Collection Policy

1. General
2. Legislative background
3. Records from private sources
4. Geographical limitations
5. General considerations
6. Terms of deposit


The objective of the service is to promote the preservation and use of, and interest in the archives and local studies of Cheshire, as a safeguard of democratic accountability, a resource for lifelong learning for individuals and a means of reinforcing community identity.  The service will select, preserve, and make available for research:-

a)archives and records 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; and
b) archives and records from other public and private sources relating to all aspects of the history and development of the geographical county of Cheshire (see para 4 below) and its inhabitants.


2. Legislative background

2.1 Under the Local Government (Records) Act, 1962 and Local Government Act, 1972, 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 (Local Government Act, 1972, s226(5))

2.2 Under the Public Records Acts 1958 and 1967, the Cheshire Record Office, premises in the Town Hall formerly occupied by the Chester City Record Office and the storage managed by Deepstore at the salt mine in 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

2.3 The Cheshire Record Office is recognised by the Master of the Rolls as a repository for manorial and tithe records under the Law of Property Act, 1922, and the Tithe Act, 1936

2.4 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. In both dioceses, the office exercises delegated powers under the Parochial Registers and Records Measure, 1978 (amended 1993)


3. Records from private sources

3.1 It is our policy to collect records, from whatever source, which can contribute to a better understanding of the history and development of the county of Cheshire, and their communities. The age of such records and the medium in which they exist - paper, parchment, film, photograph, electronic media etc - are not criteria for selection.

In practice, the service seeks to acquire records from a wide range of organisations, societies and individuals, including:-

  • Families and individuals
  • Solicitors
  • Businesses
  • Churches and chapels
  • Societies, clubs and associations


4. Geographical limitations

4.1 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, as part of a service level agreement under the Local Government Act, 1992, 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.

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

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

4.4 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). 


5. General considerations

5.1 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.

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

5.2 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.

5.3 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.

5.4 The issues surrounding the preservation of digital records differ in many respects from those surrounding paper records.  The service has therefore written a separate digital preservation policy.


6. Terms of deposit

The terms on which we acquire records are described in our Terms of Deposit (PDF, 430KB).

May 2009