Manorial Records talk update

A number of people have indicated that they were be able to attend the talk on Wednesday 9th July but have expressed an interest in obtaining notes about it. I am hoping that I will be able to put an edited version of the talk on our website, possibly with images of some of the manorial records I have chosen. This is likely to be a much less rambling and more coherent account than the actual talk given, so people who weren’t able to make it will probably have the better of the bargain.

I will be writing it up properly over the next few weeks, and once it gets past the censors, it will hopefully appear some time next month. Watch this space, as they say.

Neil Bettridge

Manorial Documents Register Project Officer for Derbyshire

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What do you think of our catalogue?

Hello everyone,

It’s been 18 weeks since we installed the new version of our catalogue.  That isn’t traditionally regarded as a significant anniversary, I know, but it’s probably long enough to allow for reflection on progress to date.  We would love to hear your opinions.  Is the new catalogue better than its predecessor?  What do you like about it, and what would you like to see changed?

  • Have you tried looking at some of the images that have been added to the catalogue?

(If not, now’s your chance – follow this link:*)

  • Do you like being able to read the lists that aren’t yet in the database?

(If you haven’t had the need to do so, please give it a try:*fk)

  • What would you change if it was up to you?

Please let us know by any of the following channels:

  • Replying to this blog post
  • Filling in a comments form on your next visit
  • Sending an email to (subject line: FindersKeepers)
  • Collaring me (Mark) or one of my colleagues to offer your opinion in person

I can’t promise to be able to make all the changes that are asked for, but I will reply to any comment that needs a response.  There is every chance you will suggest something that is already in the pipeline – with a bit of time (that most precious commodity!) there are a lot of improvements to be made.




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Work experience at the Record office

This week I went to the record office for my year 10 work experience. I had an excellent time as it was extremely interesting and informative, and I learnt a lot. During my placement I took part in a range of activities such as , working in the search room , finding documents in the stores , using the microfilms , spending time in picture the past , cataloguing documents , working in the computer room and local studies library and my favourite activity of the week , working in conservation for a morning. Also I got to experience reception as well, although it wasn’t exactly planned….

Amongst all of these activities I also studied some maps of Matlock, some were recent and some were from over one hundred years ago. From these maps I wrote down about what things are still here now and what things have gone and changed and also what new things have been built and on a whole how Matlock has changed. I studied ordnance survey maps from 1880 , 1899 , 1922 , 1967 , 1981 , 1986 and 2006 and found that my house was built somewhere between 1880 and 1899 as it was not on the 1880 map but it was on the 1899 map so must have been built during those 19 years. I also found out that Matlock has changed a lot over the years and especially between the maps 1899 and 1922, although that is 21 years but in that time there was a lot of progress as a lido was built and there was a town hall and post office and more houses so we can see that after the first world war Matlock started to develop more and began to become more populated. One of the main things I noticed when I was looking at the maps was that although some of the buildings were there and they were used they had their name changed overtime for example, Castle view primary school was once known as Matlock County Junior mixed and infant school in in 1967 but of course now is now as Castle view primary.

I really had a great time and feel as if I have gained some useful skills or enhanced the skills I already had. I also feel like I got a real insight into the type of work as I was dealing with real documents and was sorting them out, not only physically but also electronically on the computer.

It was a fantastic week, I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!

Written by Charlotte Davies, work experience student

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Queen Elizabeth II visits Matlock

On 10th July 2014, Matlock was greeted with an old face which was a surprise to many as she hasn’t visited for around 2o years. So who could this old face be? Well only the Queen herself. Her Majesty arrived in Matlock on Thursday 10th July by train and is visiting Lea Mills and Chatsworth which reminds us very much of her visit back in 1968. On 10th May 1968 the Queen arrived by train into Matlock and was greeted by a huge crowd. She did a number of things on her visit such as, visiting World War one veterans, travelling over to Lea green centre and Lea Mills. Here at the record office we have a souvenir brochure from that day including a selection of photographs taken by the Matlock Mercury and many captions under the photographs which although not very exciting were certainly ironic as the last caption in the brochure which was under a picture of the Queen waving good bye was “Time to say farewell …. And will ye not come back again?” Well in answer to that question, yes she has and I’m sure Matlock will greet her with as much joy as they did back in 1968.

