User Advisory Group delegates

User Advisory Group (UAG) delegates represent different sections of our user community, not just their own interests.

As well as attending UAG meetings, each delegate has a responsibility to cascade the details of the meetings to members of their user community and gather feedback from them.

You can find further details on the UAG in our terms of reference (PDF, 0.14MB).

Academic users

Dr Martin Farrmartin-farr-350 is Senior Lecturer in History at Newcastle University. His teaching and supervision cover all aspects of British history since 1914; his recent publications include articles on the 1918 general election, the politics of strategic bombing between 1940-1945 and package holidays in the 1970s. He is currently working on a book entitled ‘Margaret Thatcher’s world’; articles on the deaths of Hugh Gaitskell and John Smith; the film version of ‘Oh! What a lovely war’ and is contributing to a textbook called ‘Britain and the world, 1603-2015’. He has worked at The National Archives in a variety of roles – including as a student, temporary member of staff, academic and speaker – for 20 years.

geoff-monks-(1)-210Dr Geoff Monks has worked in the property, hospitality and medical sectors. Formally, he holds DipHSW, BA, BSc, MA and PhD, the major precipitations of which are politics, economics and management. His current interest is the analysis of market distortions in the pharmaceutical industry – upon which a major piece of research has been undertaken. His other formal interest is in the analysis of land management, to which there is a book publication pending. He has worked extensively within a wide range of archives, both private and national, yielding wide ranging experience of the difficulties and pleasures of working with both digital and handwritten materials.

Early academic career researchers

d-c-shiels-(1)210Dr David Shiels is a College Research Associate at Wolfson College, Cambridge. He has a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge, where he also studied for his BA and MPhil. David’s interests include contemporary British political history and biography, and Anglo-Irish relations in the late 20th century. At The National Archives, he researches government papers from the 1980s and is particularly interested in the latest state paper releases. David is currently working on his first book.

County/external archives

carol-beardmore-(1)210Dr Carol Beardmore‘s active research interests include land agents, the rural community and English local history – which she studied at the University of Leicester. This necessitates spending time in external and county archives and provides an understanding of both the joys and difficulties associated with working on diverse local sources in different parts of the country. She is currently working on her first solo authored book and co-editing a book on the land agent past, present and future.

Awaiting details of new delegate

Equality and diversity

howard-llewellyn-(1)210Howard Llewellyn has been a gay activist since the 1970s, setting up various Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) groups. He has been a long-term member of the National Union of Teachers’ LGBT committee and one of the founders and former chairperson of the Wales Trades Union Congress (TUC) LGBT committee. For several years, he has been occupied with editing the series of Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) wills relating to Glamorgan. He has visited The National Archives several times to make copies of these documents and to become more familiar with the various classes of PCC records.

nigel-browne-davies-(1)210Nigel Browne-Davies is a historian specialising in the study of coastal elites in the former British West African colonies during the 19th and early 20th centuries. His articles have been published in academic journals and magazines including the Journal of Sierra Leone Studies, Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana, and Black History Month Magazine. Browne-Davies, a History graduate of Queen Mary University of London, is a member of the Royal Historical Society and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Sierra Leone Studies.

Dr Sophie KayDr Sophie Kay’s professional background is in interdisciplinary cancer research and she holds a DPhil in Systems Biology from the University of Oxford. She has close ties to the open science and open knowledge communities, originally as a Panton Fellow with the Open Knowledge Foundation and, since 2012, as Director of the Open Science Training Initiative.

Sophie’s interaction with The National Archives primarily involves family history research, using documents ranging from death duty registers in IR26, to J77 divorce papers, PCC wills and military records.

Will ReidWill worked with Libraries and archives in Newcastle and Liverpool. He has also worked recently with the Willy Russell Archive, the Unity Theatre and the Metropolitan Cathedral at 50 projects. He’s currently company secretary of the George Garrett Archive Project.

He has spoken at a range of events in the UK and beyond on these and others and is an advocate of improving civic engagement with archives.

Independent researchers

jacquikirk-(1)210Jacqui Kirk is a professional genealogist based in Leamington Spa researching primarily family, local, military and naval history in archives in the Midlands and London. A member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, she is also the founder/coordinator of the Trinity Family History Group in Leamington and an active member of a number of other family and local history groups. She volunteers in her local library as Leamington Library’s Genealogy Genie one morning a month offering free family history research advice both to keep her on her toes and in touch with the problems experienced while researching online.

Second post currently vacant.

Map Room users

kristina-bedford-(1)210As a professional researcher and writer specialising in Medieval and Renaissance records, Kristina Bedford is a frequent visitor to The National Archives. She primarily works in the Map and Large Document Room, and uses the catalogue daily to research via its item descriptions. She is a member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, and numerous genealogy and history societies. Kristina has a keen interest in early English drama and theatre history.

Adam-Chambers-TNA-UAG-pictureAdam Chambers is a part-time PhD student at King’s College London working on the chancery of King Henry III of England. He uses the Map and Large Document Reading Room to study the chancery rolls and the Invigilation Room to study thirteen-century engrossments. Adam usually visits The National Archives on Saturdays.

Contact Adam about the Map Room.

Online users

New delegate to join in December 2017

Online family historians

Camilla von Massenbach is one of the founders of the FreeBMD project (now under the umbrella of Free UK Genealogy, where she chairs the board of trustees). FreeBMD was quite possibly the first crowdsourced project in the world. She is also an active family historian with an extensive family tree, including well over twenty generations in some lines. She is passionate about public access to and appropriate licensing of public records, accurate transcription of primary sources and the ability to do meaningful research online.

On site personal interest

anne-samson-(1)210An independent historian of British-South African relations, Dr Anne Samson specialises in the First World War in Africa. She uses diverse archives in both the UK and South Africa, with the holdings at The National Archives forming the basis of her research since 1998. She coordinates the international online Great War in Africa Association, which enables her to have an understanding of the wider challenges facing specialist researchers accessing archival holdings in another country.

Second post currently vacant.

Student users

Awaiting details of new delegate.

Family history societies

SDC16500---francis-howcuttFrancis Howcutt is Vice Chairman of the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) and has frequented The National Archives for over 40 years. His publications include articles for family history journals and copy for the FFHS website, which he is currently redesigning. Having indexed the 1674 hearth tax for Northamptonshire, he is working on probate records in that area. He has participated in consultations on the 2021 census and marketing civil registration records. Francis is an active speaker on family history topics and runs the Howcutt & Howcott family history website (, which showcases the heritage of people across the World who share his surname.