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Thread: TNA (National Archives UK) News Updates

  1. #21
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    Default Re: TNA website down?

    Hello

    Thanks Andrew, I've been visiting TNA for 25 years, so I'm quite used to it. I perfectly know you can't guess the size of a file before your visit, in general. As I'm driving from France and back to France in the same day, I usually visit on Wednesdays, and not the days when it's opened until later hours, as it would be too tiring for me (about 2 hours to get to the Channel tunnel then another hour to arrive home).

    Advance orders or bulk order enable me to adapt my charge of work when I arrive, see the size of delivered documents, and make the most of my time in Kew (about 7 hours with a quick lunch break and visit to the shop for bargain books).

    I'm now mostly copying casualty packs (AIR 81 series) and some PoW questionnaires (WO344 series), and some undigitised files like the AIR 29s.

    Hope to get some feed-back from any readers at Kew.

    Regards

    Joss

  2. #22
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    Default Re: TNA website down?

    Joss, I can only but admire your courage and tenacity, all those hours of travel, and expense, for a few hours at TNA. I hope the end goal is worth it.
    Andrew

  3. #23
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    Default Re: TNA website down?

    Also looking forward to hearing the experiences from visits after the reopening. Just as Joss, I am traveling to London (from Copenhagen, Denmark) to vitas. My regular tours are over three days; flying in and going directly to Kew on day one, a full day 2 and traveling directly to the airport on day 3. For this to be worth the effort I have to be able to process large amounts of documents and using all hours of the opening time and always keeping the flow of orders at the maximum level.

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

  4. #24
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    Default Re: TNA website down?

    Hi all, I am also inquisitive to hear the experience as similarly as Mikkel I am doing few days trip exactly the same way in combination with another archives like RAF Museum Hendon. But my personal opinion is that the present situation and regime in TNA is not worthwhile for us abroad. I have seen that even local paid researchers stopped providing their services as the actual regime is not profitable for them.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  5. #25
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    Default Re: TNA website down?

    Slightly off-topic, but I see the CWGC have also 'improved' their website...

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

  6. #26
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    Default Re: TNA website down?

    OMG:-( Really "improved", new facelift (we can discuss if more user friendly or not) and that is all...

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

  7. #27
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    Default Re: TNA website down?

    I think it will be difficult to get the commercial TNA Copiers to copy small files from now on in, so things like POW Liberation Questionnaires will be hard to obtain (in fact my copier gave up copying these prior to lockdown as they were not viable for him even then due to a change in file access rules).

    I hope that TNA will get files likes these digitised so that we can download them (even at a cost) in the future ..... but not sure what plans they have regarding this
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

  8. #28
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    Default Re: TNA website down?

    Joss: Good luck with your project! A number of us this side of the "pond" are interested in the 6-Group Form B's. We tried to engage a "Document Copying" service to do this work, but they didn't come through for us. We have since learned that they don't really like dealing with "Toilet paper". I guess dealing with the "Form B" print-outs is a tedious process.

    Anyways, under the current Covid situation, it will be sometime before I will be able to go to the NA in person.

    Jim

  9. #29
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    Default Re: TNA website down?

    As promised here is an update on conditions at the National Archives under the new normal.

    I attended today. It is open from 10 am. I got there at 10.10 am.
    There were no queues. You are greeted at the front door and name ticked off a check list. Then this is double checked at the sliding inner doors. There is a new bag search area which I didn't need as I had no bag.

    You are not allowed to take any bags into the reading rooms at all not even the old clear ones. You are only allowed to take in two of the following

    Lap top
    Tablet
    Phone
    Camera

    No pencils or notebooks or even paper.
    There appears to be an allocation of one reader per desk as opposed to the spaces for six per desk. So a maximum number of around 45 people.
    Your pre-ordered files are next to your allocated desk on a trolley. They only supplied the six I ordered and none of my 'reserves'. I did what I needed to do in around 1 hour 40 minutes.
    You do your reading and them just leave them on the trolley for later collection. On leaving you get crossed off the list.

    On the down side
    None of the internal computers are available.
    There are no refreshments available.
    The book shop is not open.
    I didn't notice if the library was open but I suspect not.

    It felt a bit like a ghost town.

    On the plus side
    The car park is now free and there is no requirement for face coverings, masks or gloves.

    Overall it was nice to be back but unless you need to examine large documents that can fill your allotted time some may consider it not worth it. I chatted to a couple of the staff and they have no idea when things might be relaxed a little.

    Hope this helps

    Chris

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  11. #30
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    Default Re: TNA website down?

    Thanks for the update. It may be worth a trip as long as I can pre-order with an out of date readers card. I tend to only stay until about 11am as I always get a severe headache when I'm there (lighting?). The only trouble is I will have to travel on two trains to get there and those masks are not comfortable after a few hours.

    I agree with the sentiment about getting your files right. On one trip, a few years back, my six pre-ordered files, included three which only had five or six sheets in them. I had gone through all six files before the next three were in the cubby hole.

    I wonder if the enforced closure and subsequent reduced capacity is accelerating digitisation? That is obviously the way to go, especially for the many thousands who would like (pre-crisis) to go but have always been put off by the long journey.

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