Monday, 16 December 2013

Sir Tony Robinson

Sarah Jane, Tony Robinson and I

Archivist Sarah Jane and I were recently lucky enough to attend a talk given by Sir Tony Robinson at Cornwall Records Office in association with about his interest in history and genealogy.
His talk gave an interesting perspective on digitised records and how it has transformed the way many people go about genealogical searches due to the introduction of such websites as

I especially enjoyed hearing about how he became interested in history through his father who fought in World War II and was fascinated by the subject himself. It is particularly inspiring how Tony did not study the subject further than O levels but he went on to become television’s best loved amateur historian through pure passion and enthusiasm.

His talk was also very amusing and included many anecdotes from his time with Blackadder and Time Team, as well as touching references to Mick Aston.

Tickets for the talk were well oversubscribed and this celebrity endorsement was great promotion for Cornwall Records Office. They are in the planning stages of building a much larger purpose-build history centre in Redruth to relocate to and this allowed staff a chance to have a chat with visitors after the talk about the plans and to gage some informal feedback.
Whist here the visitors were offered the chance for a tour of the strong rooms to see their extensive holdings. CRO holds over four miles of records and it was interesting to see an archive of such a scale. Some particular gems included a beautifully illustrated Elizabethan document and letters that belonged to John Couch Adams, the man who discovered Neptune.

Some of the many holdings at Cornwall Records Office

I really enjoyed my evening and it was interesting to think about how the way people go about genealogy searches is changing and how talks such as these are a great informal way for an archive like CRO to reach out and chat to those interested in new projects.