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    District Archaeologist Regulations query

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    Paulus

    Join date : 2009-08-20
    Location : Yorkshire

    District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  Paulus on Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:36 am

    OK. Firstly, I've gotta say that this aint summat I've wanted to do, but I've thought by sticking the issue on-line that someone in-the-know might be able to help out here.

    It concerns a lack of communication and unwillingness to be of assistance by the Bradford Council's district archaeologist (or regional, or community archaeo - or whatever title they come up with next), Gavin Edwards, following communications over nearly 2 months ago, with a simple query - and I've have got nowhere. The dood ignores questions, doesn't reply for weeks on end and then, when I've asked to speak to his employers, he's refused to send me their information. I've communicated with dozens of archaeologists over the years and found the vast majoroty of them very helpful indeed - but in this instance I've gotta say Mr Edwards is the worst one I've come across.

    It started 2 months back...

    I was fortunate in getting a set of the Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletins from the '50s and '60s, which outlines many little-known archaeological finds in and around Yorkshire. There's some damn good stuff in them! The editor of the magazine, Sidney Jackson, keeps making remarks in a number of the articles relating to their field-trips and outings, telling that photographs of the many sites were taken and that they "may be seen upon application to the Museum", i.e., Cartwright Hall Museum - including some on previously unknown stone circles, cup-and-rings, etc. bounce Important stuff! And so I contacted Maggie Pedley, the Museums Manager for the Department of Regeneration and Culture of Bradford Council, aswell as Beverley Middleton, an Admin Officer of the same Department, asking if they could help locate these lost papers. They were both very helpful and replied within 24 hours.

    But my stomach sank a bit when they each told me, "Gavin Edwards will be in touch shortly with a reply to your enquiry." Y' know the gut-feelings you sometimes get when you know you're not gonna get right far with someone? Well as it's transpired, the feeling was right...

    And so I emailed Edwards, with the same enquiry asking about the unpublished articles. His response wasn't good, as he said, "The archaeology collection is currently suspended as a result of my secondment to the Watershed Landscapes Project." However he did follow this up by saying "I do retain some access to it, so if you let me know which references you are interested in I can check what there is when I am next over at the Manor House Museum."

    I replied: "There's too much for me to list, so it'd be good if I could make an appointment to have look through whatever records there are. However, as a starter, there's..." and mentioned 3 of the files to be going on with. But I also added: "If the "archaeology collection is currently suspended", does this mean that nobody has access to look thru it? If you're not able to help due to your workload, please let me know of someone else who can help out. I've been spending a lotta time going thru a lot of old MSs lately, many unpublished, with the intent of putting it all on line, so enabling other researchers to access the vital information. It would be good to do the same with the unpublished Cartwright Hall material. If you are unable to do this, I'm very willing to put my time and effort into the work (you can lock me in whichever cellars and keep me chained there until all the work's done!). Surely this would be possible? If you'd like me to call over to either Keighley, or Ilkley and have a chat, I'd be most happy to do this."

    He didn't respond to any of my questions, but instead "reminded me" that the Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletins were under the copyright of Bradford Museums and that I cannot reproduce them. But there's no copyright notice on any of them - and I'd have thought the man would be happy that someone's willing to do such work freely anyway. Weird... But this was deflecting from my initial queries. And so it seemed. After waiting 5 weeks, Edwards did not respond anymore and just ignored my queries/requests. And so I sent another friendly email after 5 weeks, saying:

    "Just wondering if you've been able to find any of those unpublished "Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group Bulletin" reports and photos I enquired about, a few weeks ago?"

    Three days later he replied, saying:

    "To be honest, except when it relates to an artefact in the collections, there usually isn't much more detail to what Sidney reported in the group bulletins, but I have identified a number of prints which I will scan and send through when I am next at the Manor House, which should be Tuesday. I will do so on the understanding that they are still the copyright of Bradford Museum Service.

    As I tried to indicate in my earlier email, what there is is part of the services working records so it is not possible to access it as if it was an archive, it simply isn't structured that way. Apart from that we do have various complete or part collections of the Bulliten, which you already have, together with some of the original engravings and artwork he used to print it. Also, because I have been seconded to the Watershed Landscape project, the archaeology collection is currently suspended as nobody else has been tasked to curate it in my absence. I have however agreed to respond to some enquires when I can, but they do have to be very targeted, as I have very limited time to deal with them.
    "

    Three days later he asked me to confirm that I would not be putting any of the files into the public domain, or on-line. Seemed weird I thought, but I confirmed, "I will confirm that they are for personal use/research only." And then realised this wasn;t going anywhere, and so I specifically requested the details of his employer as I wanted to communicate with them. I added, "Just to make sure we're both clear on my request: I would like the specific contact details (i.e., names/s, email, phone number, address) of your employer."

