Record attendance at a recent open evening at Cumbria County Council’s Whitehaven Archive Centre has prompted organisers to arrange more of the same.

An introduction to family history evening proved so popular last month at the Scotch Street venue that there will be another held in April.

Nearly 60 visitors came through the doors at Whitehaven Archive and Local Studies Centre for the regular third Tuesday open evening to examine church records, local newspapers, shipping crew lists and workhouse records among other rarely seen documents.

“It seems this has struck a chord with a lot of people,” said Catherine Clark, Copeland's Community Services Manager. “Maybe some people were embarking on a new project for the New Year, or maybe some people hadn’t been able to get all they needed from the family history websites, but whatever the reason, it was exciting to see so many people here.”

The evening proved so popular that Catherine and her team have decided to make it a quarterly feature of the regular Discovery Evening calendar. The next one will be held on Tuesday, April 21.

“The Discovery Evening is always held on the third Tuesday of each month and we open the doors at 7pm,” said Catherine. “Who knows, maybe we will be able to help someone unlock a mystery to help them forward with their research.”

But however popular the family history taster events proved to be, it might just pale into insignificance on February 18 when the theme is pubs, hotels and all types of licenced premises in west Cumbria.

A recent post on Whitehaven Library’s Facebook page commemorating the anniversary of the fire in late January 1940 which destroyed Whitehaven’s Grand Hotel was read by nearly 3,000 people – proving to be one of the Archive Centre’s most popular ever posts.

“There seemed to be such a great deal of interest in the Grand Hotel that we will make sure to display as many items as we can related to the Hotel,” said Robert Baxter, Senior Archivist. “We were delighted to see so many people taking the time to click onto the post to read it.”