Here is a fascinating article about Bryan Donkin and the invention of the tin can:
If you are interested in the journals mentioned, you might like to know that the reference number for the series is D5029/1.
New help to view that small old-fashioned print:
We now have a flat-screen TV with Monomouse. Simply pass the Monomouse over the text, and it will display on the screen as large as you wish. We hope this will open up more of our resources to users with a visual impairment. The TV and mouse can be found in the Derbyshire Place Histories bookroom in the Local Studies Library; please ask staff if you'd like to use them.
Here’s a press release from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. You can access this invaluable resource for reliable biographical information by visiting
, with your Derbyshire Library card near at hand.
Two Derbyshire pioneers, who helped to shape British motoring in the twentieth century, are included in the latest update to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (www.oxforddnb.com), published on Thursday 30 May.
Creator of the Ferodo brand of friction products, the inventor Herbert Frood (1864-1931) of Chapel-en-le-Frith, began his experiments to improve braking power in the age of the horse. He noticed that even quite splendid horse-drawn carriages had shoddy and ineffective brakes. He discovered that woven cotton blocks made more effective brakes, and initially marketed them to horse omnibus companies. The emerging motor car industry gave his a new market – and a huge opportunity. The great turning point – in Frood’s own words – was his application of asbestos, with its resistance to heat and fire, and by 1914 Frood was the leading maker of friction products. He registered the Ferodo brand in 1920 and opened a purpose-built factory in Chapel-en-le-Frith in 1925. Author Dr Peter Bartrip of Oxford University, who has researched the Ferodo archive in Derbyshire Record Office, writes that Frood’s ‘great achievement was to create an entirely new industry and turn it into a large and successful multinational business’.
Dr Bartrip has also researched the life of Derby-born racer Reg Parnell (1911-1964), a driver for the family haulage business even before he was old enough to hold a licence. The opening of the Donington Park circuit in 1931 sparked the young Reg Parnell’s enthusiasm for motor racing. From 1935 he was a regular on the circuit. The Second World War interrupted his racing career but in 1946 he returned to motorsport, winning the gold star of the British Racing Drivers’ Club in 1947 and 1948. This was a lean time for British racing, but Reg kept the flag flying with a third place finish in the inaugural grand prix at Silverstone in 1950. Major success came when he managed the Aston Martin team from 1957 to 1960. The team won at Le Mans in 1959. Dr Bartrip writes that Parnell ‘could prepare a car meticulously and was an astute judge of a driver, identifying the potential of such talented prospects as John Surtees, Chris Amon, and Mike Hailwood’. Reg bought a pig farm at Findern, Derbyshire and every Christmas gave members of the Aston Martin team cuts of pork from his farm.
Frood and Parnell are among over 60 pioneers of British motoring included in the latest update to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ranging from the founder of the Aston Martin firm to the racer and team manager Bruce McLaren.
Our colleague Anna Rhodes, Assistant Collections Officer at Buxton Museum, is currently undertaking a 4 week research fellowship at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut. The fellowship was open to curators working in regional museums in the UK who work with British art collections, and as the successful candidate Anna has been looking at 18th and early 19th century topographical views of Derbyshire, at amateur sketchbooks and travel journals. This research will add context to the collections at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and provide a better insight into artists and tourists that visited the County during the Enlightenment period.
Keep up to date with Anna’s work via the Enlightenment! project blog.
Enlightenment! is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Collecting Cultures’ initiative, and is a partnership between three museums: Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Belper North Mill and Derby Museums and Art Gallery.
From the Derbyshire Times, 30th April 1881:
A STRUGGLE WITH A THIEF
On Monday noon an impudent till robbery was committed by a tramp, at the shop of Jabez H. Walker, grocer, Unstone. Whilst Mr Walker was at dinner the tramp entered the shop without ringing the door bell, and took from the till its contents, amounting to £1 6s. 6d. But on going out of the shop he accidentally rang the bell, and Mr Walker entered the shop as he was going out at the door. He was asked what he wanted, and replied half an ounce of tobacco. This was supplied, for which he tendered sixpence in payment and Mr Walker going to the till for change discovered the robbery, which he charged the prisoner with committing.
The prisoner went away to the Fleur de Lis Inn, where he was followed by Mr Walker. He acknowledged taking the money, which he gave to Mr Walker, but on being informed that he would not be allowed to leave the place he took out a large clasp knife, and made a violent attempt to force his way out of the room. The door of the room was, however, secured, and finding his escape cut off, he attempted, after doing some damage in the room, to jump through the window, one or two of the panes of which he first destroyed. Whilst attempting to jump out, a man on the road threw a cinder, which struck him on the head, knocking him down insensible. He was then secured, his hands being tied with a rope, until the arrival of Inspector Spencer, of Dronfield, who took him to the Dronfield Police Station. He gave the name of George Jones, but refused to give his address.
