Conservation UPDATE – Absent Voters Lists

We are pleased to announce the 1918 Absent Voters Lists have now been cleaned and digitised! Here’s how we did it…

Absent voters list before dismantling

Absent Voters list binding

The Chesterfield Division Absent Voters List was in particularly bad condition. First we had to take the whole thing apart, so that we could clean and digitise it safely, and prepare it for repairs.

The pages were crudely tied together with string in several places, which was causing damage to edges of the document. Paper clips had been used to attach additional sheets to the document, and had become rusty, causing staining and further damage.

Absent Voters list before cleaningtaking apart the register

We carefully removed the string and paper clips, and gently detached each individual page from the residue of old glue that was left from the degraded binding.

Each page was given a number so that the original order can be retained throughout the conservation process.

Once the list had been taken apart each individual page was cleaned on both sides using a drafting powder made from tiny pieces of eraser, cotton wool and a soft brush.

taking apart the registercleaning the pages

absent voters list after cleaning and dismantling

After cleaning and dismantling, each page was digitised using our scanner. The digital copies are available to consult here at the Record Office, and the originals are now ready to go the next stage of the conservation process – repairs.

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7 thoughts on “Conservation UPDATE – Absent Voters Lists

    • Hi Kevin,
      We don’t actually have the electoral registers for what was the Derby Borough constituency, as they are held by Derby Local Studies Library. I have just spoken to one of our colleagues there, who tells me that there are no known Absent Voters lists for that constituency. So, it’s just Chesterfield, Ilkeston and Derbyshire West so far as we know.

  1. Is there any possibility of discerning where a particular street/area might be – or even a man’s name – without actually downloading and reading every single page within each set?
    Jay

    • Hi Jay,
      On the whole, no, there’s nothing like that. There are three constituencies for which we have absent voters lists: in the cases of Chesterfield and Ilkeston, there is no street index and no person index, you just have to wade through the document. In the Western Derbyshire Constituency, you will find an index to registration units (i.e. broad geographical areas) on the first page or two, which tells you e.g. that Wirksworth starts on p145.

    • Apologies for the late reply on this – they are indeed online. If you follow this link to the catalogue, then click on one of the two entries (Derbyshire West or Chesterfield) you will be able to use pdf versions of the documents.

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