Wednesday 2 March 2016

Return to West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield

“West Yorkshire Archive, Newstead Road, Wakefield”
Today paid a visit to West Yorkshire Archive Service (WYAS) in Newstead Road, Wakefield which for some twenty months between 2102 and 2014 had become my second home.

During that that time I trawled through a wealth of records including 48 patients case books, containing the records of some 11,500 patient admissions which took place during the formative first half century of the Asylum’s history, 1818 – 1869.  They contained an estimated 30,000 plus pages of handwritten doctors’ notes and it is my transcription of those notes that forms the backbone of Proper People.

The enthusiastic staff of WYAS never failed to make me feel at home and always provided excellent service whenever my research took me in a direction which needed yet another set of records.  In Proper People I acknowledge the kind assistance provided by Archivist David Morris, Alison Depledge, Jenny Kiff, Geoff Brown, Malcolm Mathieson, Katie Entwistle, Sean Parker, Hannah Cullen, Sally Evans, Megan Dix, Rachel Weldrake and the Head of Service, Theresa Nixon.
The author (right) with WYAS Archivist, David Morris

When requesting access to archived records at WYAS you have to complete a Document Request Slip.  The green copy is returned to you for your own records.  I have a bundle of “greens” about 2 inches thick!  Each one represents a trip upstairs for the member of staff on duty. 

Seeing this picture makes me think I should be writing short stories.  Was David M. actually standing on a box at the time?
The WYAS staff are busy preparing for a move of the entire archive to brand new purpose built premises in Wakefield which I believe is planned for later this year.  Hopefully that will not interfere too much with my planned second volume of Proper People.

WYAS Website