Project Launched!

The Nostell Priory & Winn Family Cataloguing Project is finally underway!

This project has been funded by The National Archives’ Cataloguing Grants Programme and aims to fully catalogue one of West Yorkshire Archive Service’s most treasured and well used collections. The project will run until the end of April 2014 when a much improved catalogue will be available to greatly increase access and understanding of the records of Nostell Priory & the Winn family.

Project background

Sections of the Nostell Priory & Winn family archive have been held by WYAS in one form or another since the late 1980s. The bulk of the collection was first loaned to the service by the Winn family who wanted to preserve the records in the best possible environment while also making them available to researchers wanting to study this extensive and important collection. Since then, the size of the collection has increased dramatically as new sets of records have been discovered at Nostell and other related sites, and then added to the existing collection.

Unfortunately the rather chaotic nature of the collection’s history has also been reflected in the existing catalogue, with some sections of very detailed descriptions followed by large sections of completely uncatalogued material. At the end of 2007 WYAS acquired the vast majority of the records outright and the collection has been awaiting a concerted project to highlight the true value and extent of this unique collection ever since. Cue the Cataloguing Grants Fund bid!

Nostell Priory (General View), Yorkshire, The Seat of Charles Winn Esq. Engraving by J Neale, 1829 (WYL1352-C3-1-4-[1060])

Nostell Priory (General View), Yorkshire, The Seat of Charles Winn Esq. Engraving by J Neale, 1829 (WYL1352-C3-1-4-[1060])

A long way to go

With the project only a month in we’ve certainly got a long way to go. The first task has been trying to get our heads around the sheer size and scale of a collection that covers over 800 years of international history and takes up roughly 14 cubic meters of oversized archive boxes! And the collection is no less ambitious in the range of subjects and themes that it documents, including: kings, queens, lords, barons, servants, sheriffs, tenants, MPs, communities, art, architecture, design, furniture, fashion, food & drink, politics, war, sports, shopping, churches, schools, hospitals, medicine, railways, mining and genealogy… the list goes on and on!

The Nostell Collection in the stores at WYAS, both exciting & daunting!

The Nostell Collection in the stores at WYAS, both exciting & daunting!

What to expect over the coming months

So now that the project is underway, what can you expect to see from us? Well first and foremost the project is totally focused on creating an excellent catalogue of the entire collection which will be fully available on the WYAS online catalogue by the end of the project in April. But amongst the hours and hours… and hours! of cataloguing we will also be finding time to promote the project and this fantastic collection. You can follow the progress of the team and discover the rich history inherent to the collection on the project’s dedicated Twitter account Here we’ll be keeping you up to date on all our exciting finds, tweeting on the theme of #onthisday in Nostell history, and letting you know the details of all our outreach events. So please give us a follow and drop us a message on all things Nostell, Winn, or just to say hi!

So we’re up and running! Remember to keep checking the @nostellarchive twitter account for all developments as and when they happen and we’ll keep you informed with future blog posts on here as well.


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