Craig Fees writes (6 August 2018):
The photographs below were taken on the 29th of August, 2002, and document the archivist's office at the cusp of an interesting time. In September we would take over the Administration for the Association of Therapeutic Communities, shared between the Archive and the Trust office; earlier in the year the new conference and accommodation centre had opened, the new archive storage had become available, and we had lost assistant archivist Teresa Wilmshurst. In my June report for Trustees, I wrote
It has been a busy period, one of the busiest in many respects – looking at the number of oral history recordings, the number of researchers and visitors, the number of new accessions, for example – that we have had for some time. There has been a lot of structural work, such as physically cleaning new spaces, building shelves, moving and sorting materials, and doing the work necessary to enable the long-awaited air conditioning installation to go forward – drilling holes in walls, building a waterproof external cabinet. We have put together one and a half Joint Newsletters, moved the combined web-sites and email services to a new ISP, and responded to the emergency closure of Acacia Hall Therapeutic Community in Lincolnshire. We have also made our first small step into Europe (see 8, below).
And it has felt busier, in part because of problems with the computers, especially in the first part of the period – we’ve lost something over two weeks in aggregate dealing with them – and in part because it has been a period of reduced staffing – Teresa leaving in March, much of Maureen’s time taken up with VAT and end of year accounts, and her virtual loss for much of May and all of June (to date) as the conference and accommodation side has kicked in. Thank goodness for people’s sense of humour, and the invaluable contributions Maureen and Helen continue to make, and the support from John, and, of course, other trustees. The loss of Robert is keenly felt.
We didn't yet realise it, but in 2002 we were in the early stages of the long period of austerity whose consequences we are still living out, and to my eyes the photographs of the archive office show a period of innocent exuberance. There would not be a second archivist again until 2010 and the "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children" project, and from August 2005 the lone archivist became part-time, sans budget.
For what are probably cyber-psychological reasons (computers have a mind of their own) these photographs surfaced today when they got hung up in transmission: Helen Moore is busily transferring the data from hundreds of old CDs and DVDS from our old CD/DVD-based digital storage system to the new, gigantically capacious RAID-configured digital storage system, where the files will become far more accessible (and hopefully safe from CD/DVD deterioration and decay). These photographs - out of many thousands - froze the system, and refused to be recognised or transferred. Computer problems over the years (see that June report!) have taught us many work-arounds, including the value of old and alternative hardware and software, and we ultimately retrieved the files. They clearly wanted to be seen. So here they are, fresh from August 29, 2002:
The West Wall
The North East Corner
The Eastern corner of the South wall
South meets West
And into the User's Room, and the Library Stacks
(with the lights on)