Exploring Manchester archives: Part One

With Explore Your Archive week nearly upon us, over the next few months we'll be catching up with different record sources across Manchester and Salford archives, starting with a few posts from Archives +. Held at the city's Central Library, this collaboration brings together statutory records and local history materials in a great accessible archive environment.

Entering the ground floor main atrium, a combination of interactive and original documents showcases themes of Manchester's local history. These 'Stories' explore the industry, politics, and social developments that have shaped the lives of people in Manchester and beyond.

Photograph: Peter Corcoran

Behind the interactive exhibitions are the North West Film Archive, and the library's local history lending collection [the upper floors of the library house reference collections including texts helpful for genealogists].

Access to rare materials - including court records, land tax records, specialist map collections, theatre collection, trade catalogues. and sources unique to Manchester - is via the archives' search room, which is towards the right-hand side of the building. These materials need to be ordered in advance, and a reader's ticket is required.

In front of the search room are the open archive materials, including local pamphlets and magazines, rate books, street directories, and openly available maps. Browsing the online catalogue is a good way of getting a sense of the range of available collections, and the next post in this series will highlight a few sources from the open archive materials.

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