Books on a shelf in the Richard Burton Archives

The Richard Burton Archives at Swansea University, which holds material of local, regional and national significance, has retained accreditation status in recognition of its high standards, both in looking after valuable records, and in making them available to researchers and the wider community.

Archive Service Accreditation is the UK standard for archive services, and the Richard Burton Archives at Swansea University was the first university archive in the UK and the first service in Wales to receive accreditation status after the launch of the standard in 2013.

To meet the standard, archives must show that they are “responsive to all their stakeholders and trusted in the management of their unique collections”.

The Richard Burton Archives’ extensive collections are kept in specialist, dedicated facilities and are made available in the public reading room. The holdings include:

  • The South Wales Coalfield Collection and trade union records, an internationally important research resource, providing a unique picture of life in the coalfield valleys during the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries.
  • The Richard Burton collection, including the diaries kept by the Port Talbot-born actor from 1940 through to the 1980s, published in 2012 with worldwide coverage.
  • Local archives – records of businesses, religious denominations, the famous Mumbles Railway and family collections of prominent Swansea industrialists, including the Vivians, Dillwyns and Morrises.
  • Records of local metallurgical industries, including copper, tinplate and steel.
  • Documents relating to the history of the University since it was founded in 1920, and to student life at Swansea through the ages, such as photographs, Student Union newspapers and oral histories.

Siân Williams, Head of Special Collections at Swansea University, said: “I am delighted that the Richard Burton Archives has successfully retained its accreditation status and note the observations of the panel who recognised our achievements and our commitment to ongoing improvement and development.

“We strive to make the collections we hold available to students, staff and anyone who might benefit from engaging with them. The award means that everyone who uses our collections, or donates materials to us, can be sure that we are managing them to the highest standard. Many congratulations to my colleagues in the Archives who have worked very hard to retain accreditation. They have shown outstanding teamwork and adaptability, particularly during the challenges posed by the current coronavirus pandemic.”

Share Story