Bishop John today gave a speech in the House of Lords criticising the County Council’s proposal to cut £405,000 from the Archive service, describing it as “cutting to the bone”.

The current budget of the Archive service is £700,000, which was cut from £1.2m in 2010. Based in the Hive, Worcester Archive service cares for items of great public significance like Shakespeare’s Marriage Bond and in 2017, it was voted by the Archives and Records Association as Record-Keeping Service of the Year. The proposed budget cut would amount to a saving of just £0.69 per resident per year, equivalent to only 0.18% of the council’s social care expenditure.

In his speech, Bishop John said: “Some might not consider an archive service to be an essential service, but I would beg to differ. It matters, as the British Archaeology News Resource puts it, because of the possible ‘irretrievable loss of hundreds of years of dedication and expertise. The history of a place isn’t in the cold dead stones, or the reams of paper in an archive. It’s in the people that care for them, know the records intimately, and pass on that passion and knowledge to others. It’s in the people who bring those stones, those manuscripts to life. Lose them, and you lose the history. And, now more than ever, we need the lessons of history.’”

Bishop John continued; “I have great respect for our County Councillors and very much hope that they will reject these proposed cuts which would be a false economy and a major reputational as well as cultural loss, putting some statutory services at risk.”

Read the full text of Bishop John's speech.


The Diocese of Worcester is one of 42 dioceses in the Church of England. It covers an area of 671 square miles and includes parishes in the County of Worcestershire, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, and a few parishes in northern Gloucestershire, south east Wolverhampton and Sandwell.

From: Sam Setchell, Press Officer for the Diocese of Worcester and the Bishop of Worcester.

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