On the 11th October 2010 I embarked on work experience to West Lothian’s Archive and Record Centre. In all honesty I was expecting to find myself in a dark gloomy building with cobwebs covering the walls however I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in a brightly lit room. The archive itself is impressive, I imagined it to be well organised and I was right. When I think about it, this archive contains information which dates back to more than a hundred years ago for the whole of West Lothian. That is going to take a lot of arranging and credit should go to the people behind the scenes who make it happen. You know who you are!
One of my first tasks was to repackage and mark old photographs taken by photographer Bob Wallace. There was a whole box of the small photos he had taken in West Lothian over the course of his career. This was a huge project as it takes a long time to carry out this process which I can vouch for. The length of time it took though had no effect on me because I knew I was unravelling history and keeping it safe from destruction.
Another of my tasks was to update the old school records onto a database. I was specifically looking at Crofthead Primary school in the year 1893-1894. I was challenged at times in trying to read the writing in the old fragile book but that’s part of the job. I also took a look at the poor records and some of the entries which were recorded in these books are a real tragedy. This gave an idea of how different the standard of life people led was back then. As my Grandad told me what his mother had told him, ‘The good old days, they were anything but’.
The workers at West Lothian’s Archive and Records Centre are committed to doing their job and enjoy it as well. They have been great in helping me out and explaining to me what their role is within the council. In being here I have been giving an experience of what the work environment is like. This can only help as I begin to paint of picture of what I would like to do for a living. Thanks again to Archives and Records Centre for taking me on.