St Albans City Archive Catalogues - Transcription

One of the most important primary sources for local research

By Jonathan Mein and John Cox

The St Albans City Archive is one of the main sources of primary material for anyone researching the history of the city. It contains over 4,000 documents dating from the fourteenth century right through to the twentieth. However, understanding what is in the archive is daunting as the key finding aid, the catalogue produced by William Le Hardy in the 1940s, does not match the standard of modern catalogues.

Improvements are underway. The City Archive has been held at Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies (HALS) in Hertford since the 1990s. HALS are currently engaged in an extensive project to improve access to its catalogues via the internet. The City Archive is part of this project but it is likely to be several years before the fully revised catalogue is available on-line.

In light of this and with HALS’ agreement, SAHAAS has opted to publish the following transcription of Le Hardy’s catalogue together with relevant material from the ‘Interim’ catalogue. (The latter represents a further deposit by the St Albans City Council in the 1990s).

For the benefit of SAHAAS members, most of whom live closer to St Albans than to Hertford, we have noted on the transcript the following additional information:

  1. Microfilm numbers: much of the pre-1830 archive has been microfilmed. Copies of these films are held in the Local Studies filing cabinets at St Albans Central Library. (See column marked Microfilm/Book)
  2. A transcription of the St Albans Borough Quarter Sessions Rolls, 1784-1820, was published by the Hertfordshire Record Society (HRS) in 1991. (See column marked Microfilm/Book)
  3. A transcription of the Kensworth & St Albans Baptist Church Book (ref. SBR/3831) published by the Herts Family History Society (HFHS) in 2015.

Finally, some of the items catalogued by Le Hardy were not subsequently deposited by the City Council. Where we are aware of these, we have noted the fact as “Not Transferred” in the same column in the transcript. Additionally, Le Hardy himself described some items as being missing. We have annotated the transcription to reflect this by adding in the same column “Missing (per WLH)”

If you find material you wish to look at, please follow this process for ordering material from the staff at HALS:

  1. Check if it has been microfilmed or published as a book. If it has then you can access the relevant microfilm or book at St Albans Central Library.
  2. If it has not been microfilmed or otherwise published, then phone HALS (currently 0300 123 4049) and quote the following details:
    • Accession reference number "SBR"
    • The reference numbers of the item(s) you wish to view. See Column marked “Cat. No.”. HALS will confirm if the items are available to view and produce them for you on the day of you visit.
  3. Pre-ordering items is recommended as HALS requires 24 hours notice to produce some items.

Lastly, although all reasonable steps have been taken to produce a true copy of Le Hardy’s catalogue, you may well encounter errors with this transcription. If you do, please notify us via library@stalbanshistory.org.

This page was added by Jonathan Mein on 26/10/2012.

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