Store Tours Special Edition

Before we waved goodbye to our home in the old City Central Library for the last time, we couldn't help but film one more Store Tour in the building. In this one-take walk round we visited all of the City Archives' strongrooms and secure spaces, connecting them together in a route that took us from the entrance of our Reading Room on floor three all the way down to the basement floor and outside to a view of our new home. As we mention in the vlog, this isn't the end of our Store Tours series - we have our new strongroom and Reading Room to show you as well!

Posted on 9th July, 2024

22nd May 2024 - 4th July 2024
We paused the blog during the pre-general election period.

Our Reading Room Reopens

We're delighted to announce that our new Reading Room at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery is now open! We've updated the home page's Current Status section accordingly; from there you can find out our new opening times, and how to book an appointment to visit.

Posted on 22nd May, 2024

Minton Material Moved; Pikelet Proves Perfect

In our last as-it-happened update we showed you how the move was progressing in Store A, and now we can do the same for our secondary strongroom too. Officially designated as Store B, the team has informally christened it "Pikelet" which, as well as being the cutest name for a strongroom ever, fits perfectly as the slightly smaller (but no less inferior) companion to our other store, Oatcake. Well done to local readers who saw that name coming from a mile away after last week's post - honestly, after realising we also have a lobby area too we were very close to going all out on local foodstuff nicknames, but we just about managed to restrain ourselves. 😅

The timelapse above captures the work to decant the Minton Archive's Art & Design material, which had been transported across from our old strongroom in their original red and blue folio boxes, into dedicated drawers within Store B. The artworks and illustrations of this section can be anything from postcard to poster sized (and beyond), and this new storage system makes identifying and accessing individual items easy.

Posted on 14th May, 2024

Moving Strongrooms in Less Than a Minute*

Here's the latest from our new main strongroom, officially called "Store A" but more colloquially known as "Oatcake" (We'll keep you guessing as to what our smaller secondary strongroom's nickname is, though local readers might already have an idea!). Look out for more of these as-it-happened updates appearing on the blog over the next few weeks, as we try to squeeze them all in before our official reopening on 22nd May.

* In reality it takes a lot of people a long time to make a move of this scale run smoothly, from the initial planning and preparation stages right up to the physical transportation of the archive (and beyond). Bear in mind that in the video above over 400 archive boxes are placed into position, but before those boxes even appear on your screen they will have been checked, labelled, loaded up, moved, and unloaded again. There are also another 17 identical runs in that part of the new strongroom alone, and many, many more shelves and drawers elsewhere in the two stores!

Posted on 3rd May, 2024

Announcing Our Official Reopening Date

Stoke-on-Trent City Archives will reopen on Wednesday 22nd May, 2024.

The physical move of our archive is still very much in progress, but with the end of this major relocation project now in sight we're pleased to be able to confirm the date of our reopening as Wednesday 22nd May, 2024. With the expectation of a very busy first few weeks - maybe even months! - we'd strongly recommend booking in advance of your visit. The easiest way to do this is via e-mail at [email protected], but you can also call and leave us a message on 01782 238420. We'll then get back to you with our availability and get you booked in.

We're looking forward to welcoming you into our brand new Reading Room at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery - not too long now!

Posted on 5th April, 2024

The Move Begins!

Here's a quick but exciting update to announce that the physical move has begun! During this period our ability to answer remote enquiries will be reduced even further, but we'll still try to help where we can. Our home page's Current Status section has been updated accordingly.

