Feedback on our New Opening Hours

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

Feedback on how we can help to provide you with the best service possible within these new hours would be much appreciated, and so we've created a short survey, linked below, for anyone who would like to share their views. The survey should only take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete and will be active until the end of April. Thanks in advance to all those who take part!

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.
  • It complements the new opening hours of the new Staffordshire History Centre - the other half of our Joint Archive Service - which will open on the second Saturday of the month. This will give customers the opportunity to visit both offices on their open Saturdays.

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Store Tours: The Clone Tours - Store E

It's been about ten months since we released our series of "Store Tours" videos here on the blog, each one providing a behind-the-scenes look at our strongrooms and other secure areas just as we were about to embark on the major move tasks that have been keeping us busy ever since. All that work means a lot has changed, and so we thought it was time to revisit some of these spaces for an update, starting (a little out of sequence, due to some ongoing organisational work in our basement strongrooms!) with a return trip round Store E. In the vlog below we've included a small, retimed version of the original store tour in the top corner so you can easily see the differences, but the original is also only a click away, should you like to see the changes in a back-to-back style instead. However you compare them, it's great to see the progress made 😊

Posted on 20th November, 2023
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Upcoming Changes to our Remote Services

In a few weeks' time the scope of our research and enquiry services will be changing. Our last blog post showed how we've started organising our collections to make the upcoming move go as smoothly as possible, but all this movement of material between our stores means accessing items for research and enquiries is becoming more difficult. With this in mind, from the week beginning Monday 27th November 2023 our research service will be temporarily suspended, and our ability to answer enquiries will depend on the accessibility of any related material.

Posted on 10th November, 2023
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Getting Our Docs in a Row

With our packaging work forging ahead (more on that in a future post) we're now able to begin organising our collections for the smoothest move possible in the new year. As viewers of our Store Tours series will know, some of our collections are spread across multiple strongrooms in order to make best use of the space available, but in our new store at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery we'll be able to have everything laid out together and in reference number sequence too - lovely stuff! However, to avoid both re-locating and re-organising our archive material at the same time (🤯) we've decided to use the modern racking in our basement strongrooms to help get everything in order in advance.

Our first task has been to create a buffer of clear space in store "B" so that we can rearrange the shelves to mimic the storage setup we'll be moving into. This has involved temporarily relocating some archive material into the adjacent store "C", but as this strongroom is also pretty full we've utilised some of the pallets left over from our many archive box deliveries as a temporary storage platform - from empty boxes to full ones! Having made this space, the plan is to now fill the shelves in "B" in sequence, slotting items in from our other strongrooms where necessary. All this work helps bring our archive material together, primes it for the move across to the museum, and means we can further rationalise our collections storage to save even more space... perfect for all the new accessions we're looking forward to receiving in the future!

All this movement of material - temporarily between our two basement stores and more permanently from our third floor strongroom to our new shelving sequence - will make accessing certain collections in the lead up to the move very difficult, and the material affected will also change on a regular basis too. Although we'll be keeping track of all these changes we'd rather not disturb things any more than is necessary, so in the very near future we'll also be announcing a small change to our current status which will narrow the scope of our remote enquiry service slightly.

Posted on 1st November, 2023
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Last Accessions to the Library

Back in February of this year we processed the last major collection to be accessioned here at our City Central Library location. SD 2012, as it's now known, is a collection of 77 Methodist baptism and marriage registers from churches in the north of the city - including Baddeley Edge, Fegg Hayes, and Smallthorne, for example - and we couldn't let it slip into the safety of our strongrooms without capturing the moment for posterity.

Of course, we were still very much aware that interesting items wouldn't stop being offered to us simply because our move preparation tasks had begun, and in a few exceptional circumstances this has meant taking in items which the depositors were unable to keep for us until our 2024 re-opening. Wherever possible however, we've worked with anyone who's approached us with a view to donating or depositing material to place these accessions on hold until the move is complete - and this has included requests from within the City Council too. One such example, which we received a few months ago, related to items held in Hanley Town Hall, a building only a few streets away from the City Archives. Because of this close proximity we were able to organise a quick in-person visit, where we helped pick out the volumes and papers of interest to us here at the Archives. These are now awaiting the completion of our move when they'll be transferred to us and, along with the items from the rest of our on-hold approaches, will be part of the first batch of material to be accessioned in our new location at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery!

Posted on 10th October, 2023
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Coming Soon to a Museum Near You

If you're visiting The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery over the next few months you might spot the freshly screened-off area down on the lower ground floor, just behind the temporary exhibition gallery and close to one of the entrances to Violet's Cafe. Behind these panels our new Reading Room is currently under construction and, as it's the most visible part of the work to bring the City Archives into the museum building, we thought it would be good to use this temporary wall space to let passers-by know we're moving in, and where to get more details about our arrival.

With help from our contractor we've been able to add a series of colourful information panels which help explain why the area is currently sealed off, what visitors can expect to find here when the space reopens, and to provide links to the microsite where all the latest information on the move is published. You can also peek past the QR code displayed in the door's window to get a behind-the-scenes look into how things are progressing!

Posted on 23rd August, 2023
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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.