It’s that time of year when, all over Manchester, people are running around buying and wrapping presents. For the team at the Greater Manchester County Record Office it feels like all of our Christmases have come at once.

Weavers dressed up for Christmas, c.1900We’re really excited – as you can see. The new Central Library and its huge shiny new strongrooms are ready and waiting for the city’s archives to arrive from January onwards. In the spring we’ll be opening as part of the Archives+ partnership alongside the North West Film Archive, Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society and the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre.

IMAG0336Over the last few months we have been busy labelling, boxing and wrapping thousands of items to protect the archives and make sure that the move goes smoothly. We’re currently up to label number 55,950. So if you think you’ve got a lot of presents to wrap, think again!

IMAG0335It’s a bit like moving house times a thousand. And just like when you move house, we’ve inevitably found some really random stuff at the bottom of the shelves.

Here’s a lovely plan of the Old Trafford exhibition site in 1887.

Map of the Royal Jubilee Exhibition, Old Trafford, 1887This Manchester Education Committee strap is much more sinister – some of you may remember these not too fondly from school days.

IMAG0332Here’s a happier memory – the sea lion enclosure at Belle Vue. But remember, folks, the sea lions can’t clean up!

IMAG0334And here’s one of the most vibrant Manchester crests I’ve ever come across.

Resolution of Sir John J. Harwood's mayorality, 1884Have a very merry Christmas break – from all at the Greater Manchester County Record Office. For the last time. And now for more important business: the works Christmas do. See you on the other side!

Opening the Greater Manchester County Record Office, 26 Jan 1984