Collection Policy


1. Types of records

2. Geographical limitations

3. Other considerations

4. Adding to our collections

5. Collection development

6. Statutory framework


The purpose of this policy is to explain what we collect and why.

1. Types of records

1.1 The service collects the official record of the decisions and actions of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire East Council, their predecessors and other authorities whose powers and duties have been transferred to those Councils. The Councils are both appointed archive authorities for local government districts within their respective areas of jurisdiction. These powers relate both to the authorities’ own administrative records and to other records in their care. The Councils also have a duty of oversight of the storage and preservation of specified papers in the care of parish councils.

1.2 The Cheshire Record Office and the storage managed by Deepstore at Winsford are approved places of deposit for a number of classes of central government records held locally (ie public records), such as those of Quarter Sessions, magistrates courts, coroners, county courts, hospitals, etc

1.3 The Cheshire Record Office is recognised as a repository for manorial and tithe records.

1.4 As Chester Diocesan Record Office, the office is also responsible for locating, selecting and preserving the records of the Diocese, both of the central organisation and of individual parishes. The office is also the appointed Diocesan Record Office for parish records of those parts of the Diocese of Liverpool within the boundaries of Cheshire as constituted in 1974.

1.5 The service collects records, from whatever source, which can contribute to a better understanding of the history and development of the county of Cheshire, and its communities.

2. Geographical limitations

2.1 For local government, public and private records, the service seeks to acquire archives and records which relate wholly or primarily to the area of the boroughs of Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East, and, under a service level agreement, the areas administered by Halton and Warrington Borough Councils. Records relating to former parts of the historic County will be acquired only where there is a strong case to do so, and after consultation with other archives services with an interest in the collection.

2.2 Chester Diocesan and parish records are acquired from throughout the Diocese.

2.3. Parish records are acquired from parishes in the diocese of Liverpool which lie within the local government areas of Halton and Warrington Boroughs

2.4 Registers and records from Roman Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Shrewsbury are acquired from those parts of the Diocese which lie within the pre-1974 boundaries of Cheshire (including the former County Boroughs of Birkenhead, Wallasey, and Stockport and City of Chester).

2.5 Local Studies material is acquired relating to the areas covered by Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils.

3. Other considerations

3.1 The service does not normally seek to collect records which fall into the following categories:-

a) records of national rather than local remit
b) records of a particularly specialist nature, requiring skills or equipment beyond the service’s resources to preserve, exploit or interpret, or for which there is another more suitable repository.
c) records of low informational value, or which do not contribute to an understanding of the aims and objectives of the creating body or individual.

The service can offer advice on alternative repositories if the Cheshire Record Office is not appropriate.

3.2 In acquiring records, or offering advice on their disposition, the service will generally respect the principle of the integrity of the archive and try to avoid dividing or dispersing archives.

3.3 The service will seek to avoid competition, conflict or dispute with other archive services, and will always consult in cases where collecting policies may overlap.

4. Adding to our collections

4.1 Records of any age and condition are accepted in a variety of formats for example paper, parchment, photograph, born digital etc. They are selected for permanent retention as archives according to the service’s appraisal policy.

4.2 The service adds to our Local Studies collections:

  • Books and pamphlets on local and family history
  • Local newspapers
  • Periodicals and journals
  • Maps and plans
  • Postcards and prints
  • Photographs and other visual materials in a variety of formats
  • Ephemera

4.3 The service acquires collections by:

  • Gift (our preferred option)
  • Indefinite deposit (see our Terms of Deposit).  Archives only.
  • Transfer as public records.  Archives only.
  • Purchase (of publications; of archives only in exceptional cases)

The terms on which we acquire records are described in our Terms of Gift or Deposit leaflet.

5. Collections Development

The service seeks to acquire records from a wide range of organisations, societies and individuals. The service is aware that there are strengths and weaknesses in our collections and that some of Cheshire’s businesses, organisations and communities are under-represented. The service will continue to develop its collections by:

5.1 Maintaining formal arrangements for continued deposits of the records of Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils; Chester Diocese and transfers of public records.

5.2 Maintaining contacts with our depositors and donors to ensure the potential growth of our existing collections.

5.3 Working with communities to identify collections for potential deposit.

5.4 Using knowledge about collections to identify and consult with under-represented groups to make new contacts, identify new collections that we consider to be worth preserving and raise awareness of archives among new audiences.

5.5 Working with and supporting community archive projects; offering advice and support on creating and caring for collections including digital records.

5.6 Liaising with museums and heritage centres throughout the county and sharing information about collections.

5.7 Purchasing new publications and managing local and family history collections in Cheshire libraries.

6. Statutory framework

Public Records Acts 1958, 1967

Manorial Documents Rules 1959 and 1967

Tithe Apportionment Rules 1960 and 1963

Local Government (Records) Act 1962

Local Government Act 1972

Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978, amended 1992

Local Government (Access to Information Act) 1985

Data Protection Act 1998

Freedom of Information Act 2000