The archives date back to 1497, but hold important lessons for policy-makers todayby Nick Thomas-Symonds / January 30, 2018 / Leave a comment
Sometimes the finest things are on our doorsteps and we risk taking them for granted. That was my feeling when I visited the Parliamentary Archives with some fellow parliamentarians earlier this month. Located in Victoria Tower, the tallest tower on the parliamentary estate, the archives are held above the Sovereign’s entrance where the carriage brings the Queen to deliver her speech at the start of each law-making session.
As an historian who has written biographies of Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan, chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History is a great honour. It is a group that promotes both the importance of studying our past and the material needed to do so: those who write our history are dependent on the painstaking work of archivists all around the country.
Those who work in the Parliamentary Archives certainly show great attention to detail, as was made evident at the group’s recent visit to the facility. The floor-to-ceiling shelving held the rolled-up Acts of Parliament, carefully catalogued and organised: even in the age of the iPad, the nation’s Statute Book is contained in a stone tower in parchment rolls, often with only tissue paper protecting the surfaces.