We had a researcher round a few weeks ago who was mightily impressed with the strength and extent of our County Architect collection (D2200). It is a very useful collection if your research touches on public buildings in this county – it contains plans of libraries, police stations, fire stations, hospitals, care homes and so on. It also includes a thousand or so plans of schools, many drawn by County Architect George H. Widdows (1871-1946). Widdows was a hugely influential architect, especially when it came to the construction of schools. Or, as in the example shown below, the conversion of an existing building for use as a school:
The site shown was originally two separate hydrotherapy institutions, called Church View and Bank House (later renamed Wyvern House – for more on this, have a look at Matlock Town Council’s guide to Hydro Heritage Trails). It then became the Ernest Bailey Grammar School in 1924, and is now Derbyshire Record Office, whence I write.
As part of the FindersKeepers project, this collection has recently been added to the online catalogue. That means you can now try this little experiment: go to our catalogue’s Advanced Search page. Put D2200* in the RefNo box (don’t forget the asterisk) and put the name of a Derbyshire town or village in a couple of boxes below that, where it says Any Text. I’m not saying there will definitely be a plan of a building that is familiar to you – I’m just saying it’s highly likely!
Or, you can follow this link to the entire list, if you prefer to browse the whole caboodle.