Posted on 18th March, 2024

Our New Opening Hours Explained

Now 2024 is here we're delighted to be able to write that Stoke-on-Trent City Archives will be reopening at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery this year! We'd like to thank all our customers and depositors for their great patience and support so far, and we look forward to welcoming you to our new Reading Room when it opens in the spring. However, being in a new parent building means that we need to adjust our new opening hours to better fit with those of the museum. For reference, our previous standard timetable looked like this:

Previous Opening Times

Monday Closed
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 9:30am - 6:00pm
Thursday 9:30am - 2:00pm
Friday 9:30am - 2:00pm
Saturday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Sunday Closed
Total 21 hours and 30 minutes

Our new Reading Room will open Wednesday to Friday, and on the first Saturday of each month. This averages out at just under 22 hours per week, and also offers our customers longer days in which to access our collections. This new timetable will work as follows:

New Times: First Saturday of the Month

Monday Closed
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 10:00am - 4:45pm
Thursday 10:00am - 4:45pm
Friday 10:00am - 4:45pm
Saturday 10:00am - 4:45pm
Sunday Closed
Total 27 hours

New Times: All Other Weeks

Monday Closed
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 10:00am - 4:45pm
Thursday 10:00am - 4:45pm
Friday 10:00am - 4:45pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed
Total 20 hours and 15 minutes

Some Opening Hours FAQs

Why are you proposing to move away from being open every Saturday to only once a month?

Saturday openings are difficult to get right and we debated the pros and cons of opening just one long Saturday instead of four short Saturdays. Overall, we concluded that:

  • Saturdays were generally our quietest day pre-lockdown.
  • It opens up the possibility of holding events in our reading room on the Saturdays we're not open for research.
  • Visitors coming from outside the area will be able to have a longer research period over the whole week, Wednesday to Saturday.

Will closing earlier on a Wednesday evening impact those who want a longer research day?

Previously, we opened at 9:30am and closed at 6pm on a Wednesday. The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery opens at 10am and closes at 5pm, so yes, we will no longer be able to open until 6pm on a Wednesday. However, we've made our opening hours on Thursdays and Fridays significantly longer, and we've also made our Saturday opening a whole day for those who can't visit during normal office hours.

Posted on 23rd February, 2024

PMAG: A Store Tours Story

The construction phase of our new strongroom over at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery has just completed, and very soon the next major block of work to fit out the space with all the archival storage systems necessary to hold our collections will begin. Our stores will never look this empty again, and so we took the opportunity to film an almost-but-not-quite-a-Store-Tour vlog to show you around...

As well as capturing our new strongrooms on video we also snapped the second set of a bunch of before-and-after photographs, which we'd planned in advance in order to compare new to old. Although the switch from bare concrete and brick to white-painted surfaces might be the most immediately noticeable difference, look a little closer and you'll see some really big changes like appearing and disappearing walls and doors! 🤯

Then and Now: Main Strongroom

Then and Now: Secondary Strongroom

Posted on 1st February, 2024

Merry Christmas from the City Archives

We've made amazing progress since our last festive message, and we hope you've enjoyed following along with our various move preparation tasks: 2024 is the year it all comes together! The microsite's blog will be taking a short break until the new year, but we'll be back before you know it with more exciting updates: in the meantime, why not catch up on some Store Tours or browse the City Central Library's opening brochure? And, for those of you mustering up the enthusiasm to start wrapping, spare a thought for our custom phase boxing team, who have been doing a similar job for the last nine months! Lastly, from all of us here at the City Archives we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Posted on 22nd December, 2023

Store Tours: The Clone Tours - The Basement Stores

Last month we released an update to our Store Tours series, where we headed back into Store E to see how much had changed since the first walk-round in January (spoiler: a lot!). In that update we also mentioned that our two basement stores were so busy with move-related activities that we weren't sure whether we'd be able to revisit them in the same manner any time soon. However, a few days ago we managed to persuade the team to down tools just long enough for us to film a quick overview of both spaces, and you'll find the resulting vlog below!

Posted on 6th December, 2023

Restricted Access Update

As of today our research service has now been temporarily suspended and, whilst e-mail enquiries remain open at [email protected], our ability to answer new queries will depend on the accessibility of any related material. For more on the reasons why these changes to our service are necessary we'd recommend our recent "Getting Our Docs in a Row" blog post, which covers the changes taking place in our stores.

Posted on 27th November, 2023

Looking for older blog posts, or want to link to a specific post?
Check out the The Moving Blog Archive where you'll find all of our Moving Blog posts in one handy list.