    Edward's reponse was a simple one: "I have passed your request on to my line management who will respond in due course" - which was not, as I pointed out, what I requested. On March 11, 2011, his final message told me, "The intention is for them to respond to you directly so you will have every opportunity to express and raise whatever concerns you might have."

    I've heard nothing since. I've not had access to a single file from the unpublished Cartwright Hall material. No answers at all to any questions about who else I could perhaps speak to about this. Just Mr Edwards keeping his distance and being pretty unhelpful. I've asked if the collection could be passed onto Bradford Central Library (whilst he's busy elsewhere) so as to enable the public to view them. But nothing - bugger all - ignorance - no replies. Which surely isn't right?

    If Edwards "is on secondment" to another Project, who else do Bradford Council get to cover his inabilities? Is he still being paid by the Council for his job as the community archaeo aswell as or on top of this other Project? Is he surely not supposed to act as a public servant? The impression seems to be that the fella is doing as little as he can be arsed to do, unless he's pushed. In which case, why the hell is he in this job? As one of his co-workers at Keighley Museum told me, "Gavin will do only as much as he thinks he needs to do."

    Well this aint on. Simple as! In contacting and requesting info from other regional archaeologists over the last couple of months, they were brisk, helpful, emailed me files and answered specific questions. In other words, they did their jobs as written on their Terms & Condition of Employment. Surely Mr Edwards is supposed to inform me the details of his employers if I request it? If not, why not? Who's paying Mr Edwards, on whichever project he's doing? What's his wages? Is he value for money?

    In all the years I've enquired for help from such notable institutions as the Bodleian, the British Library, and reference departments all over the country, I've always found them to be most helpful and responsive. Until now. Am I just wasting my time with this? I tried to access these files more than a decade back and came to same dead-end at Cartwright Hall itself. Now we have the internet, I can at least be a pest and ask more people. Does anyone here know what - if anything - can be done?

    Yours hopefully - Paul


    Last edited by Paulus on Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    deadagaindave

    Join date : 2010-12-25

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  deadagaindave on Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:43 pm

    I'd go to the Bradford council site, which should tell you which department the archeology set is under, probably environment; then address your query to the Chair of the committee. Copies to the mayor, The Bradford MP's, and the chief executive of the council.
    What you outline is an effective disruption of a council service, with very relevant funding questions.
    The officials I have mentioned are accountable on such issues, and of course such concerns in these cutting times are certainly of interest to our Parliamentary representatives.
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    Kai Roberts

    Join date : 2011-03-15
    Age : 35
    Location : Calderdale

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  Kai Roberts on Fri Mar 25, 2011 1:49 pm

    Bloody archives. Honestly, sometimes it's like they don't want people to consult them. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Cartwright Hall is a civic museum owned by Bradford Council. As such, unless they're on loan from elsewhere, all their collections are publicly owned and my understanding is they have a legal obligation to permit public access to publicly owned collections. Indeed, this seems to be confirmed by their own Development Plan. Under "Why the service is provided" it lists "Access to heritage: In public ownership - public right to access." If they persist in being obstructive, I would suggest you had a legitimate complaint to the local authority ombudsman, or you could at least threaten them with such a complaint.

    Alternatively, if the collections are publicly owned, what about making a Freedom Of Information request to Bradford Council? They're legally obliged to fulfil such requests within 28 days, provided doing so wouldn't exceed the 18 hour time limit. The only problem is you have to be very specific with FOI requests so you'd have to make one for each item you wanted to see individually. This would be time consuming for you, but it would be even more time consuming for them. So again, you could just threaten to make an FOI request for each individual item and I'm sure they would very quickly realise that it would be much easier just to allow you to consult the collection on site.

    iancarr

    Join date : 2011-01-10
    Location : Manchester

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  iancarr on Tue May 17, 2011 4:26 am

    Hellfire - I've just read this. If this is true it's an appalling attitude. The man should certainly be helping with your queries, as he's being paid by the local council. However, if he is no longer paid by the council, he can rightfully use the other project as an excuse and do nothing. You should contact the Press and ask them to make enquiries about his financial and employment status. He could be violating his terms and conditions. If you have requested his employer's contact information, he is obliged under local regulations to pass them onto you. If he has not done this, you should report him. As a local archaeologist, he should know better.

