Gloucestershire Archives

Date Added 22.01.19

Gloucestershire Archives is part of Gloucestershire County Council's Core Council Cluster.

The Archives work to keep information safe, accurate and accessible throughout its lifecycle. Information is the lifeblood of the organisation and the Archives provide the corporate and community ‘memory’. Gloucestershire Archives is currently developing a collaborative approach to gather, keep and share the documented heritage of Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire.

The development of appropriate storage, including pioneering innovations in digital preservation, is the new project for Gloucestershire Archives. Their aim is to create a dynamic heritage hub to help people and communities make local archive collections available to future generations. Hence, a new construction project entitled "For the Record" aims to expand specialist storage and provide an activity hub for partners, volunteers and future programmes. The construction work is separated into two phases: firstly, the building of the new strong rooms which includes the reconfiguration of the Archives' main building to create the ‘Gloucestershire Heritage Hub’ premises. This will be a shared space where key partners will support people to undertake research and work with archives.

The second phase is the building of a new training room, adjacent to the main building, and the completion of this is expected by summer 2018. It is important to note that the project's activity programme offers a range of learning, participation, training and volunteering opportunities for local people and communities. Some of them are already underway like the pilot volunteer training programme, digital preservation work, Gloucestershire Police Archive project and Dowty Heritage project.

The Challenge

John Putley, the Hub facilities Manager, contacted Resound in order to solve the problem of a lack of communication amongst staff members across the area of the Hub site.

“A number of staff were not based at any particular fixed point but were moving around the site all day. On frequent occasions one or more of these staff members needed to be contacted to deal with situations including arrival of contractors, responses to public requests, etc. Failure to contact these staff usually entailed another staff member having to stop work to physically locate the others.” – John Putley.

After an initial survey of the area, Resound offered John a set of Motorola SL1600 radios for a free trial to assess how the radios operate over the site. This would provide the customer confirmation of how the equipment performs across the whole area and determine if the steel within the walls of the buildings would cause any problems with radio communication. As John describes, the environment consisted of:

“A previous Victorian school site that had adapted into a local government facility for safe preseveration of historic archive documents. The main building comprises thick Victorian style construction with rooms and strong rooms (adapted from old classrooms) inside. The site also has a modern (c1970) steel frame and metal clad warehouse with internal concrete block-built strong rooms and a second older structure of Second World War style military (Ministry of Works) type construction. The whole site measures c9000 sq metres.”

“It was suggested that two way radios would be worth trialling particularly because we were approaching a building project where it was thought that staff might be more mobile than usual and that staff in general might need to be contacted quickly. We approached Resound after a quick browse on the internet and they suggested we trial the Motorola SL1600 unit. Another reason was that we wanted to reduce telephone costs and the purchase of radios might facilitate this.” – John Putley.

The Solution

With a concern over signal strength on-site and whether two way radios would be able cover the necessary areas of operation, Resound recommend a week’s trial of a couple of Motorola SL1600s.

“We currently have a team of 4 staff who each take a radio – two of these are at fixed points, while the others move around the site. Communication is usually when the fixed-point staff need to contact the mobile ones. Although we initially purchased 4 radios, we very quickly decided that the flexibility they offered was so good that another 2 radios were purchased offering the chance that others could use them when they had to move around the site or work where there wasn’t a telephone.” – John Putley.

The Results

The digital Motorola SL1600 radios have proved very effective and Gloucestershire Archives are discovering that areas previously identified as potential ‘blackout’ zones are now able to communicate effectively. As building work continues and the site expands the adaptability of the new system allows Gloucestershire Archives to add a repeater to enhance coverage, if it should be required.

“Resound were very helpful and professional. They advised on the product and after initial trials, they also advised on the installation of the base station (this was when we thought we had more potential blackout zones).” – John Putley, Hub Facilities Manager.