An exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of Junction Arts, a Derbyshire based arts charity is now on at the record office. The exhibition will celebrate the organisation’s achievements over four decades, illustrated using the newly acquired archive held here at the record office.
The exhibition will run from Thursday 22nd March to Saturday 29th September 2018. Normal office opening time apply.
Want to know more? Come along to the record office for a film screening of a specially commissioned documentary film about the 40 year history of Junction Arts. The film will be introduced by Jane Wells from Junction Arts and includes a short talk by the film maker Chris Bevan.
Thursday 29th March 2.00pm-3.00pm. It’s free but booking is essential – follow the ‘Events’ tab at the top of this page to book.
Every Thursday afternoon our preservation volunteers diligently clean items from collection D2375, the archive from Calke Abbey. There was a surprise in store while cleaning D2375/A/S/1/1/1 though, a fifteenth century Alstonefield Manor Court book.
Re-using an older piece of Medieval parchment as the cover of a paper text block was standard practice – both parchment and paper were expensive and never wasted. But in this case the bookbinder hit upon an original solution to store some extra loose sheets of paper: they sewed pockets in the parchment cover.
Parchment cover with pocket
Often in archives we need to find the balance between the long term preservation of documents and showing their historic context. Standard practice would be to remove the loose sheets, unfold them and then store them in an archival folder alongside the book. However, as the documents are in great condition and haven’t suffered from their unusual storage, we’ve decided to leave them exactly where the fifteenth century clerk placed them. If we ever find the documents or volume are getting damaged then of course we will remove them, but for now our researchers can have the pleasure of using the parchment cover in the way it was designed to be used all those centuries ago.
When you work with archive collections, sometimes you come across something that makes you stop in your tracks – a document that takes your hand and transports you through time to its author, making them so tangible, so real, that the intervening centuries vanish and you’d swear they were standing right next to you. That happened to me yesterday with a letter I came across, a perfectly ordinary letter from William Porden, the 18th century architect, to his daughter Eleanor Anne Porden.
The content is of course sweet, written by a caring father to his loving daughter, and the reference to smallpox inoculation only two years after it became available is certainly interesting. But what really got me was the handwriting: it is completely different to his normal joined-up style. Then I realised Eleanor would only have been five at the time, still learning to read and needing clear letters to decipher her father’s words. I write notes to my daughter in block capitals to spare her the agony of trying to decipher my atrocious handwriting – that two hundred and eighteen year gap suddenly feels very small indeed.