Don’t try this at home



This delightful suggestion is part of a brochure (probably produced in wartime) demonstrating the versatile uses of the Bratt Colbran Winch. Why does the Local Studies Library at Derbyshire Record Office have this item? Because Bratt Colbran became part of the Radiation Group Ltd, who produced stoves and grates, and who also acquired Park Foundry in Belper. I don’t know if the winch was ever produced in Belper, but the stove and hearth appliances certainly were.

Sue Peach, Local Studies Librarian

A busy week for getting out and about

The record office has had a busy week, getting out and about and sharing our collections with the people of Derbyshire.

Last Saturday we attended the Bolsover Family History Day, held at the library, and organised by Bolsover Civic Society.  Around 450 people came along to browse numerous stalls.  Stall holders included the record office, of course, Chesterfield Local Studies Library and Picture the Past.

We had a great day; it was so enjoyable to chat to people from a community so interested in their local history.  I took along some original records from our collection relating to Bolsover, including a school admission register from 1909 and an electoral register from 1937 – I was delighted that so many people found relatives when looking through them.

“It was worth coming just for this!” – a lady who found reference to her father in the school register.


Last night I attended a special event at Derbyshire County Council headquarters, County Hall, in Matlock.  The event was to celebrate and promote the BSL [British Sign Language] Charter.

The BSL Charter’s aim is to ensure that Deaf people who use Sign Language have better access to Public Services. Under the Equality Act 2010 they have a duty to ensure that public services meet all equality needs.

The Charter aims to support these organisations to reduce discrimination either direct or indirect. Empower Deaf people to have the confidence to access public services.   For public services to become aware of BSL – British Sign Language, what it is and understand how to support Deaf people.  Also for Deaf children to have a good standard of Education.

Derbyshire County Council signed up to the Charter in 2014.

Keen as ever to take our material out into the community, I took along, amongst other items, documents relating to the Midland Deaf and Dumb Institution (now The Royal School for the Deaf), which was originally located in Friar Gate, Derby (collection ref: D4873), as well as information on the record office and our services.

It was another great event and our records went down a storm.  It will certainly mean a visit to the record office by representatives of some of the organisations present and will hopefully inspire organisations, community groups and clubs to deposit their records with us, ensuring that all the wonderful work happening throughout the Deaf community in Derbyshire is saved for future generations.

Adopt a Piece of History

Would you like to help look after Derbyshire’s rich history? Through our Adopt a Piece of History scheme you can adopt any item from our collections, in the knowledge that your contribution will directly support our work to keep Derbyshire’s history safe for the future.

If you’reaph-certificate looking for a truly unique gift, why not let someone else adopt a piece of history? Whether they love sport, art, gardening or trains, there is something in our collections they would be proud to help look after too. And with different options and prices, this could be just the surprise you’ve been looking for.

Adopt a piece of history for £20
Choose an item from the list of favourites on our blog and get a personalised e-certificate. Our favourites include suggestions for keen ramblers, bakers, dancers, engineers and many more.

Adopt a unique piece of history for £35
Choose your own favourite from our collections to make a truly personal gift. You might want to adopt the parish register that shows the marriage of two of your ancestors, a map of the area they grew up in or that document that made all the hours of searching worthwhile.

Become a part of Derbyshire’s history for £100
To celebrate a special occasion or commemorate a loved one, choose your own favourite from our collections and tell us why it’s important to you. The recipient’s name and adoption details will be entered into our official Register of Adopters and be kept as part of the archive for ever. Your adoption will also be visible on our online catalogue and the recipient will receive a special invitation to our annual Open Day to visit their adoptee.

You can see all the details about the scheme and fill in an order form on our Adopt a Piece of History page. And do take a look at the other pages on our Support Us tab, which give details about our volunteering opportunities.


GRO latest





Great news for family historians, courtesy of the Lost Cousins website:

The General Register Office has just launched new online indexes of births and deaths for England & Wales which not only make ordering of certificates easier, they provide additional information that will make it easier than ever before for family historians to find the right entries.



Sue Peach

A Beginner’s Guide to Copyright


We’ll be running another of our Beginner’s Guide to Copyright sessions at Derbyshire Record Office at 2 pm TOMORROW.

 What can you do? What can’t you do? What is right and what is copyright?

The session will help you understand the basic principles of Copyright law as well as recent changes to the regulations, and where that leaves heritage and community groups who wish to publish or display images and articles, or anything else which may be under copyright.

Tickets are £3, which is payable upon entry.

To book a place, please use our Eventbrite Page