    Ian

    Eskdale

    Join date : 2011-06-10

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  Eskdale on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:20 pm

    Paul, I hope that it is not too late to add to this topic.
    Speaking as a retired local goevernment officer, let me try and translate Mr Edwards comments into plain English.
    He seems to be saying that archival photos you can have access to (if you wait long enough) but working documents you can`t access. And who defines the photos as working documents - he does!

    Please can you clarify who Sidney Jackson was in relation to Cartwright Hall Museum?
    It seems strange that Mr Jackson should be inviting people to have a look at the photos in the 1950s, when they probably were working documents - but are they still?

    If Mr Jackson was on the staff of the museum and took the photos as part of his work, then the images may belong to the museum. But if was an amateur archaeologist, then the photos belonged to him until he donated them to the museum.
    One other small point about copyright.
    If I remember rightly, in the UK the printed word is copyright for 50 years from publication.
    So presumably those bulletins from the 1950s are no longer covered by copyright legislation?

    In these times of local government cuts there are all sorts of problems arising.
    I know of museums reducing their hours of opening, and some even closing down.
    So it is quite possible that access to the archaeology collection has been genuinely suspended, and this is not an excuse that Mr Edwards has concocted.
    I will have a sniff about and see what I can find out.
    Cliff



    Eskdale

    Join date : 2011-06-10

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  Eskdale on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:09 pm

    Paul, it seems that Sidney Jackson (1922-1979) was once the curator of the Cartwright Hall Museum - in the days before it became a dedicated art gallery. So it all depends if he took the photos in his own time, or whilst performing his job as curator.

    But there is some good news - Sidney Jackson's diaries are now held by the West Yorkshire Archives, based in Bradford Central Library. Their reference number in the collection is 43D78. There was an initial embargo of 30 years placed on the material, following his death, but as that period ended in 2008, they are now accessible to the public.
    Who knows, the collection might even include his photographs!
    Cliff
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    Paulus

    Join date : 2009-08-20
    Location : Yorkshire

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  Paulus on Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:12 pm

    Hi Cliff! (and other folk who've responded to this curious debacle)

    No worries about bringing this matter back to the surface, as it needs doing. Re the Jackson files & photos:

    Eskdale wrote:Paul, it seems that Sidney Jackson (1922-1979) was once the curator of the Cartwright Hall Museum - in the days before it became a dedicated art gallery. So it all depends if he took the photos in his own time, or whilst performing his job as curator.

    He did the photos as part of the Cartwright Hall Archaeology Group and openly stated in the magazine he edited that the documents & photos were available for viewing upon application. However, as you stated in your previous reply on the matter relating to Gavin Edwards' notion about accessibility:

    Eskdale wrote:He seems to be saying that archival photos you can have access to (if you wait long enough) but working documents you can`t access. And who defines the photos as working documents - he does!

    - which is what comes across very clearly. But as we all know: in the event that Aubrey Burl, Prince Charles, the editor of Antiquity, or someone Edwards deemed was of credo that could be to his benefit, he'd allow access to the photo/files very quickly. Of that there is little doubt. It tells us quite simply the sort of person we're dealing with which, to me at least, is most disappointing, considering his position (and a paid public servant at that): 'ego' in front of 'learning' IMO. But it's time we moved on and just accept that's the way of things...

    Eskdale wrote:But there is some good news - Sidney Jackson's diaries are now held by the West Yorkshire Archives, based in Bradford Central Library. Their reference number in the collection is 43D78. There was an initial embargo of 30 years placed on the material, following his death, but as that period ended in 2008, they are now accessible to the public. Who knows, the collection might even include his photographs!

    This is damn good news! Huge thanks for that Cliff. bounce I'll contact the library in the next few days and spend sometime going thru the material. And in the event that it somehow disappears, at least we'll know where it's gone, away from public viewing and back into the hallowed lands of private eyes and non-learning... affraid

    Let's hope that doesn't happen! If there's owt good (i.e. prehistoric) to be found amidst the 'Jackson diaries', we'll gerrit reported on here! Very Happy

    All the best - Paul study
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    Paulus

    Join date : 2009-08-20
    Location : Yorkshire

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  Paulus on Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:19 pm

    Soz....nearly forgot this bit:

    Eskdale wrote:...There was an initial embargo of 30 years placed on the material, following his death, but as that period ended in 2008, they are now accessible to the public.


