Volunteering at the Royal Commission: a personal experience by John Crompton
As part of National Volunteer’s Week we’ve asked our volunteers to give us an update on what they’ve been doing. Our first contribution is from our longest serving volunteer John Crompton:
I came to live near Aberystwyth in 2005, and quickly renewed my acquaintance with the Royal Commission, whose records I had used during my teaching career. By 2008 I had revisited some earlier research in Anglesey and North Wales, and wanted to make my records available to a wider public; so on 11th June 2008 I posted my first new record on Coflein, the Commission’s on-line database. That’s almost nine very enjoyable years, during which I’ve added records on the North Wales slate quarries and on wind and water mills across Wales. Latterly I’ve been compiling lists and electronic maps of mills, nearly 3,000 of them, by scanning the whole of Wales as depicted on the 25-inch historic Ordnance Survey maps. The lists are providing the basis of new records, and I hope they will help others, including members of the Welsh Mills Society, to stimulate and guide their research in the field. I’ve also been analysing existing information; one example has been to go through all the Commission’s records of waterwheels with the maker’s name, and map their distribution in relation to the foundries where they were made.
What do I get out of volunteering here? A major element has been access to the Commission’s GIS (Geographical Information Systems) which makes so much mapped information available, and with which I’ve learned how to build new maps. Then there’s the satisfaction of having passed on some of my own knowledge and experience – but the real benefit is the regular stimulus, experience and friendship which comes from contact with the Commission staff and workplace. That is something I can’t recommend sufficiently highly.
If you’d like more information on volunteering with the Commission, please see the volunteer page on our website.