Friday, 25 January 2013

Friends Of Bradford Archives and Local Studies launches


A new group FOBALS – Friends Of Bradford Archives and Local Studies - has just been established to support and help promote the archive and local studies services in central Bradford and to ensure the maintenance of those services and their collections as centres of excellence.

Bradford Central Library is currently closed for refurbishment which is expected to last 20 weeks and FOBALS is eagerly looking forward to seeing the new look building. We are fortunate that the Council is investing the money to refurbish the library and supporting the provision of local studies and archive services during such difficult economic times.

A proportion of the refurbishment funds are required to ensure that fire safety standards over all eight floors is met so that the upper floors can be brought back into use. Investigations into possible uses for the upper floors are ongoing.

The local studies library and West Yorkshire Archive Service will occupy the second floor and will have a similar amount of public space as they did prior to the access restrictions which were in operation from Oct 2011. Many records are now available digitally and can be accessed from ANY Bradford library for example many West Yorkshire Parish Registers are now on Ancestry and the British Newspaper Archive on Find my Past both of which the Library service has subscriptions to. This has changed the requirements of the Local Studies and Archive Service to focus on those records which are not available online for example maps, other local newspapers and their extensive hardcopy collections. These will continue to be maintained in good condition and made available to the public.

The local studies library is fortunate to have an extensive collection of maps, documents and books not just on Bradford and the surrounding districts but on the whole of Yorkshire. It is hoped that this will attract users to the city from a wider area as other libraries in the region are increasingly focussing only on their own locality.

Membership to FOBALS is open to all individuals and groups who support its aims. Members will not be required to pay any subscription, however, an annual voluntary donation would be gratefully received to defray expenses. If you are interested in becoming a member please contact

FOBALS cannot respond to local or family history enquiries.

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FOBALS committee:

Dr Christine Alvin - Chair & Minutes Secretary
Janet Senior - Treasurer & Membership Secretary
Dr Kathryn Hughes - Publicity Officer & Secretary [pro tem]
Tish Lawson - Secretary [April onwards]
Dr Bob Duckett
Derek Goff
Ken Kenzie
Mary Twentyman
Dr Eileen White
Derek Barker

(With thanks to Kathryn Hughes)


Pre-order my new book, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, through Pen and Sword (30 April 2013), or purchase early at Who Do You Think You Are Live 2013 in London. For my other genealogy books, please visit; whilst for my online Scottish based genealogy courses please visit the Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd site.

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