Appointment of Correlli “Bill” Barnett, first Keeper of the Archives (1977-1995)

The post of Keeper was formally separated from that of Librarian, and the first holder of the new office was the military and industrial historian Correlli Barnett. He took up his responsibilities on New Year’s Day 1977, little knowing that he would remain in office for the next eighteen years and lead a large and sustained expansion of staff, public services and collections.

Further fundraising became a central task, but enabled the Centre to keep pace with new technology and standards, providing air conditioning for the conservation workshop, CCTV for the reading rooms, and the first photocopier and computers for the offices. To quote Correlli Barnett, “as is usual with fundraising, all this proved a long, hard slog. Yet without it the Centre would have remained stuck in the era of pencil-and-paper, the card-index, and the typewriter.”

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