History of You

In preparation for the History of You craft activities we are holding across the county over the school holidays, Henrietta, age 5 and Rebecca, age 8 have enthusiastically tested our craft materials and made their own family trees and crests

      “My family tree”

      Henrietta, age 5

“My coat of arms”, Rebecca, age 8

Rebecca says: “Red guitar in the middle, with bicycle wheel in the middle of the guitar. Next to the red guitar, two eyes, and smile in the bottom. The coat of arms is in the design of sun. I really enjoyed designing the coat of arms”





More family trees from our willing guinea pigs, i.e. children of the staff


Family trees by


and William

Forthcoming Summer Reading Challenge Events

As part of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge the record office is delivering craft and creative writing sessions for children at libraries throughout Derbyshire.

History of You

Get hands on and create your own family tree or design your very own family crest. Bring along photographs of you and your family to place on your tree!

Florence and the Pumpkins

A creative writing session where you can use Victorian photographs to inspire stories and letters or draw a story board to illustrate your tale.

Events are free but booking is essential; please see our events page to find out where the activities are and contact the library concerned to book a place.

Find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge

Derby Olympian: Horace Bailey (1881-1960)

Horace Bailey

With the Olympic football tournament having already kicked off around Britain, we look back at Derby’s gold medal-winning goalkeeper from the first time London hosted the Games.

Horace Peter Bailey was born in Derby on 3rd July 1881 to Peter Bailey, an iron and brass moulder/iron foundry foreman, and his wife Sarah.  By 1891 the family had moved to 36 Dairy House Road where they lived for over twenty years.  Horace attended St James’ Church Boys School in Derby in the early 1890s.  That decade St James’ had footballing success in the Derbyshire Boys’ Junior Shield; having lost in the final in 1893, they won the competition in 1894 and 1895.  Horace wasn’t in the 1895 team (he had probably already started work) but I’d be interested to know if he was involved in previous years – I haven’t found much information so far.

After leaving school he was employed as a clerk with the railway whilst also playing football as an amateur.  He kept goal for Crich, Ripley Athletic and Leicester Imperial before joining Leicester Fosse (later Leicester City) in 1907, and in his first season there the club won promotion to the First Division.  Horace made his debut for the England Amateur football team in February 1908.  He also won five caps for the main England team that year, starting with a 7-1 win over Wales.  The other four games were played during their central European tour; the first internationals they ever played against countries other than home nations.

That summer London hosted the Olympic Games, stepping in at short notice for Rome, as the Italians had to divert their funds to cope with the aftermath of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.  It wasn’t until October however that the football tournament was held, and the England Amateur team (with Horace in goal) represented Great Britain.  Over the three matches he only conceded one goal: the team beat Sweden 12-1, the Netherlands 4-0, and Denmark 2-0 in the final to win gold.

The 1908 GB Olympic Football Team: Horace Bailey is on the back row, fifth from left

After making 68 appearances for Leicester Fosse, he came to the aid of injury-stricken Derby County for the last few games of the 1909-10 season.  The Rams were in the running for promotion to the First Division, but away to West Bromwich Albion they only drew 0-0, meaning they finished one point behind the league champions Manchester City and lost out on the second place promotion spot by goal difference.  From the Derby Mercury, 6 May 1910:

The hero of the match was the “Rams’” new amateur goalkeeper.  Despite serious injuries he kept his charge intact from frantic onslaughts.  True, the occasions when he was called upon were few, but once or twice he saved in magnificent style.  All praise to him for a thorough sportsman, his indomitable pluck served his new love well in the hour of danger.  And it meant much to him, for so seriously hurt was he that he has had to forego a trip to Copenhagen with an amateur team, a trip he had set his heart upon.

Horace joined Birmingham (later Birmingham City) in 1910 and finished his career there after making 50 appearances for them.  He was reserve goalkeeper in the Great Britain squad that won gold again at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, but didn’t get a game.  On 6th August 1913, Horace married Minnie Dorothy Smith, the daughter of a jeweller, at Hazelwood parish church.  During the First World War, he enlisted with the Royal Engineers 109th Railway Company, reaching the rank of corporal, and was posted to Italy.  Interestingly his army service record lists his height as 5ft 8¼, which was not very tall for a goalkeeper even back then.  Though after the war he moved to Bedfordshire, where he died on the 1st August 1960, his old school magazine reports that he kept “up his connection with (St James’) school through its Old Boys’ Association”.


Derby Mercury, 18 Mar 1896

Derby Mercury, 6 May 1910

Derby St James’ Church Boys’ School Magazine, No 14, May 1929 (D6560/4/14)

Hazelwood marriage register, 1847-1933 (M281 vol 3)






‘Cataloguing Change’

The crane, as photographed by Paula from Oak Road

Our Artist in Residence, Paula Moss, has been working with staff and focus groups to help re-shape our new building in a creative and insipiring way… and she’s been blogging about her experiences!

