Barker catalogue now searchable online

(Not in my opinion), but arguably Derbyshire Record Office did not exist in 1957 when Major Barker deposited his family archives at what was then the Department of Local History and Archives in Sheffield Central Library (now Sheffield Archives). Along with a number of other Derbyshire collections that had been deposited there, these records were … Continue reading Barker catalogue now searchable online

Limestone Quarry, Derbyshire

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

The earliest picture of quarrying in Derbyshire?

In February the museum bought a small eighteenth-century watercolour from Chiswick Auctions in London. We don’t know who painted it or when, and its title, ‘Limestone Quarry, Derbyshire’ is somewhat ambiguous.

It is however, the earliest picture of limestone quarrying that the museum owns. It is perhaps the earliest picture of Derbyshire quarrying in existence.

Limestone quarry, Derbyshire. Unknown artist, late 1700s

Limestone quarrying was, and still is, an important industry for Derbyshire and the landscape is littered with the remains of old quarries. Although ubiquitous across the county, quarries very rarely make it into early topographical views of the area. The watercolour shows quarry workers, complete with pick-axes, chiselling away at the cliff face on the right hand side. In the centre, smoke can be seen billowing from a small lime kiln.

Detail from Limestone Quarry, Derbyshire

In the eighteenth-century artists had…

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A Coal Miner in the Home Guard

If you’ve been following some of the Mining the Seams Project posts, you’ll remember that I’ve been researching and writing miners biographies based on compensation forms in our National Coal Board collection, alongside using birth, marriage and death records and newspaper articles. Whilst doing this, I recently found an interesting story about Norman Reynolds, a … Continue reading A Coal Miner in the Home Guard

Celebrating 150 years of Buxton’s Own Crystal Palace: The Pavilion

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Derbyshire Museums Manager Ros Westwood contributes to the anniversary of a well-known and celebrated part of Buxton. There is currently a display in Buxton Museum and Art Gallery’s foyer to accompany the commemoration.Plan your visit here.

Engraving. Collection of BMAG

In 1870, the 7th Duke of Devonshire gifted 15 acres of the Old Hall Hotel’s gardens to Buxton, to create the Pavilion Gardens. The gardens were landscaped with well-maintained walks and fountains.

But there was one condition. For years the Duke had paid for the band which entertained the people promenading there. He required the people of Buxton raised the funds to build a ‘Winter Gardens’ where, under cover and throughout the year, people could enjoy a regular programme of musical entertainment, paid for by ticket sales. He reasoned that if the musical entertainment was good, people would return and enjoy the gardens and pavilions as well.


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Our missing nightwatchmen have come home!

Thanks to your incredible generosity our joint crowdfunding project with Belper Historical Society was successful and we’ve been able to buy this amazing nightwatchmen’s report book. Local historian Adrian Farmer visited the Record Office to see it for himself: As we exceeded our target we will be spending the extra money on creating a … Continue reading Our missing nightwatchmen have come home!

The Mysterious Disappearance of Thomas Severn, the Undermanager at Mapperley Colliery

Thomas Severn was an experienced miner, working as a deputy at both Clifton and Stanley Collieries before moving to work as an Undermanager at Mapperley Colliery. He had been born in April 1875 on land owned by Swanwick Colliery as his father, Thomas Senior, had been a manager there. Thomas Junior had mining in the … Continue reading The Mysterious Disappearance of Thomas Severn, the Undermanager at Mapperley Colliery

Mining the Seams Update: Part of the National Coal Board Catalogue Goes Live

Throughout the Mining the Seams Project, our main target has been to catalogue the coal mining documents we received from the National Coal Board (NCB), to ensure the public will be able to view them. When the project started in October 2019, it seemed like the target of the first half of the collection going … Continue reading Mining the Seams Update: Part of the National Coal Board Catalogue Goes Live

Bevin Boys in the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire Coal Field

During the Second World War, the coal industry faced an employment crisis in spite of coal being an in-demand fuel at the time. Despite mining being a reserved occupation, which exempted those working in it from military service, this only applied to men aged 30 or over. Many men took advantage of this and went … Continue reading Bevin Boys in the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire Coal Field