Yateley Archives

The Yateley Society has now transferred most of its physical archives to Hampshire Record Office, the Archivist having scanned or photographed all of those deposited. The digital archive takes up almost all of a 500Gb hard-drive.


  1. In 1991 the Yateley Society started systematically to digitise its own archives, as well as those documents and images related to Yateley, but owned by third parties. Before 1981, when the Society was formed, Sydney Loader and Jean McIlwaine had made a substantial collection of photographs, postcards, original documents and photocopies.
  2. Sydney had been given a collection assembled by the Stilwell family, and Jean was the Church Archivist for St Peter's. Both were founding members of the Society, and Sydney was one of our two founding Vice Presidents. Their collections have now been deposited at Hampshire Record Office as The Loader-McIlwaine Collection. Although the Society has digitised the entire collection it does not own these archives.
  3. Jean McIlwaine, a keen amateur family historian, has also deposited her own scrapbooks in the Hampshire Record Office under reference 189A08.
  4. In May 1979 an arsonist had set fire to St Peter's Church, destroying much of it -- except the Saxon north wall. Many of the church archives, including the parish registers were in a safe which became extremely hot, but luckily most were saved, albeit some badly scorched. The Parish Magazines and other archives were completely lost.
  5. Jean immediately organised the emergency dispatch of all surviving church archives to Hampshire Record Office, taking most of them down to Winchester, still hot, in the back of her own car. The finding number is 67M78. There are 462 items individually catalogued on the CALM database. The charred remains of some documents, eg some poor rates and church rates, are too fragile to present in the Search Room. The Society purchased a microfilm of the parish registers which was transcribed by members into a digital database in the 1990s. These transcriptions are all available online on the Yateley Local History website.
  6. In the early 1990s the Society's Archivist was Richard Johnston. Richard decided to collect up all documents and images relating to Yateley, most of which were then dispersed in various members' home. In 1991 we also decided to start creating a digital archive, and the first floppy discs were made available to Society researchers at May Fayre that year.
  7. From its inception the Society was conscious that almost no historical research had been carried out in the 20th century using primary sources. The Society therefore organised, promoted and funded a tutorial course run by the WEA entitled The Yateley History Project. The tutor was Dr John Porter.
  8. This course undertook the transcription of all Yateley wills between 1558 and 1700, plus transcriptions of several 19th century census and trade directories. These had been typed on several early computer platforms so Richard Johnston set up systems to transfer the data to Microsoft DOS. The paper version of the transcript of 16th century wills was bound and presented to Yateley Library, as was the project's eventual publication Yateley, a parish through six centuries.
  9. In the early-1980s, in parallel with the Yateley History Project the monthly meetings of the Society's Local History Group catered for 'armchair' historians and those wanting to research local houses independently. In 1985 a notable project was starting to construct a database of all records of property transactions recorded in the Crondall Manor so that they could be correlated with the Yateley Tithe Map and early 19th century Land Tax Records.
  10. In 1991 the Society thus commenced collecting up, consolidating and cataloging all known historical collections in Yateley. The Loader-McIlwaine Collection consisted mostly of local material, including a large collection of old postcards. On the other hand almost all of the archives produced by the Society itself and the Yateley History Project were transcripts of primary sources held in public archives.
  11. The Society's Archivist, Richard Johnston was responsible for producing and maintaing the Society's digital archive. He first added his own extensive research into Yateley Hall. This research was published as a booklet for the Society's very successful guided tours of Yateley Hall in 1991. Much of this research consisted of transcriptions of material held in public and private archives.
  12. Richard Johnston also made it a personal project to digitise all the manorial admissions and surrenders of properties (back to 1729) in Yateley in the Crondall Manor Court Books in and the Manor of Hall Place (back to 1760). This provides the Society with a record of property transactions for all houses in Yateley before they became freehold. Together with a database of the transcripst of various taxation records bach to 1658, the Society thus had the capability of being able to track back ownership of historic buildings in Yateley to fulfil its planning object clauses to protect listed buildings and Conservation Areas.
  13. The Society also started to collect into one place its own administrative records, and the records of its own (now defunct) Natural History Group. Since the leading members of the Local History Group were also leading the Planning Subcommittee, documents obtained from Public Inquires, and its own submissions, were accumulated as a prime source for future historians. The Society's archive is thus by no means restricted to historical documents.
  14. It should be emphasised that the Yateley Society is not constituted as a local history society. It is a civic society set up as a registered charity to educational charity seeking to inform the public about all as[ects of Yateley's history and geography and seeking better town planning outcomes for Yateley. By the late 1990s the Trustees had thus fulfilled their objectives to be able to mount a reasoned and objective case at any public inquiry. We also had the ability to react quickly using the digital databases on our computers. The planning process gives little time for basic historical research to be caried out in the period allowed for submiting objections.
  15. The Society's primary charitable objective is effectively to promote 'pride of place' in a community largely made up of incomers, like most of us doing the research. In the mid-1990s the Society decided to concentrate on local history subjects at its annual exhibition at May Fayre, to be transferred immediately each year to Yateley Library for several weeks, . The regimen of producing and annual local history exhibition necessitated archival research into broader aspects of Yateley's past than hitherto. The process of producing the exhibitions produced yet more digital records.
  16. In 1997 a very successful exhibition was mounted telling the story of Yateley's Victorian pubs. It was followed by a series of exhibitions debunking some of the village's myths but adding stories, which seemed to us much more interesting, about Yateley people and events previously unknown. Yateley Library asked us to accompany our exhibition with a 'Library Lecture'. Research for a talk about Yateley's connection with the East India Company was done in the British Library. Ten year's of local history exhibitions resulted in transcriptions of more public archives, which then ended up in the Society's digital database.

    Concentration on producing arguments for public inquiries and text for local history exhibitions led the Society to adopt a houserule that establishing an historical fact required concurrence of three different primary sources. Our evidence had to stand up to close cross-examination by eminent QCs in Public Inquiries.
  17. When the Society's Archivist announced his intention to move away from Yateley a concerted effort was made to make digital copies of the remaining physical archives. The Trustees authorised that once digitised all paper archives should be deposited at Hampshire Record Office. The first delivery, in 2010, was itself recorded on three photographs: