30 January 2010

Above the ground floor at TNA

In a recent posting I wrote “Finally, I can confirm that TNA has not reverted to requiring you to have a user card and pass through security to get above the ground floor. I was surprised to read that in a recent article in Family Chronicle Magazine. It appears the article was just terribly dated.”

The article’s author, Paul Jones, posted a comment and has reason to complain. There is no security gate on the ground floor, and neither did Paul’s article say there was.

However, neither is there a security station “at the head of the stairs” where items you carry in and out are inspected, as in the article.

What the article fails to point out is that a tremendous range of resources exist at the top of those stairs for which no registration, security card or inspection is required. I’d venture that a majority of people visiting TNA don’t need such a card which is only required in order to visit that part of the floor in which original documents are produced. Much unique material on microfilm, datasets on computer and a superb reference book collection are all available without burdensome security.

Paul’s article was billed as a look at the quirkier side of researching at TNA. I can’t argue with that description. Family Chronicle’s readers would be well served if the article had been balanced with another on the wonderful resources available at Kew, including the books which have solved for than one longstanding problem for me, and how to access them.

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