I came to Archiving late on in life, after 20 years working in the Landscape industry, at the age of 50. Graduating from UCL in 2008 with a Post Graduate Diploma in Archives and Records management. Not wishing to commute into London I took a voluntary post at the Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust in 2008 until starting as Archivist At Wrotham Park in July 2010. My knowledge of Archives, and their workings, has been enhanced through my roles (as HHAG Representative and SSR Treasurer) with the Section for Specialist Repositories (SSR). This has included Archive visits in Lincoln County Record Office;, Reading University Agricultural Archive; Limerick Diocesan Archive and Limerick University; Free Derry Archive and Derry Tower Museum Archives; Dundee University; Howarth Bronte Museum, West Riding County Archives, Morley; Cardiff University and Cornish Record Office, Redruth.
My interests are sailing, hill walking and reading about History.
I am currently the Archivist for Bath Preservation Trust which owns No 1 Royal Crescent in Bath, which I think just about counts as an historic house, even though it is a little smaller than those of most of our members. I have been a member of HHAG since 2013 when I was Curator and Archivist at Bowood House in Wiltshire and have been Treasurer since October 2018. I also worked as Assistant Archivist at Longleat House from 2005 to 2007.
I have a degree in Latin (very helpful for old deeds) from Birmingham University and a postgraduate diploma in Archive Administration from Aberystwyth University (I was there in the days before the course became an MA). I started my career working at the Wiltshire Record Office, where I worked on the archives of several estates, including the Savernake Estate, as well as records of local authorities, Quarter Sessions, the Diocese of Salisbury, and local businesses such as GWR and Cow & Gate baby food.
Outside work I enjoy visiting museums, art galleries and other historic houses but also un-archivist-like activities such as Zumba and surfing!
Unlike many of you, my route into archive work was different. I come from a teaching background having qualified in 1976 and I worked in the vast total of two schools until my retirement in 2014! Starting out as a PE and History teacher, I knew that the Headmaster / Deputy route was not for me (teaching is much more fun!) and gradually moved more and more into history as my career at Cheltenham College Preparatory School continued. A combination of old age and “Triple Jumper’s knee” forced me out of sport teaching completely and into running the history department as well as involving myself with the national Prep. Schools history group and a number of internal roles in the school. My wife Tricia and I determined that I needed something to occupy myself with on retirement and I came across to Sudeley Castle as a volunteer before being asked to take on the archivist role from November 2014 onwards. The right place at the right time! Here I have been tasked with digitalising the archives, dealing with researchers etc., but I could not leave my teaching background behind, so I liaise and work with guides and volunteers and get rolled out when specific groups visit or when TV work is called for. The dream job for an ex-teacher!
Retired: Chartered Librarian [1964-2004]
Part-time archivist at Gorhambury, St. Albans [1989-2016]
Joined Historic Houses Archivist Group in 1990;
Committee member 1995-2014
Hon. Newsletter editor 1996-2011; 2020 – .
Richard Bowden joined HHAG in 2001. He retired in 2014 having spent the first half of his career with the City of Westminster Archives, and the second half as the first archivist appointed to look after the records of the Howard de Walden and later the Portman estates in Marylebone.