Sir Joseph Paxton

Apropos of nothing:

A researcher just spotted that Joseph Paxton (the future Sir Joseph) crops up as a 36-year old on the list of people qualified to serve as a juror.

The eagle-eyed will notice that his qualification is as a freeholder, so he must have owned property in the area, rather than just lodging at Chatsworth.  Feel free to correct me if I am wrong!  I have hardly ever seen the lists of jurors (Q/RJ/1) – they could might be called an under-used resource.

New Exhibition: Harvesting Histories

An exhibition to discover the history of Derbyshire farms and farming, exploring the lives of local farmers from the manor to the Second World War – Harvesting Histories

The specific inspiration for this exhibition stems from a series of workshops delivered by the Record Office in June to accompany the BBC’s “Great British Story: A People’s History’, presented by Michael Wood. The workshops encouraged participants to discover the archival resources available for researching the history of farming and agriculture in their local area.

However, the inspiration for farming theme of the workshops actually stemmed from a project run by Junction Arts, Combine: Farming Heritage | East Midlands, involving young people, farmers and local communities working with museums and archives to research the history of farming in each county. Derbyshire Record Office hosted the Derbyshire group of young people in February and March 2012 and had a fantastic time working with the young people and their teachers to discover the history of Derbyshire agriculture, particularly in the Dethick area. More information about the project, which is shortly due to move in to Phase Two consisting of an extensive touring programme for displaying the work created in Phase 1, can be found at

If you want to see any of the original material in the exhibition or other related material, it can be consulted free of charge in our search room in Matlock. Please contact us for more information on 01629 538347.

A guide to the archival resources available for researching Derbyshire agicultural history can be downloaded from our website at

Final pictures from our Summer Holiday events in Derbyshire Libraries

Here are the final installments of photos from the ‘History of You’ craft sessions we have hosted in Derbyshire Libraries over the school holidays as part of the Summer Reading Challenge.

Swadlincote Library, 7 August, Borrowash Library, 22 August and Matlock Library, 28 August

(Click image to enlarge)

We are very sorry to all the people who attended our sessions in Staveley and Dronfield on Thursday 16 August, unfortunately, all the photographs were accidentally deleted from the camera and we are not able to share the photographs from this day.

Wirksworth and the World event

Fans of the Wirksworth Festival will be familiar with its ever-popular Art & Architecture Trails weekend (8-9 September).  But did you know that the record office and Derbyshire Local Studies Library are putting on a free event to coincide with it?  Well, we are!  And there are still places.  Here are the details:

The last session (Sunday 2.30pm) has been block-booked by local songwriters, with a view to using some of the documents as inspiration for new songs.  This is not such an odd idea as it sounds – think John Lennon and Mr Kite (  The results (if any!) may be performed as part of the Songlines event the following Wednesday: