All Archives Great and Small

Two years ago when we began the Paganel Archives project and were confronted with a room full of bags of children’s work and boxes of photos and shelves of art and craft projects we were a bit daunted!

Two years later, with our beautifully designed archive room, an online catalogue and a team of year 6 archivists we feel quite pleased with ourselves for the job we have done in creating Paganel Archives, a living school archive that documents its school and community from the school’s opening in 1938, to the present day.  We even have an ongoing archive after school club to keep recording, collecting, archiving and cataloguing

Paganel School Archives

Paganel School Archives

This week we went to visit The National Archives to see how it compared…… it’s a bit bigger!

We were amazed to discover that they have over 12 million items stored on about 150 miles of shelving – pretty much the distance we travelled from Weoley Castle to visit The National Archives in Kew!  We had a fantastic time being shown round two huge archive stores and followed the journey of a document from its request to its production.  Unlike our archive, where we can just turn round to a shelf and pull it down, the request was generated electronically and even sometimes fetched on a trike!

Exploring the National Archives

Exploring the National Archives

Paganel School Archives

Paganel School Archives Room










There were some similarities though. We noted the two and three letter codes for finding material that we use as well, the use of ties, the archival boxes for storage and the use of gloves for serving photos – all practices that Paganel young archivists are very used to.  We also both have our own branded pencils which we exchanged!

It was great to have a chance to share stories of our archive with Clem, the director of the National Archives, to tell him about our punishment books, our recorded museum of me project and our oral history interviews.

We were tremendously impressed by The National Archives, how helpful everyone was and how much amazing material they have there (we saw Henry VIII’s portrait in the Valor Ecclesiasticus!) and how much they do to conserve it and make it accessible. It was exciting and inspiring and it felt good to be part of a national organisation that is much about capturing heritage and sharing it.

It has to be said though, our myths and legends themed archive room still has the edge on their search room…!

Paganel Archives room is available to visit by appointment by contacting Paganel School office on 0121 464 5040.   More information about the archive can be found at

Information about The National Archives, visiting and their collections  can be found at



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