Located AtStaffordshire Record Office
Alt Ref NoD7631
TitleRecords of Kinver Edge Committee
Administrative HistoryMethodology of the Kinver Edge Committee Archive Group
The first step in the overall process was to decide that the records should be archived. The first 50 years or so of the Committee's records had been held by the Lee family, primarily at the family's solicitors in Birmingham. Thanks to enquiries made by Committee member David Bills, these records were retrieved and deposited at the Holy Austin Rock Houses NT Office. The exception to this was the 1917-1952 minute book which was discovered in the house of another Committee member, Ken Wrigley, during clearance of his effects.

In 2013 the Committee and NT jointly arranged for National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies volunteers to catalogue these records. A professional exercise was carried out and the material catalogued in broadly chronological order. However the records were numbered "as they came" and no attempt was made at archival arrangement. This would make future research or searching the archive records not as easy or enjoyable as it could be.

In 2015 NT invited volunteers to form an Archive and Research Group to look in general at historical matters in connection with Kinver Edge and The Rock Houses. One element of this was to continue to list the Kinver Edge Committee records. Since the 2013 project, further material had been deposited at the Rock Houses, primarily the records of past Treasurers, Alf Horridge and Brian Edwards, covering the years 1970 to 2010. A scoping exercise was undertaken to identify where other material was held and it was agreed that the primary source was Anthony Phipps, Committee Secretary from 1965 to 2012. Anthony was approached and arrangements were made to receive his material. In due course further records were received from current Secretary John Sharkey, Chairman Sue Wright and former Committee members, (the late) Peter Perry and Peter Hodges.

In order to determine the best way forward, NT Curator Sarah Kay and Joanna Terry from Staffordshire County Council Archive Service attended the first main Archive Group Meeting. Sarah explained that it was NT policy that property records should be deposited at the relevant County Records Office, subject to their agreement. Joanna confirmed that they would be happy to receive and store them. It was subsequently agreed that the records would remain in the Kinver Edge Committee's ownership but held on deposit at Staffordshire Record Office.

Joanna went on to explain that in most cases an organisation's records were given to them in a "raw state" and that the Archive Service then staff sort and catalogue them, sometimes with the help of volunteers with sepcialised knowledge. The Kinver Archive Group suggested that they could be the expert volunteers, who had the best knowledge of the Committee and the records and that they would like to create the catalogue themselves at Kinver before depositing the collection. Joanna said that the Archive Service would provide advice, training and ongoing support.

Four volunteers put themselves forward for this task. John Furness, Committee Member, undertook the lead role and responsibility for liaison between the parties involved. The other members were Sharron Wise, whose experience of similar work was to prove invaluable, Keith Hinett and Irene Arrowsmith.

This group started to meet in Spring 2016 on a fortnightly basis. Initially much thought was given to the possible structure of the Archive Catalogue and the process to be undertaken. After a couple of meetings the group's thoughts were discussed with Rebecca from Staffordshire Record Office and the way forward agreed, including the preferred option of selectively weeding the material to remove duplicates and keeping sample years only of some record types, to make the final Archive manageable, relevant, interesting and conducive to future reference and research. The decision to selectively weed the collection was subsequently endorsed by the Kinver Edge Committee. At this time the decision was made to sort and re-catalogue the material subject to the 2013 exercise.

100% of this first 50 years-worth of committee records were retained and archived. The volume was comparatively small and it was likely to have been the subject of much sorting over the years with only the most important documents being retained. The group based the catalogue structure on the core activities and functions of the Kinver Edge Committee, and after discussion, and trial and error, agreed on 11 series of records. There are 121 individual catalogue descriptions of items, which range from a single volume to large files. The 11 series are

Minutes of Kinver Edge Committee meetings
Financial records of Kinver Edge Committee
Constitution of Kinver Edge Committee
Deeds and legal papers of Kinver Edge Committee
Grounds maintenance and forestry
Maintenance of Holy Austin Rock Houses
Correspondence files of Kinver Edge Committee
General correspondence
Subject correspondence
Publicity: publications and articles re Kinver Edge
Kinver Edge Ranger: papers re appointment
Papers of John Greaves Smith, architect, relating to the restoration of the Rock Houses

As the group moved on to the second 50 years material the volume increased very substantially and was in need of considerable sorting and weeding. It was decided that the most time-effective method of coping with the volume was for John Furness to carry out a rough "pre-sort" into the series and for decisions to be discussed and agreed at the fortnightly meetings. In some cases stray material was added to existing files.

A catalogue reference number, file title, file description, number of documents and date range was then created for the files. Sharron Wise took great care to keep entries in the catalogue fields compliant with the CALM cataloguing rules supplied to the group by Rebecca Jackson. The new material was pre-sorted and taken to the group in broadly chronological order. Care was taken to avoid duplication where the same records were received from more than one source. Gradually all the material was worked through and the final Archive took shape. It is estimated that the Archive Project Group examined approximately 12,000 documents (ranging from minute books to individual sheets of paper), of which around 5,000 were included in the final Archive Catalogue.

The final records to be included were the 2017 Committee minutes and the records of the 2017 Centenary Celebrations, these being added in January 2018. The final Archive comprised approximately 5,000 items in 121 individual files under 11 headings. The material filled 7 archive storage boxes and 2 containers of minute books and box files. The group has expended approximately 450 hours on the project.
ArrangementThis collection was arranged and catalogued by the National Trust's Kinver Edge Archive Group with advice from Staffordshire Record Office. [see 'methodology' below]
On 29th September 1917 200 acres at Kinver Edge was gifted to the National Trust (NT) by the Lee family. The National Trust was a relatively young organisation having been established in 1895. It had a very small central office staff and very limited resources. In accepting a gift of land or property the Trust expected, whenever possible, that it would be supported by some sort of endowment to cover ongoing upkeep and maintenance and that the day to day management of the property would be carried out by a Local Management Committee, whose membership was subject to NT approval.

The Kinver Edge Local Committee was established in November 1917 and comprised 10 members including Thomas Oliver Lee and Emma Rosalind Lee representing the donor family. The Committee first met on 8th December 1917 and generally met around 4 times a year. The usual officers, Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer were appointed.

A minute book was kept from the first meeting and is extant. It provides minutes up to 1952. There is then a gap until a second minute book was started in 1966 which records meetings up to 2000. From the 1970s the supporting papers for the minutes also exist. In addition, records of the Annual Meeting exist from 1949. Financial records and annual accounts are extant as a complete record from 1918 to 2017, although the last few years appear within general minutes. These records are the "bare bones" of the Committee's work as regards matters discussed and actions taken and the financial record of running the property.

In addition to these basic records there are a vast amount of documents covering the 100 years of the Committee's work. These comprise letters, memoranda, file notes, reports, invoices, receipts, records of conversations, job applications, publicity and fund raising material etc, and more latterly, email records.
Extent112 files, 32 bundles, 8 items
CopyrightAny questions concerning the publication of images of documents in this collection should be directed to the County Archivist, Staffordshire Record Office, Eastgate Street, Stafford ST16 2 LZ.
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