Head of Archive and Library – Historic England

                                 Head of Archive and Library – Historic England

Employment Type – Full time

Location- Hybrid · Swindon, UKwe offer hybrid working where you will be based from the office and at home.

Salary- £59,000 – £62,000 (GBP)plus generous benefits

Team- Communications and Public Engagement – Archive and Library

Closing: 9:00am, 21st Nov 2023 GMT

About us

Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy, and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment.

Ideally placed for their next strategic phase, Historic England seeks an exceptional Head of Archive and Library, who will act as chief custodian for this unique collection of England’s varied and rich heritage.

Who we are

Historic England’s archive and library is the nation’s archive of England’s historic environment. It is a national collection with nearly 15 million items, mostly photography and documents; including nationally important collections covering aerial, archaeology, architecture, social and local history.

An accredited archive and a recognised place of deposit, the collection continues to grow documenting lives and places past, to ensure their preservation for now, and for generations to come.

Historic England’s archive has an important role in telling the story of England; its shared memories, lived histories, and diverse cultural identities. They conserve, save, and safeguard, as well as share, collect, and generate income.

About the role

Historic England has a fantastic and rare opportunity for someone to join them as their next Head of Archive and Library.  As an inspiring leader and preserver of the collection, you will lead, influence and manage a team of 40 experts.  As the Head of Archive and Library at Historic England, you will be responsible for shaping the way they collect, manage, conserve, and make available archive assets in line with Historic England’s strategic objectives and priorities.  Additionally, you will ensure that they share their collections – both physical and digital – in accessible, inspiring, and engaging ways and that their collections are increasingly inclusive, diverse, and truly representative.

You will be responsible for the development of the growing archive of born-digital material, focusing on working in close collaboration with the Head of Digital Engagement to develop an integrated ecosystem that ensures our collections are held in the most cost-effective way and accessible to the widest possible audience.

Who are we looking for?

As an entrepreneurial leader who is connected to their work in the archive heritage sector, you will identify and capitalise on opportunities to generate income from our collections (philanthropy, partnerships, research, licensing, for example) while ensuring free and open access for our audiences wherever possible.

Leading the archive and library strategy which currently runs to 2025, you will play a key part in ensuring it meets its objectives of being more open, more digital, and more engaging.  Forward-thinking and considered in your approach, you will develop and lead the archive and library strategy refresh from 2025, delivering results to achieve an archive fit for the future.

As head of the team, you will manage and motivate archive and library teams, role modelling the Historic England behaviours, and developing the team culture and skills required to deliver the future strategies of the organisation. Working in collaboration with the Head of Digital Engagement, you will devise and deliver an integrated digital asset management strategy for Historic England’s archive collections, connected with its corporate digital strategy.

Historic England’s next Head of Archive and Library will play a valuable role in being an active member of the public engagement leadership team, including delivering on Historic England’s strategic pillars of active participation and connected communities. You will be comfortable and confident in participating and leading conversation in national, group, and cross-group projects that support Historic England’s corporate priorities and ensures that the archive is integrated as part of the public engagement group.

As the ambassador for the archive and library, you will be responsible for cultivating relevant networks and engaging with internal and external stakeholders, partners, and peer organisations, so that Historic England has a strong external profile and participates in appropriate partnerships and projects.

As the leader of this vital and central team, you will ensure the archive team has the expertise to provide advice and guidance on collections and access to external users and colleagues across Historic England.

You will ensure that the archive has appropriate policies, procedures storage requirements, and technical skills to effectively manage the collection and its data.

Ensuring excellent customer service and a smooth customer journey, the next Head of Archive will be responsible for delivering and developing an integrated digital ecosystem for the archive, including digital curation, rights management, retrievability, preservation, and delivery. You will work with colleagues to develop Historic England’s online presence, including archive content — so that engaging content is easy to discover and use.

Working in partnership with your colleagues across Historic England, you will work together to identify and develop external funding and philanthropic opportunities so that more of the archive collections can be preserved and made available.

As the next Head of Archive and Library, you will measure and report on your department’s performance, be comfortable and conversant with best practice from the archive sector, and will be seen as the market leader in this regard, working to ensure that Historic England achieves and exceeds any industry recognised standards.

Part of your role will include managing your team to ensure legal obligations and expectations as set out in the policy are met.

These include:

  • health and safety
  • equality and diversity
  • finance
  • procurement
  • information security
  • managing people

Assured and aware, you will be an exemplar of Historic England’s values and behaviours and will work flexibly to cover strategic issues arising from changing national organisation and group priorities.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • an archive qualification and/or extensive experience of working with archives or collections
  • experience in leading multi-disciplinary large teams, including technical and specialist teams, in a relevant context or discipline
  • the ability to lead and develop a professional service at a strategic level, ensuring alignment with corporate priorities
  • experience increasing engagement and diversifying audience reach
  • project and change management experience


You can view the full Job Description here:


Click here to go to the Peridot Partners website, where you can find full details of the candidate profile and register your interest to apply:

Applications for this role close at 9 a.m. Tuesday 21st November 2023.

Please note you are not required to complete the Applied recruitment online application details.

We are an equal opportunity employer which values diversity and inclusion. If you have a disability or neurodiversity, we would be happy to discuss reasonable adjustments to the job with you. Having just won the Gold Award from MIND, we also recognise the importance of a healthy work-life balance.

We are an inclusive employer and believe that flexible working options are for everyone. We want to make sure our working arrangements don’t prevent anyone from joining us because of their personal circumstances. We also want to provide you with the best balance in your home and work life that we can.

We are open to considering options including job sharing, part-time working, compressed hours working and different working locations, including hybrid working. Please visit our jobs pages or contact us to find out more.

Why work for Historic England

We offer a wide benefits package including a competitive pension scheme starting at 26% contributions, a generous 28 days holiday, corporate discounts, free entry into English Heritage sites across the country and development opportunities to ensure you achieve your goals.

We are committed to promoting equality of opportunity for everyone. Diversity helps us to perform better and attract more people to support our work. We welcome and encourage job applications from people of all backgrounds.

We particularly encourage applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates and candidates with disabilities as they are underrepresented within Historic England at this level.

First stage interviews will be held: Tuesday 28th November 2023 and Wednesday 29th November 2023 (virtual)

Final stage interviews will be held: Monday 11th December 2023 (in person)

To ensure a fair and inclusive recruitment process for everyone the use of AI or automated tools is not permitted.


Responsible to: Communications and Public Engagement – Archive and Library

Location: Hybrid and Swindon

Salary: £59,000 – £62,000 (GBP)plus generous benefits

Closing date: 9:00am, 21st Nov 2023 GMT