He had an accomplice, who stood outside Mr Walker’s shop at the time Jones went in and committed the robbery, and who it is said went to the Fleur de Lis Inn and asked to be admitted to the room where Jones had been secured. Inspector Spencer, with praiseworthy promptitude, went in search for him, and ultimately apprehended him in Dronfield. He gave the name of Jack Curtis, said he was an Irishman, but refused to say where he hailed from. On being searched a large knife with long blade and sharp point, similar to the one taken from Jones, was found upon him. He professed to have no knowledge of Jones.
We hold the Derbyshire Times on microfilm; Chesterfield edition from 1854, all editions from 1963 – just ring to book a microfilm reader.
Did anyone see “The Century That Wrote Itself”? It is still available on the iPlayer until 10pm on Wednesday:
I thought it was very good, and not just because they used some of “our” stuff. But, if you only have a couple of minutes… You could zoom straight ahead to the 43-minute mark, and see Adam Nicolson and Robyn Adams looking at the Soresby family’s copy of a writing manual by John de Beau Chesne (D331/26/1). Leonard Wheatcroft follows shortly thereafter.
On Wednesday 10th April (that’s tomorrow, always assuming you are reading this today), BBC4 will be showing the first of three episodes of what promises to be a fascinating programme. Click this link for a preview, which includes the Leonard Wheatcroft pub quiz:
Leonard Wheatcroft, you will recall, was the Ashover parish clerk. He and his son Titus are well remembered for their contributions to a vibrant local literary scene – well-documented contributions, which remain in our care. Do tune in.
And now, the last of my three suggested uses for the Burney collection. It is this: you could use it to find examples of the variety of social conditions in your area. If your area is Swadlincote – and even if it isn’t - you might be interested in this article from the Whitehall Evening Post (London) dated February 1790:
Not happy reading – although, then as now, we might wonder whether press reports are wholly accurate all of the time. The article does not give the name of the purchaser or the purchased, the vendor or the absconding husband. Or perhaps it is intended as satire? Let us know what you think. Anyway, if you want to use the Burney collection, grab your Derbyshire library card and head to:
A date for your diary: on May 15, Long Eaton Library will be hosting a Local and Family History Day. Our conservator, Lien, will be there to offer individual advice on caring for your documents and photographs. And our colleagues from www.picturethepast.org.uk will be along as well.
We had our official re-opening on the 19th of March. Here is a report on the occasion by one of our guests, Andrew Bailey, who is chairman of the Chaddesden Historical Group. For more about the group, see www.chaddesdenhistoricalgroup.co.uk.
On Tuesday 19th March 2013 three members of The Chaddesden Historical Group had the pleasure of attending the opening ceremony of the recently completed Derbyshire Record Office. This excellent facility now combines art storage space alongside the County Local Studies Library as well as a comprehensive Record Office.
The opening of this £4 million facility was performed by John Beckett, Professor of English Regional History at Nottingham University accompanied by Councillor Andrew Lewer, Leader of Derbyshire County Council which funded the project.
During the afternoon we were given the opportunity to see the much improved visitor facilities including a sandwich and coffee room and some of the more interesting treasures in the collection which included a map of Breaston dating from 1722 and a rather gruesome medical tome guaranteed to put you off the excellent buffet.
The most memorable contribution undoubtedly came from the Derbyshire Poet Laureate Matt Black who read his new poem entitled, ‘Somewhere in this building’ to a most appreciative audience. Matt was kind enough to give me permission to reproduce this poem here which was inspired by a rather difficult to spot feature on the 1722 Breaston map, a ladder propped up against an apple tree.
Somewhere in this building
on an old map, a ladder climbs quietly
into the arms of an apple-tree.
Once a man stood on that ladder. Where is he?
I want to know him, he comes from Then
but must still live Here, among these records,
frayed books and letters writ in gooSe quill.
Somewhere in this building you might find
his mother, rummaging through last month’s bills.
We’re all here, amongst the litter of our lives,
our marks, traces, footprints on these shelves,
like a new layer in a town of strata
where sea-lily feathers once washed the lagoon.
He is our data, our DNA, on yellow paper.
Somewhere in this building, he is real,
he walks the fields, you can find his children.
I can almost smell him, that hot afternoon,
four centuries back, on the Breaston breeze,
golden scent-of-earth in apple-sun.
Matt Black Matt Black © 2013
This poem encompasses everything that the DRO stands for and along with Rita and Mary I enjoyed a memorable afternoon that also gave us all the opportunity to say hello to some old friends.