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British archives join Unesco's World Register

Antartic survey

British archives added to World Register

SIX significant UK archives have been added to Unesco’s UK Memory of the World Register.

There are already 57 archives listed on the UK register, which is part of Unesco’s global effort to record and retain access to important records. The register recognises archives that are deemed as culturally important to the UK.

The six new additions are: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Archive; The Sir Robert Cotton’s Collection of Manuscripts; Eton Choirbook; The Base and Field Reports, and Related Photographic Material of the British Antarctic Survey and its Predecessors; The Chronicle of Elis Gruffudd, ‘Soldier of Calais’; and Early Gaelic Manuscripts of the Scottish Advocates Library.

Unesco’s vision for the Memory of the World programmes, which was established in 1992, is as a global initiative to preserve significant documentary heritage for future generations. A ceremony to mark the inclusion was held last month.

Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan, Chair of the Unesco Memory of the World UK Committee, said: “Archives are the lifeblood of our memory. These awards demonstrate the richness and beauty of the UK archival inheritance, much of which is freely available to the public through archives, museums and libraries. I encourage people to discover this inheritance for themselves.

James Bridge, Secretary General of UK Nation Commission for Unesco, said inclusion provides global recognition, adding: “Each new inscription onto the register provides a fascinating insight into the rich variety of our documentary heritage.”

Published: 23 October 2018

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