Friday was spent, very successfully, investigating the collections of the Woodhorn archives in Ashington.
The archive houses the earliest correspondence (dated to 1908!) regarding the possible purchase of land for an artillery range and associated camp at Redesdale.
I also found several maps showing its WWI extent and proposed expansions for WWII and beyond.
The highlight of the day was the photographic archives of a former Lt.-Col. commander who was based at Otterburn from 1971 to 1991.
These photo albums are an amazing trove of evidence for military management of archaeological features – there is an entire series of photographs charting the progress of removing derelict target hulks from the Ranges in 1988. The charming “incidents” file with its catalogue of Things That Can Go Wrong On A Training Estate – bogged vehicles, soldiers damaging stone tents during improvised barbeques, training rounds going astray – made for fun reading.
Whilst not all of it was strictly relevant to my research questions it gave me a better feel for the creation of the Ranges as a historical entity.
Not a bad way to spend a Snow Day.