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Research Guides and Sources

Discovering Local History at The Hive

Lots of people are fascinated by their local area and want to know more. We are a great place to come and get started.

Local history, Evesham Lych Gate

Local history: Evesham Lych Gate

What’s first?

  • Start with what you already know
  • Explore the area and talk to local people. Is there a local history society?
  • Check out guides to local research and local history books. eg: The Victoria County History of Worcestershire and early trade directories, available at The Hive
  • Visit The Hive.

We have a vast collection of archives, over twelve miles of shelving, covering 900 years of history. This is available for you to see and help you discover the past for yourself. A lot of what we have for each place can vary as it depends on what has survived over time.

A summary of the most useful sources

  • Local Studies Library – thousands of books are held in our library, some dating back 200 years, covering the county and subjects connected with the county. This includes Worcestershire Archaeological Society transactions.
  • Historic Environment Record database – holds over 54,000 records on archaeological sites, historic buildings and landscape covering the entire county. Excavation, building and survey reports are available through our on-line library. We also have a large aerial photograph collection, historic maps and a comprehensive archaeological reference library.
  • Trade Directories – you can find summaries of towns and villages and some of the trades people who lived there. These date from the late 18th century to mid 20th century.
  • Maps – thousands of maps of the county are available allowing you to plot how the landscape has changed. We have Ordnance Survey maps from 1880s onwards, plus tithe and enclosure maps, estate maps and many others.
  • Census – we have the Worcestershire census available on microfilm 1841-1901, as well as providing access free of charge through the Ancestry website. All people in the county should be listed here every ten years so you can discover who lived in your community in the past.
  • Photographs – 80,000 photos of the county are in the Worcestershire Photographic Survey, plus thousands more elsewhere in our collections.
  • Electoral Registers – registers and poll books date back to the mid 19th century listing all voters by address.
  • Newspapers – we have microfilm copies of many Worcestershire newspapers going back to 1712 on microfilm.
  • Tax – Land Tax and Hearth Tax returns are held here.
  • Parish records – as well as Anglican church registers of baptisms, marriages and burials we have administrative records too, including old poor law documents. We have some records for Non-Conformist churches.
  • School Records – log books, punishment books and other documents are available to give an insight into school life in the past.
  • Deposits – thousands of records have been deposited by hospitals, councils, estates, families, societies, organisations, clubs, businesses and individuals.
  • Wills – there are thousands of wills of Worcestershire people here dating from the 15th century through to 1928.
  • Quarter Sessions – we have documents from the 16th to 20th centuries, featuring criminal cases and the administration of the county.

Where to go?

The Hive contains original archives such as school records, maps and hospital records etc. To see original documents you will need to bring ID such as a driving licence, utility bill or a CARN ticket. Please be aware that some of the records in our care are restricted by the Data Protection Act and may not be viewed for a specified number of years. You can also find the local studies library and a self service area containing newspapers, parish registers, photos and wills on microfilm. Here too is the Historic Environment Record (HER) offering expert advice and information and a range of archaeological resources. Outside of staffed hours the HER is available on-line through Heritage Gateway. You can also access our online library for archaeological reports and other digital resources.

How to Find Documents

Our catalogue lists most of our archives, this is available at The Hive. Please Contact Us.

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