 Check out her blog ‘Cataloguing Change’ which she describes as; 

‘…a visual journal mapping my Residency with the Derbyshire Record Office over the next one and a half years. My role is to work alongside the staff to ‘design’ the interior and create artworks for the public facing side of the new Service building, Wyvern House.’

Reflections and view from the Search Room window, photographed by Paula

On This Day: ‘Local News’

From the Derby Mercury, 23rd July 1851:

THE DERBY POLICE FORCE – The members of this force have received leave of absence, in detachments, for a week to visit the Great Exhibition, and the Watch Committee has presented 1l. to each man, from the police fund.  The first detachment, consisting of Sergeant Hill  and seven men, left Derby on Saturday last, to return next Saturday.

LATTER-DAY SAINTS – On Sunday last, a party of the above sect visited Belper.  They selected a spot on the outside of the town, and many of the curious visited the place of meeting, but were greatly disappointed.  Instead of a sermon it was a lecture.  The orator professed to be a chemist, and spoke more upon art and science than religion.

PILSLEY WAKES AND TAP-DRESSING – The romantic little Peak village of Pilsley exhibited an unusually gay and animated appearance last week, in consequence of the inhabitants having provided unusual attractions for their friends.  The custom of well-flowering, as practised at Tissington, had been adopted, and the floral decorations exhibited were of a most ingenious, effective, and pleasing character, and reflected great credit on the parties by whom they had been designed and executed.  A party of bell-ringers from Mottram, with no fewer than 42 hand-bells, contributed to enliven the proceedings in the intervals of the dancing and rustic sports…One little singular and rather amusing incident we cannot refrain from noticing.  A large common grass snake had been caught and apparently killed, and the ingenious villagers had formed the reptile body into “the Duke’s crest”, and placed it, attached by damp clay, to an ornamental device composed of flowers, crystals, &c.  It turned out, however, that “The snake was only scotch’d, Not killed-” and on the sun shining out inconveniently warm, his snakeship, not exactly comprehending his elevated position, nor entirely enjoying his novel and incomprehensible lodgings – watched his opportunity, and glided off, displacing some of the delicately-arranged finery, by which he was surrounded.      

The County Local Studies Library holds the Derby Mercury – just ring to book a microfilm reader.  If you have a Derbyshire library card you can also view 19th century issues of the newspaper here.

On This Day: ‘A Swindler at Matlock’

From the Derbyshire Times, 18th July 1885:


During the past few days a man giving the name of Thomas Fletcher, having also a number of aliases has been busily engaged imposing on the charitably disposed, in the neighbourhood of Matlock.  The fellow who wore clerical attire, visited Mr. Slack butcher, and represented himself to be a “local preacher in distress” and he attributed his poverty to the fact that he was suffering from a failing in the eyes, for which he had tried almost every kind of remedy without any benefit.  He also said that he had spent £180 in obtaining treatment and he succeeded in obtaining a gift of money.  He also said that Mr. Marsh of Wirksworth had generously assisted him, but fortunately it happens that Mr. Marsh and Mr. Slack are related and the fraud was discovered.  The police apprehended the man and found two hymn books and a number of religious pamphlets on him and it was discovered that he has been practising his imposition in the neighbourhood of Ilkeston and Langley Mill.  He is a stout tolerably good looking man about 50 years of age and is most plausible.  He has been accompanied by a woman of low repute who has been “fire eating” at public houses, and the pair were recently turned out of a lodging house at Matlock in consequence of their conduct.  When in the lock-up the man admitted that he had been in trouble at Chesterfield for selling a useless preparation supposed to be “vermin killer”, and was committed for trial.  On Monday morning he was brought before Dr. Harrison at Matlock and was sentenced to 14 days hard labour as a rogue and a vagabond.

The County Local Studies Library holds the Derbyshire Times (Chesterfield Edition) from 1854 – just ring to book a microfilm reader.

One book, three centuries: Derby Canal Company minutes arrive

We have just received a single volume containing Derby Canal Company minutes from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  As you can see from these pictures, they start with the inaugural “General Assembly” in 1793, and end with the 150th such assembly in 1940.  Just for good measure, we have included shots of the meetings held 100 and 200 years ago.  Isn’t it amazing that they kept recording the same type of information in the same way for such a long period of time?

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As ever, if you want to see this stuff, just contact us and we will arrange it.  (See “Visiting Us” on www.derbyshire.gov.uk/recordoffice).  The reference number to quote is D5751/4/1 for the minute book, or D5751/5/1 for a book containing copies of the company’s deeds.  We have also taken in another volume of Cromford Canal boat permits (D501 B/B 67).