Online Services at Denbighshire Archives

March 24, 2015

As you are aware, it was recently decided to reduce the archive service’s opening hours in 2015 so that we can commit more time to developing and improving our online presence. We feel that this is vital for the service to remain sustainable and relevant in today’s world. It will enable Denbighshire Archives Service to widen its customer base beyond those that visit the searchroom in Ruthin.

Since this new direction was outlined, members of our team have been working to develop a plan for achieving our new goals, with support and guidance from CyMAL (policy division of the Welsh Government responsible for developing policy for local museums, archives and libraries in Wales) and The National Archives.

The following vision statement has been established:

Denbighshire Archives Service will provide the widest possible access to the collections in its care through opportunities presented by utilising digital technologies. An innovative and comprehensive online resource providing modern and efficient access to the service will complement and enhance those provided onsite.

A forward work-plan has been developed to help achieve this vision. Some of our main priorities over the next five years include:

• To launch a new Denbighshire Archives website by the end of 2015
• To have our catalogue of collections published and made available on the new website
• To work on the transfer of paper catalogues into CALM (our cataloguing database)
• To make better use of existing digitised material on the new website
• To seek external funding to catalogue and digitise key material from larger collections, notably the North Wales Mental Health Hospital collection.

This work does not distract us from the service provided to our searchroom visitors. This is still and will always remain an important aspect of the service to us but we now aim to complement this with an online service that reaches different and new audiences.

We hope you have found the update summary useful. We will aim to keep you regularly updated on this and other activities at Denbighshire Archives via our Blog and Facebook pages.


Who was Arthur Edward Jerman?

March 16, 2015

Two years ago we posted a plea for help to discover more about the author of a World War One diary which was found in an outbuilding of a house in Ruthin (see previous post here). We asked for people to come forward to offer information about the author of the diary, Arthur Edward Jerman and his connection to Denbighshire and we are very pleased that his great nephew got in contact with us tell us more of the story and show us the medals he was awarded (pictured).

Arthur Edward Jerman was born in Wrexham in 1873, son of Rev. Edward Jerman. He was educated at Wrexham Grammar School and went on to obtain a scholarship to study at Bangor University. He was appointed as Assistant House Surgeon at Westminster Hospital and later became Senior House Surgeon. He also served as Medical Officer in Kenya and returned after three years to Erith in Kent. His first public appointment was that of part time medical officer to the sanatorium, in Kent, which he held for 27 years. Dr A.E. Jerman died in 1928 in Erith hospital after suffering with heart problems.

During the First World War he served as Leiut.- Colonel of the 4th London Ambulance of the 47th Division spending to years in the war zone in the neighbourhood of Ypres during which time he wrote the diary. The diary began one hundred years ago today on 16th March 1915 when he leaves his wife, Maud, at Watford train station and departs for Havre on the SS Inventor.

“Boat remained outside Havre harbour till tide turned to get into dock which was reached about 9.30. Great difficulty in disembarking Horses. Had lunch on S. S. Inventor. At 4pm moved off to Rest Camp No2 about 5 miles from quay. Went under canvas. Fairly quiet night but cold and frosty. Heard that we had had a narrow escape from being torpedoed by a German submarine.”

The diary highlights the medical corp and their activities including casualty evacuation and caring for the injured.

26th May 1916-

“Causalities very heavy all night. All officers were working hard all night dressing wounds. The character of the wounds varied from immensely, some quite trivial others dangerous. One poor fellow, a Sergeant of Engineers, was so bad that we could do nothing for him, so he was put in the ward and died in about 20 minutes. One young lieutenant died in a few hours from wound of chest and 2 others died from some injury or other.”

The diary is around 200 pages in length and records Dr. Jerman’s time in France up to 21st November 1916. It is handwritten and in some places difficult to decipher and Dr. Jerman’s great nephew has been working on creating a transcription of the diary over the last year which is available along with the original to view at the office.

For more information about our holding see our website here.


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