    Does this mean that someone somewhere actually denied access to the material for 30 years? And if so, who/what would do that? Or would it be just a copyright thing? I know Mr Jackson fell out with Bradford Met over some issues near the end of his employment with them, but don't know what it was about. Another fine rock-art enthusiast from the same period, Stuart Feather, also had real misgivings about some regional archaeologist matters around the same time as Jackson but, again, don't know why.

    Cheers - Paul

    Eskdale

    Join date : 2011-06-10

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  Eskdale on Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:56 pm

    Regarding the 30 years embargo .....it is quite usual for an embargo to be placed on donated archives where they contain information relating to people who were still alive at the time of the donation. The same thing happens to government files that are deposited in The National Archives and are only released to the publuic after 30-40 years. And the other example is of course the Census returns which are not released until 100 yeara after the data was collected.
    Cliff

    Eskdale

    Join date : 2011-06-10

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  Eskdale on Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:06 am

    Paul, I expect that you already know the following information that I picked up from the Net
    Here is the brief summary of the Sidney Jackson collection that is held at the Manor House Art Gallery & Museum.

    Contents:
    Extensive archive of photographs, correspondence and detailed records relating to Jackson's personal and professional interests in natural history and archaeology: c 3,000 black and white prints and negatives; c 1,500 colour 35 mm slides; three boxes of diaries, correspondence and newspaper cuttings; record cards; complete set of CMH Archaeological Group Bulletin publications

    Cliff
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    Paulus

    Join date : 2009-08-20
    Location : Yorkshire

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  Paulus on Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:13 am

    Hi again Cliff!

    Eskdale wrote:Paul, I expect that you already know the following information that I picked up from the Net. Here is the brief summary of the Sidney Jackson collection that is held at the Manor House Art Gallery & Museum.

    Contents:
    Extensive archive of photographs, correspondence and detailed records relating to Jackson's personal and professional interests in natural history and archaeology: c 3,000 black and white prints and negatives; c 1,500 colour 35 mm slides; three boxes of diaries, correspondence and newspaper cuttings; record cards; complete set of CMH Archaeological Group Bulletin publications

    Is this the collection you mentioned as reference no. 43D78? I think this is the info that I've been wanting to look at, but Gavin Edwards is denying me access to looking at them "because he is on secondment to another project", as he puts it. In asking for someone else to speak to regarding this lack of access, he's not responded. So I've asked for his employer's info as I wanna report this denial of access. He's refused to give me that information.

    I'm calling into the Central Library today and will see what they say.

    All the best - Paul

    Eskdale

    Join date : 2011-06-10

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  Eskdale on Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:16 pm

    Paul, how did you get on at the archives at Bradford Library?
    A couple of weeks ago I e-mailed the archives asking for clarification as there seemed to be some overlap between the Sidney Jackson material that was held in the archives, and the collection that was at the Manor House Art Gallery and Museum. But my e-mail succumbed to the Jackson Black Hole syndrome, and I never received a reply.
    I hope that you had better luck by turning up in person.
    Cliff
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    Paulus

    Join date : 2009-08-20
    Location : Yorkshire

    Re: District Archaeologist Regulations query

    Post  Paulus on Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:11 am

    Hi Cliff!

    Eskdale wrote:Paul, how did you get on at the archives at Bradford Library?

    The ladies there were very helpful indeed - but that's the way they've always been in there. They've got two sets of files, they said, and if there's anymore kept anywhere else, they can have them shipped to Bratf'd Central Library where we can access them. I'm making an appointment to see them tomorrow.

    Eskdale wrote:A couple of weeks ago I e-mailed the archives asking for clarification as there seemed to be some overlap between the Sidney Jackson material that was held in the archives, and the collection that was at the Manor House Art Gallery and Museum. But my e-mail succumbed to the Jackson Black Hole syndrome, and I never received a reply.

    Hmmmmm.....not good. Mebbe email them again Cliff - and I'd encourage other people to do the same. Your email might have been passed on to Gavin Edwards, who seems to want to own the files and aint good at replying. But the Archive Library ladies said that any files held at Ilkley Manor House museum can be shipped over to Bradford Central upon request if we can't access them.

    "There should be no problem at all," they said, looking really puzzled when I told them what had been happening. scratch In the event that we get nowhere, they recommended we contact his employer - so we're gonna do that anyway when I go to the library this week. Let's see what happens.

    Cheers - Paul study

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