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Collections Development Policy

by Imogen Smith | Our Policies

This is an overarching policy that governs all of Bishopsteignton Heritage’s general collecting practices and affects all archival and museum collecting, preservation, and access practices.

Last Board approval: Dec. 2019

This Policy


  • To ensure that the record held by Bishopsteignton Heritage (BH) accurately reflects history of the village in an organised and focused manner.
  • To maintain consistency in dealing with depositors, volunteers, archive users, partners and all other stakeholders.
  • To allow for the creation of an effective Collections Development Plan so that projects can be shaped around the collection in a cohesive way.


  • This policy does not address matters of preservation, access or partnerships.
  • This policy does not include detail on digital strategy or collection practices other than basic principles.
  • This policy does not cover the internal and administrative documents/records of Bishopsteignton Heritage.
  • This policy does explain what the BH collection will consist of following the full audit and cataloguing process.

Approval & Review

  • This policy is not intended to be permanent. The purposes of the BH Collections Development Policy above are intended to be permanent and should be the basis of any review and new version of the policy.
  • This policy and any changes made to it should be approved by the Bishopsteignton Heritage board of Trustees before being put into effect.
  • This policy must be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that the Bishopsteignton Heritage Trust heritage project remains sustainable and future-proof. Review and changes to this policy should be prompted by changes in the governance or finances of the Trust (or other changes that affect the capabilities of the heritage project e.g. Hub room conditions, volunteer time) OR when 1 year has elapsed from the last approval.
Bishopsteignton Heritage Archive Collection

Bishopsteignton Heritage Charitable Objects: To establish and maintain a heritage facility in Bishopsteignton, Devon, in order to advance the education of, and for the benefit of the community.

Bishopsteignton Heritage currently cares for a substantial mixed collection of around 4000 records in a range of formats. Nearly half of the collection is photographic and the remainder is a mix of printed and manuscript records, maps and plans, exhibition material, digital records and museum objects relating to the people, places, events and environment of Bishopsteignton. Some highlights of the collection are the First World War records and memorabilia of Philip Coombe who served in the 20th Canadian Battalion; a 1930s 1st Bishopsteignton Scouts uniform hat and shirt complete with badges and ribbons, and several Oral History interview recordings with local individuals such as Sheila Robbins. One notable collection is Molly Coombe’s family archive, an excellent record of life in Bishopsteignton and of Molly’s family in and around the village including architectural plans illustrating Philip Coombe’s work as a principle village builder. The collection also contains research from local historians of the recent past including Jenny Ridd and Nigel Walker.

While the collection housed and preserved at the Heritage Hub has, in the main part, been inherited from the former village Museum, Bishopsteignton Heritage also preserve a digital ‘Remote Collection’ of material belonging to external parties. Around 600 records make up the Remote Collection, an equally diverse mix of material with a similarly large proportion of photographs. Notable items include the large Football collection of photos, newspaper cuttings and ephemera loaned for digitisation by the long-standing Manager of Bishopsteignton United Football Club covering the successful club’s history from the 1980s to the 2000s. Other remote collection items of note are those recording notable local families over the last century such as the Dawes, Rentons and Daveys and those loaned during the School Reunion in November 2021 including many class and other childhood photographs spanning the 1940s-1960s. Combined, the permanent and Remote Collection form a rich and often poignant record of the story of Bishopsteignton reaching back into pre-history from vital agriculture to outstanding amateur dramatics.

Collecting Scope

What we collect

  • Donation/gift of archive material relevant to Bishopsteignton people, places, events & environments. BH only accept physical archive material for permanent preservation if there is no other option but to do so. Before accepting a donation of physical archive material, BH must consider the best possible option for the preservation of the material itself before anything else due to limited storage facilities. BH prioritise the digitisation of relevant archive material to ensure the accessibility of the archival record of the village. (See other Policies and Guides for further detail on acquisition practices)
  • Donation/gift of copies of original archive material (e.g.: photocopy) are considered, subject to the above conditions and if there is no possibility of acquiring the original itself or a digital version/surrogate/copy thereof.
  • Digital versions/surrogates/copies of archive material relevant to Bishopsteignton people, places, events & environments (See Digital Strategy and Digitisation Guidance documents for further detail on digital records)
  • Donation/gift of archive material that may not be directly relevant to Bishopsteignton people, places, events & environments but is seen by BH to give additional context or archival value to material already in the BH archive collection OR is useful as a tool for learning as part of a handling collection e.g. for school groups, Memory Café, etc.

What we do not collect

  • Material with reference to Bishopsteignton that is more relevant to/valuable for the collection of another archive/museum/collection such as Teign Heritage Centre, Newton Abbot Museum, etc.
  • Material for which preservation is the responsibility of another repository e.g. South West Heritage Trust.
  • Analogue material that cannot be effectively and efficiently preserved in perpetuity in the Bishopsteignton Heritage Hub without significant risk to itself or other material/staff/volunteers/visitors.
Appraisal & Disposal
  • Disposal of archive material can and should be carried out when material no longer adheres to any part of the ‘Scope’ section of this policy.
  • The disposal of archive material should be subject to best industry practices and guidance and approved by the BH Board of Trustees. Transfer to relevant archival repositories other than BH with superior facilities for preservation should be first consideration for the de-accessioning and disposal of archive material from the BH archive collection. Reference should be made to all other accompanying policies, plans and guidance documents before re-appraisal, de-accessioning and disposal of material from the BH archive collection.
  • When this policy is reviewed and edited, the BH archive collection itself should be audited, re-appraised and irrelevant material de-accessioned and disposed of in the most appropriate manner depending on the relevance and condition of individual records.
Glossary of Terms
  • Accession: 1. The process of transferring legal and physical control of archives from the creating agency or donor to the archival institution. 2. The archival materials that have been transferred to the archival institution as one unit at one time (e.g. Molly Coombe Accession).
  • Appraisal: The process of determining the retention period of records.
  • Archive material: Anything that is or contains a record
  • Conservation: Interventive, hands-on techniques applied to a physical item to achieve physical and chemical stability for the purpose of extending the useful life of archive material to ensure continued accessibility.
  • Disposal: Removing material from the archive collection (can mean transfer to another repository, can mean selling the material or destroying it).
  • Preservation: the overall management of collections to reduce deterioration, prevent damage and extend the useful life of archive material. This includes establishing and implementing policies and procedures to manage all aspects of collections care including: environmental control, packaging and storage, conservation treatment and emergency planning.
  • Record: Material in any form or medium (digital or physical, paper or artefact, etc.) that contains information, created or received and maintained, by an organization or person in the transaction of business or the conduct of affairs.