Posted by Charlotte Davies , work experience student

Extract from Souvenir brochure from 1968

Extract from Souvenir brochure from 1968


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Our week at the Record Office, by Emily and Harriet


Our names are Harriet and Emily and we completed our Year 10 work experience at the Derbyshire Record Office this summer. We have done so many different things that we never thought we’d have a chance to do and have enjoyed every minute of them!

We’ve had a go at everything that the Record Office has to offer, from cleaning documents this morning in Conservation to wheeling them to the massive storerooms. Continue reading

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New Digitisation Project – School Records

We are very pleased to be able to soon be having our school admission registers and log books digitised as part in a national project which will ultimately make the digital versions available via the Find My Past website.

D5545 3 1 p1

Cresswell Log Book, D5545/3/1

The project, organised by the Archives and Records Association on behalf of archive and record offices across the country, is specifically looking at school records from 1914 and earlier, and will continue over a ten-year period. We are quite fortunate that the school records here at Derbyshire will be amongst the first to be digitised. Continue reading

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rave review


I have just finished reading the enthralling “The Secret Rooms” by Catherine Bailey. She set out to write a history of the impact that the Great War (1914-18) had on the  Duke of Rutland’s estate at Belvoir in Leicestershire, but found herself drawn instead into a real life mystery concerning the forbidding locked rooms where the 9th Duke died in 1940, which had been kept closed ever since…

She discovered that three separate time-spans had been completely erased from the records in these rooms, the Muniment Rooms where the estate documents live, and had been deliberately deleted across all categories of records; the clear perpetrator must have been the Duke himself, who literally died in the attempt.

A real page turner ensues, with a child’s tragic death, swindled inheritances, and intrigues at the very top of the British World War One Command. The 9th Duke had not managed to completely destroy the trail, and Catherine Bailey was able to piece together most of the sad, dark story.

If you love archives and libraries (and you do, you are reading this), I highly recommend this gripping read, which dramatically highlights the importance of irreplaceable original documents and the amazing real life stories they illuminate.

Borrow it from your local library!

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Talk on Manorial Records 9 July

I am currently working on preparations for a talk I shall be giving at the Derbyshire Record Office on Manorial Records on the morning of Wednesday 9th July at 11 o’clock. The talk (which should last about an hour) will start with an outline of the history and development of manors, explaining what they actually were, how they operated and what people were to be found in them. I will then move on to show what types of manorial records there are, with illustrated examples of individual documents taken from the various collections held at the Derbyshire Record Office. Finally, I will explain the nature of the project I am working on (as a part of a nationwide project run by The National Archives), why the Manorial Documents Register exists, how to use it and what information will be found on it when it is all finished and available online. Well, that’s the plan, anyway.

The talk is priced at £3 (£2 for concessions). There are only a limited number of places available, so booking is essential. To book a place call us on 01629 538347 or email us at

Neil Bettridge

Manorial Documents Register Project Officer for Derbyshire

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Sue Band retires

Sue Band has retired from the Local Studies Library at Derbyshire Record Office. Her leaving party took the form of an old-fashioned fuddle, complete with home-made cakes. Sue has worked in Local Studies for twenty years. We will miss her dedication, friendliness, knowledge and willingness to go the extra mile. Best wishes in retirement, Sue.

Sue Band's retirement

Sue Band’s retirement

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Manorial Documents Exhibition

As Neil mentioned in his post from earlier today, our exhibition on Manorial Documents is now up and running in our reception area.  As with all our exhibitions it’s free, so do pop in and have a look - it will be on until Saturday 12 July 2014.


One half of the exhibition...

One half of the exhibition…

...and the other half.

…and the other half.


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