The second issue of the National Archives' online newsletter, Archives Sector Update, looks at the new Government policy on archives, Archives for the 21st Century, and contains news that NA's 'Resource Discovery and Information Systems Team' has become the 'Strategic Collection Development Team', plus lots of other useful information about public (and business) archives.

HELM (Historic Environment Local Management) is an English Heritage website devoted to 'provide(ing) accessible information, training and guidance to decision makers in local authorities, regional agencies and national organisations whose actions affect the historic environment'. It includes sections on local regeneration and 'Places and Placemaking', which has a sub-section called 'Streets for all'. It's a site well worth ferreting around in, I guarantee that something will catch your attention.

Living Links is a new Heritage Lottery Fund project helping communities to celebrate their diverse and evolving stories, led by Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and the Isle of Wight Record Office. The information on offer is applicable anywhere in England. It explains how participants can collect and record local history, care for and manage local records, design exhibitions and develop heritage events, use mainstream archives and obtain funding advice and training support. An excellent site.

Christmas at the Co-op features on the Archives Hub website and has lots of images of how Co-operative Societies prepared for the festive season. The images are from the National Co-operative Archive Co-operative Press and Co-operative Union photographic collections and show how co-operative societies prepared for the busy Christmas period and the ways in which they promoted their business during the festive season. The Co-op archives is part of the Co-operative College and a wonderful website in its own right.

A footnote. I compiled the first 'Webwatch' section for Local History Magazine No.84 (March/April 2001), back in the days when local history on the web was still a bit of a novelty. This may seem difficult to believe, but it is true. Our own website dates back to 1997 and the Archives Hub was one of the very first listings in 2001. It is a website I return to every few months to see what's new. Now that I am finally retiring, I hope to visit it more often. Compiling 'Webwatch' has been an enjoyable and informative experience over the years. I hope someone else takes on the role of finding local history related websites for readers to enjoy — including me!

Robert Howard

16 December 2009

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