John Goodchild Collection

At our February meeting we were greeted by a collection of boxes and tins that Elsie Walton and Carol Sklinar had collected over many years.  They were made from carved wood, metal, porcelain and card.  They were in all shapes and sizes and a number must have been over 100 years old.
There were wedding gifts of cutlery sets; old biscuit tins, now holding cotton reels and buttons; boxes of stationary; pen and ink; a paint box; two jewellery boxes, etc.  Many of these were family treasures but some were the result of browsing through junk and second-hand shops over many years.
Helen Walker, Archivist at West Yorkshire History Centre, was asked to talk about the late John Goodchild and his amazing collection donated to our archives, which Helen has been sorting, boxing and cataloguing since 2016. She would also explain how far the work had progressed and how to
locate it on the archives website.  Helen prepared her talk with a power point presentation, but was then unable to come onthe date.  Stefanie Davidson, Records Management, Collections Digital Archives Coordinator for WYJS, based inMorley, kindly stepped forward to deliver the session instead. It covered all hoped for plus more, some highlighted here. The John Goodchild Collection is believed to be one of the largest private collections relating to Yorkshire collected by a single individual.  It was moved from Drury Lane to the Registry of Deeds, where John continued answering queriesand acquiring further material and all the containers were eventually barcoded. Sadly John died before he could move in to the new history centre in Kirkgate, Wakefield.  As a result
of his will, it came under the care of the WYAS in Wakefield. Stefani described the purpose of an archive service – to collect and preserve records relating to their districts and to enable public access; the problems caused by the size of John’s collection; the sources of his records; what subjects
were covered and the types of records.  After re-boxing there are almost 3,300 containers.  The box list can be searched on the online catalogue.  Importantly, volunteer roles will be offered  to open up access to the collection and to help members of the public to access the records.  Even more
fundraising is necessary to help conserve the collection – you can sponsor a box.  (Forms are available.)
Stefanie explained that all archives use the same catalogue system and she showed us how to use it
Using the advanced search,
use JG as the Catalogue Finding Number.
Then, choose Collection in Level of Description.
We are grateful to both Helen and Stefanie for such a detailed and very useful session.

About Dave Huddart