Report on progress with a project to gather and preserve the island's historical archivals.

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All hands' things: the endangered archives of Tristan da Cunha

In 2016, the Tristan Government was successful in being awarded a grant by the British Library for a pilot project in its "Endangered Archives Programme". Run by Dawn Repetto with help in the UK from Pat Reynolds, the project aims to gather and preserve the island's historical archive materials from all periods, although focussing on the period 1810 to 1963 - that is from the earliest attempts a settlement until the return of the islanders from their evacuation to the UK during the volcanic eruption of 1961.

Practicing with the photography equipment in the new archive room.

Practicing with the photography equipment in the new archive room.

The title of the project is "All hands' things*: the endangered archives of Tristan da Cunha". Initial progress was slow while equipment, software and training materials were shipped from England, but the setting up a suitable archives room is just about completed, and digitisation trials have started. The plan is for non-sensitive material to be made available to the public online.

Dawn has added her first blog about the project to the British Library's website at: http://eap.bl.uk/project/EAP951.

We would be very interested in hearing from anyone with historical items that could be donated to the archive - either originals, photographic copies or digital scans. These could include letters to and from the island, sketches or photographs, and other memorabilia. In the first instance, please contact the Webmaster, Peter Millington at: webmaster@tristandc.com, who will advise on what to do next.

* In Tristan da Cunha English, 'All hands' refers to the whole community.