Terms of deposit of records with Surrey History Centre


Surrey History Centre exists to acquire, preserve and make available for public consultation records and local studies material relating to the history of Surrey. The History Centre is part of Surrey County Council.

Surrey History Centre is the place of deposit for official records of Surrey County Council, district councils and civil parishes. It is authorised to hold public records under the provisions of the Public Records Acts, 1958 and 1967, and Church of England parish records deposited under the terms of the Parochial Registers and Records Measure, 1978.

Surrey History Centre is also an authorised place of deposit for tithe records, under the provisions of the Tithe Redemption Act 1936, and of manorial records, under the Manorial Documents Rules. Under the provisions of the 1962 Local Government (Records) Act the History Centre is also authorised to accept private records by way of gift, long term loan or purchase. These terms of deposit do not override the specific provisions of these cited laws or other records legislation.

Gifts of records become the property of the County Council. They are not subject to the following terms of deposit although in appropriate instances a gift may be made subject to certain conditions. The County Council will become data controller of donated records as defined by the Data Protection Act 2018 unless the donor explicitly wishes to retain controllership.

Records deposited as a long term loan remain the property of the depositor who may withdraw them subject to our terms of withdrawal (7.1-7.4). A long term loan can be converted to a gift at any time during the period of deposit.

Definition of terms for the purpose of this document

Depositor: The person, or their lawful heirs or successors, who is the owner of the records and places the records on loan in the Surrey History Centre.

Council: Surrey County Council, and any successor authority.

Records: The property of the depositor placed in Surrey History Centre.

1. Deposit

1.1 These terms of deposit will apply to all records deposited with Surrey History Centre unless the depositor notifies the head of service in writing of any objections or variations to specific clauses at the time of deposit or within one calendar month of deposit, and agreement is reached with the head of service.

1.2 In the case of deposit by long term loan it is expected that the minimum period of deposit shall be 20 years.

1.3 The Council reserves the right to refuse the deposit of any records judged not to merit permanent preservation and to return them or, with the consent of the depositor, destroy them.

1.4 The County Council will become joint data controller with the owner of the records while they are in the custody of Surrey History Centre and both parties shall be responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018. The Act permits the Council to keep archives indefinitely and to allow others to use them for research, provided they are not used to support measures or other decisions with respect to particular individuals and provided they are not processed in such a way that substantial distress or damage is or is likely to be caused. Therefore the Council reserves the right to refuse to take records which may still be needed by the owner to support decisions concerning individuals.

1.5 A register of the names and addresses of depositors is permanently maintained by the Council in manual and electronic forms. Such information will not be released to third parties without permission. It shall be the responsibility of the depositor to notify the Council of any change of ownership or of name or address.

1.6 The Council reserves the right to photograph, microfilm or otherwise copy records subject to the copyright acts currently in force.

2. Preservation

2.1 The records will be stored in Surrey History Centre in appropriate environmental conditions with protection against fire and intruders.

2.2 The Council will take all reasonable precautions to preserve the records from damage, loss or theft but shall not otherwise be liable beyond this to the depositor for any damage to or loss or theft of them during the deposit period.

3. Conservation

3.1 Appropriate conservation treatments including the physical repair of records may be carried out by qualified conservators or people working under professional supervision where considered necessary by the head of service.

3.2 The Council will withhold access to records considered to be too fragile, damaged or otherwise unsuitable for public consultation.

4. Listing

4.1 The records will be listed, as resources allow, by qualified archivists or people working under professional supervision. A free copy of the list will be sent to the depositor and to such other persons or organisations as is deemed appropriate. The name and town of residence of the depositor will generally be included in the list unless agreement is reached to the contrary.

4.2 Catalogue reference numbers may be applied to the surface of individual records in a non-detrimental fashion, for identification and security purposes.

4.3 Copyright in all Surrey History Centre lists and other finding aids, manual or computerised, is vested in the Council.

5. Access and publications

5.1 Subject to any restrictions agreed between the depositor and the Council in 1.1, and to any statutory restrictions and closure periods, the records shall be made available for public consultation. The Council will observe the depositor's right to keep his records confidential for an agreed period. The permanent closure of records will not be accepted.

5.2 All researchers will be alerted to the need to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and will be personally liable for infringement of the Act.

5.3 Copies of records will be supplied to members of the public only in accordance with current copyright legislation. The Council will take all reasonable measures to inform the public of their responsibilities under such legislation but is not liable for abuse of copyright by a member of the public. Records will not be copied if their condition or format means they may be damaged in the process.

5.4 Unless otherwise agreed with the depositor at the time of deposit, the head of service may grant permission to publish in whole or in part deposited records on condition that the depositor is acknowledged. Persons intending to publish will be made aware of the relevant current copyright legislation where reasonably practicable.

5.5 Unless otherwise agreed with the depositor at the time of deposit, the Council reserves the right to publish deposited records in whole or in part in its own publications without seeking the prior permission of the depositor but with due acknowledgement to the depositor.

6. Exhibitions and talks

6.1 Records may be displayed, in original or copy form, without the further permission of the depositor if the display is taking place on council premises or is supervised by History Centre staff. Requests from other institutions for the loan of records for temporary exhibitions will be referred to the depositor for approval. The Council will wish to satisfy itself as to security and insurance arrangements.

7. Withdrawal

7.1 The depositor is entitled to withdraw the records temporarily, upon signing an appropriate undertaking, for up to three months after giving one week's notice. The depositor, or his agent or representative, must prove entitlement to the records or show suitable authorisation before deposited records may be withdrawn. The Council accepts no liability for loss or damage of records while they are withdrawn.

7.2 In the exceptional case that the depositor, as owner, decides to reclaim records six months notice must be given.

7.3 During the period of notice the Council will be entitled to copy the records and retain these copies as the property of the Council after the originals have been removed. The Council will continue to make the copies available to the public subject to any agreed restrictions in 1.1.

7.4 In the event of permanent withdrawal the Council reserves the right to claim reimbursement for the cost of cataloguing, administering and storing the records and any conservation/preservation work undertaken.

For further information, please contact Surrey History Centre.

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