the Code the City volunteers and he has created a full website which translates the information from the spreadsheets into something more visual. We now have graphs of vessels, notes from the day and we can even trace the weather at http://161.35.162.175/. 

Although I've not had the year I envisioned, I have had a great time. I have really warmed to Aberdeen and I will miss it! A massive thank you to all the staff at the Archive for making me feel so welcome, I will definitely be back to visit. I am also extremely grateful for all the help I have had from volunteers, the Harbour Board, AAGM and Code the City - I have enjoyed working with you all.

If you are interested in viewing any of the collection it will be available when the service reopens, keep an eye on our social media for updates. Otherwise, read back through my blog posts to learn more about the collection and some of the documents I loved.

Any questions can be directed to the Archive team at archives@aberdeencity.gov.uk.


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