A day out at the Palace (Hotel)


On Sunday 20th September Becky and I attended the Buxton U3A Family History Conference at The Palace Hotel in Buxton.  Over 200 budding family historians attended the event.  We were just one of many exhibitors, being joined by family history societies from neighbouring counties.

We were particularly interested to see so many ‘out of county’ people there, those who lived outside of Derbyshire but had links to the county through their family history.

It was the second time we have attended the annual conference and it was a great day.  We enjoyed talking to everyone about their research and about what they could find at the record office.   From the positive response we received we know we shall see many people again when they visit the office to use our resources.

“I’ve been to Matlock, its tremendous what you have, its fantastic” (member of the public)

“If you don’t use Derbyshire Record Office, you should!” (speaker during talk on Non Conformist records)

For information on Buxton U3A see their website http://www.u3asites.org.uk/buxton

Absent voters list for Ilkeston in 1918 now online

Hello everyone.  I have just this minute updated the catalogue with copies of the absent voters list for the parliamentary constituency of Ilkeston in 1918.  The names you can find inside are those of people who were still enrolled in the armed forces at the end of the war. You can find all three absent voters lists on our catalogue – the others cover Western Derbyshire and Chesterfield.  Click on the one you want to use, and this should open up a catalogue entry with sections of the volume shown as downloadable pdf files.  And that’s it!  No other absent voters lists survive, as far as we know.  (Please let us know if you have heard different.)

Treasure 29: Bryan Donkin’s day book

This treasure has been nominated by Maureen Greenland, on behalf of the Bryan Donkin Archive Trust, of which she is Secretary.  Maureen writes:

The many letters, diaries and records held in the Donkin Collection (D1851) throw light on both the personal and the working life of the brilliant engineer Bryan Donkin. Born in 1768, he started his career in London in the early years of the nineteenth century, bringing to perfection the first successful machine for producing paper. His firm moved to Chesterfield a century later, providing work for the town from 1902 for over a hundred years. Continue reading

Preservation volunteers are go!

Back in May I mentioned that we were looking for preservation volunteers to help us clean and package the Calke Abbey archive – I’m happy to report that we now have two very dedicated volunteers who come in every Thursday afternoon.


Our volunteers in action

Our volunteers in action

Linda recently retired and was looking for a volunteering opportunity that would suit her interests, when Derby Local Studies Library suggested us. The fact that our current project deals with the archive of Calke Abbey is an added bonus for her, as she lives near the house and knows it well. Jennifer joined in order to learn new skills and because she has a passion for history and genealogy; she’s very pleased she can now help preserve the past.

We’re extremely grateful to both for all the work they’ve already done and will do in the months (even years!) to come. As you can see, there’s enough room for two more volunteers to join the project, so if you think this is something you might be interested in, you can find more details here.


Women Workers and the Trade Unions

Talk poster

Derbyshire Record Office will shortly be starting a two year project to catalogue the archive of a major local trade union.  If you’re interested in trade unions and/or women workers, then head to the Nottingham Mechanics Institute on Saturday 3 October at 2pm for what looks like a fascinating talk.  And watch this space for more news about our upcoming project – we’ll be giving out more information in the next couple of months…

Introducing the record office at Chesterfield Museum

Ever wondered what the archive and local studies staff get up to at Derbyshire Record Office but can’t make it over to Matlock to find out?…..Then pop along to Chesterfield Museum this Thursday for our talk Introduction to the Record Office.  I’ll be there to talk about the work we do at the record office, the collections we hold and the services we provide.

The talk starts at 11.30am.  To book a place contact Chesterfield Museum.  I hope to see you there.


Tel: 01246 345345

50 Treasures: Over to you…

Mark Smith:

I just thought I would re-blog this post from June. We would still like to hear any suggestions you may have for Treasures 29 through to 50!

Originally posted on Derbyshire Record Office:

We are half-way through our tour through Derbyshire Record Office’s 50 Treasures, which we started publicising in 2012, to mark our fiftieth anniversary.  Treasures 24 and 25 have been selected by a former staff member and a researcher respectively, and we would like to take this opportunity to appeal for suggestions from other people who either use Derbyshire Record Office (in person or from afar) or used to work here.  Is there any document in our local studies or archives collections that particularly stands out for you?  The item you choose could be a “treasure” because of something intrinsic to the document itself – its appearance, its content, the themes it covers; or it could be precious to you because of your experience of it – something that would be invisible to others, perhaps some startling discovery that you made with it.  Or perhaps you are the person/organisation that gave us your nominate…

View original 66 more words

Volunteering at Derbyshire Record Office, Summer 2015

A lowly university student, panic-stricken and preceding her third and final year of studying Archaeology and Ancient Civilizations, it suddenly dawned on me… I need to decide what I want to do with my life!


The summer was fast approaching and I knew it would be the best (and last) real opportunity I would have to fully commit myself to work experience before having to decide which career path I would like to follow. I’ve always thought of working in the heritage sector, as history and learning are my passion and also the basis of my degree. In addition, I’m also extremely interested in local history, as I’ve grown up with parents who encouraged and fuelled this interest. Therefore, when searching through the options available, I came across Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock. I’ve always been interested in archives but, to be completely honest, was not too sure what it really meant to be an ‘archivist’. However, I was curious and intrigued to find out.

I got in touch with the Record Office and was put forward to Paul Beattie. We communicated via email and phone and he helped me to plan my volunteering around university and my part-time job. The Record Office were extremely flexible and helpful when it came to actually planning the time in which I could volunteer, basically leaving it to my discretion, which was tremendously accommodating for somebody like myself with such a busy schedule.

While volunteering, I was able to experience all areas available at the Record Office, including; the archives, local studies and conservation. I worked with various members of staff, all who were incredibly friendly, helpful and skilled at their jobs. I was able to experience: box-listing, cataloguing using archival software CALM, using microfilms, heat-set repair techniques on documents and many more equally exciting and new tasks. I received talks by different departments on; record keeping, conservation, archival projects, microfilm, special archives and more. I was also even lucky enough to view a few of the wonders of the archive – my personal favourite being Beatrix Potter’s grandad’s fabric books, which are breathtakingly beautiful and well preserved. While I was there, I was given the opportunity to delve into every area available and spend time where I enjoyed the most – this, in particular, really made my time spent at the Record Office, worthwhile and irreplaceable, as it accommodated my interests but also allowed me to explore other areas I had not considered before.

My time spent volunteering at Derbyshire Record Office has been both memorable and invaluable. I was welcomed warmly by all staff, given interesting and exciting tasks to complete that were accustomed to my own interests, and I was made to feel instantly ‘at home’. The people I met were highly skilled professionals who are accomplished at their jobs and more than willing to teach volunteers valuable skills that they can take away from the experience. They were also kind enough to answer my persistent questions about career opportunities and pathways and even gave me information and sources to look further into. I am immensely grateful to everybody at DRO for offering me their time and wisdom this summer. I know that my time spent volunteering has definitely helped bring clarity to my mind over the path to reaching my desired career. Thank you so much.

Kerry Edwards