In order to fulfil its mission statement "to preserve and protect records of our milling heritage and to make them freely available to the public", the Mills Archive will seek and acquire historical and contemporary records of traditional mills and milling. This policy defines the scope of the material collected and describes the collection process.

Scope of material collected

Subject

The archive collects historical and contemporary material on mills and milling, including millwrighting and the place of the mill in social as well as technological and architectural history. There is a strong emphasis on traditional mills, which includes mills and similar structures that are or were powered by wind, water, muscle or steam. We will retain items not directly related to our subject area when these are donated as part of a larger collection and their disposal would damage the archival integrity of the collection.

Geographical area

Worldwide, although the focus will be on the United Kingdom.

Chronological period

All periods, but the main focus will be the modern period from the 18th to the 21st centuries inclusive.

Genre or media of records held

The archive will collect the following:

  • photographs (prints, slides, negatives etc.)
  • documents (field notes, architectural plans, deeds, business records etc.)
  • published material (books and reports)
  • digital files which can be converted into the preservation formats specified in the digital preservation policy
  • small artefacts of milling relevance.

Records in other formats (e.g. film, other forms of digital material) will not be actively sought. Where such material is offered to the archive we will attempt to find a home for it with other organisations (e.g. the regional film archives), but we may choose to act as the repository of last resort if it would otherwise be discarded.

The Archive will identify gaps in its holdings and seek to acquire collections accordingly. This will be the subject of the Collections Development Plan which will be produced by the archivist in consultation with the trustees and reviewed annually.

Cooperation and demarcation with other repositories whose collection policy overlaps

The Mills Archive Trust does not seek to compete for material with other archives. In acquiring records every effort will be made to avoid conflict and duplication with the collecting policies of other repositories. In all cases we shall work with other archives and donors to ensure material is placed in its most appropriate home.

The collection process

Collections will be acquired by donation and purchase; deposits on loan will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

No attempt will be made to secure the acquisition or removal of any records held in another record repository, except with the consent of the owner of the records and in consultation with the archivist in charge and governing body of that repository.

Responsibility for deciding whether to accept material lies with the archivist in consultation with the chairman of trustees.

Conditions associated with accessions:

  1. It is a condition of acceptance that documents shall be available for public access either immediately or at the expiry of a specified period.
  2. Acquisition of records will depend on the appropriateness of the Mills Archive as a suitable place for their custody and consultation and will respect the principles of archival integrity.
  3. No records will be acquired or disposed of in contravention of the terms of any current legislation and in particular the Public Records Acts, the Manorial and Tithe Documents Rules and the Parochial Registers and Records Measure.
  4. Before accepting records, the Mills Archive Trust must be satisfied that the donor has proper authority or title to transfer them and in the event of acquisition by gift the Governing Body and the donor or owner of the records shall fully acquaint each other in writing of any terms or conditions attaching to the transfer.
  5. We will also seek to acquire intellectual property rights to the material from the owner of these rights, if known, or agree on a licence permitting us to reproduce the material.

When the archive has agreed to accept a collection of material, the donor will be given an acquisition form to complete, transferring ownership, detailing the agreement we have reached regarding intellectual property rights and specifying any further conditions or restrictions. This and any related correspondence will be stored in the accessions files. The material will be accessioned in line with the specifications of the accessions procedure.

Selection and deaccessioning policy

The Mills Archive Trust believes that there should be a presumption against disposal by sale of documents in its ownership except when they are duplicates of published material. In accordance with the wishes of depositors, as expressed at the time of transfer, we shall evaluate and remove from the archive those documents deemed not to be worthy of permanent preservation.

In all other cases there is a presumption against the disposal, by any means, of records accepted into the record repository unless:

  1. it is found that they belong more properly with records in another repository, in which case they may be transferred there with the consent of both governing bodies.
  2. the Mills Archive becomes unable, either temporarily or permanently, to provide proper care for them, in which case they will be transferred to another appropriate repository with similar overall objectives on such terms as may then be agreed in writing with both governing bodies.
  3. the donor requests their return.

Contact with donors

The archive will maintain contact with donors of material by adding them to the mailing list for our newsletter and inviting them to any events held at the archive.

Date of the policy statement

This policy statement is based on that originally approved by the Trustees in January 2002 and will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years by the Governing Body to take account of any changed circumstances.