When family history becomes a little more complex…

Very few family historians are able to trace their ancestors back through the civil and parish registers without hitting some kind of complication, whether that be a “missing” entry, an “extra” entry making it unclear which is correct, the resettlement of their family elsewhere or other issue.  Often, such cases can be resolved with a bit of extra digging and thinking outside the box as to how to find the correct information.

One such case arose following the transfer in from Chesterfield Library of a collection of poems written by John Cupit – it wasn’t terribly complicated, but did send me down a bit of rabbit warren before I got to the bottom of it.  The collection had been transfered with the following biographical information: John Cupit, of Clay Cross. He was also an inventor, watch repairer and worked at Parkhouse Colliery. The Cupit family lived at Danesmoor and were carpenters and joiners, and John’s mother Sarah was a daughter of William Henry Wilson of Pilsley Hall, a farmer and land surveyor. John was raised by his grandparents, George and Ann Cupit.

I wanted to provide more information in our catalogue, at the very least years of birth and death for John.  Fortunately, amongst the poems and other items in the collection was a letter to the Chesterfield Borough Librarian in 1956 enclosing a short poem that John had written on his 86th birthday which gave his date of birth as 5 June 1871.

Perfect!  Now I have a date of birth and from this I can probably find a year of death using the online civil registration indexes as I know he is still living in Chesterfield, aged 86 because he says so in his letter to the Librarian.  For most searches I tend to use FreeBMD as it gives you a little more control over what you are actually searching.  However, if I have no success with this site, or if I am searching for entries after 1992, I will use Ancestry.com as it contains indexes up to 2007 and as a trade-off for less control over your search terms you get much more flexibility in the results, showing other possible entries when what you were expecting to find doesn’t exist.

In this case I discovered John’s death in Chesterfield (district) in 1963.  But I still wanted to know what else could I find out about John: he had been described as a poet, inventor, watch repairer and miner – what evidence could I find for all this?  Why so varied?  He was raised by his grandparents – why?  What happened to John’s parents? Did this inspire his poetry?

The census returns for 1841-1911 are an absolutely essential tool for family historians searching for ancestors in this period, and later. Unfortunately, it is not possible to access any later census returns due to the 100-year embargo on each, however, some limited access has been provided to the National Register of 1939 which was compiled as part of preparations for a possible war with Germany. Perhaps more out of habit than anything else, I tend to use Ancestry for searching the 1841-1911 census returns and Find My Past for searching the 1939 register (although each is now available via both sites).

I discovered that in 1881 (the first census in which John would appear, having been born two months after the 1871 census), he was indeed living with George and Ann Cupit at Guildford Lane, Danesmoor – but he is described as their son, not their grandson. George is described as a joiner, as is his 26-year old son (also George). Furthermore, although John is described as the son of George and Ann, bearing in mind their ages, 76 and 66 respectively, it is much more likely that he is their grandson.  Did the enumerator recording the information mishear or have stated he is their son in order to cover the true story about his parents?

The next step was to find out more about George and Ann.  In the 1861 and 1871 census returns they are found at Gents Hill (also Hillocks) in Clay Lane (now Clay Cross), variously with children Mary, Henry, John, Joseph, George and Walter. The John recorded in the 1861 census was aged 13 and therefore certainly not John the poet born in 1871.  Although it was quite common for younger children to be named after older siblings who had passed away, it was still much more likely that George and Ann were indeed John the poet’s grandparents – was this older John (aged 23 in 1871) be his father?

Unfortunately, I then came to some difficulty in tracing John the poet in the 1891 census. I was able to find him in 1911 at Market Street, Clay Cross, with his wife Allina, their three children, his widowed mother-in-law (Emily Goodwin) and another Goodwin, aged 11 and therefore perhaps Allina’s nephew.  He is described as Joiner – Colliery, which may explain the references to him being a miner and joiner, as he worked as a joiner at a mine.  He was also fairly easy to find in the 1901 census, this time as an unmarried boarder in Staveley, and again described as joiner; possibly at a colliery as he is boarding with James Potter, a colliery foreman.

None of this helped in finding him in the 1891 census, and that was just the beginning of the complications. Usually after finding the birth of an ancestor, the next step is to find their parent’s marriage – but searching both FreeBMD and Ancestry I could find no reference to the marriage of a Sarah Wilson to a man with the surname Cupit.  I was fairly confident of John’s mother’s name, as he had recorded this information himself in his letter to the Borough Librarian, also referring to his “grandsire” William Henry Wilson of Pilsley Hall. Perhaps Sarah had been married before and was a widow when she married John’s father, so I also searched for any marriage of a Sarah [surname unknown] to a [forename unknown] Cupit (again much easier on FreeBMD) – but still no luck.

Having hit a bit of a brick wall with the Cupit’s, I tried to find out more about the Wilson’s, John’s maternal ancestors.  At the time of the 1861 census William Henry (born c1798), his wife Urania (born c1823) and four children including a daughter Sarah (born c1850) were living at Upper Pilsley.  William is described as a Farmer, Landowner, etc. Ten years later, the family is still in Pilsley: Sarah is no longer with them, there are two more daughters (twins born c1863), and a granddaughter, Maud M Randle aged 2. A further ten years later, Urania, now widowed, is at Pilsley Hall with three daughters, two sons and Maud whose surname is now given as Wilson. Is this perhaps Sarah’s daughter by a previous relationship?

Success!  Marriage found in 1868 (quarter 4) of a Sarah Wilson to a James Randall, in the Chesterfield district. The civil marriage indexes though do not give sufficient detail to be certain you have found the correct people, but with the Derbyshire Anglican parish registers now available via Ancestry, it is much quicker and easier to search and identify the details: Sarah, daughter of William Henry Wilson, surveyor, married James Randall at Chesterfield on 31 December 1868.

Although Sarah and James had been married in 1868, and Maud born in 1869, by the time of the 1871 census, the two were separated – James lodging in Pilsley and Sarah (described as married, though using the surname Wilson) lodging in Rotherham with a Chesterfield family and was seven months pregnant with John the poet.  Was James John’s father, or was John the result of an extra-marital relationship that was the cause of James and Sarah’s separation?

For me, this is could have been where the story ended because we don’t have access to the birth registers that might have included John’s father’s name – of course anyone else would have been able to order copy certificate from the Register Office.  By now, I really wanted to know the answer.  Perhaps John’s marriage entry would give me a clue because after 1837, the registers include a space for the groom and bride’s fathers’ name – even today their mothers’ names are not recorded.

The 1911 census stated that John and Allina had been married for 6 years, and I found reference to a marriage registration (via FreeBMD) in Chesterfield district, quarter 3 1904.  Unfortunately, there was no corresponding entry on Ancestry in the Derbyshire parish registers, so the couple were either married in a non-conformist church or not married in a church at all.  With more time, I could have manually searched any non-conformist registers for the Chesterfield and Clay Cross area; as above, the most efficient way to see what name John gave as his father’s would have been to order a copy certificate.

Still not quite ready to give up, I then looked again for Sarah (John’s mother), and found her in the census returns 1881-1911 married to a Joseph Cupit, a Carpenter.  Although her first husband was still alive (living with his parents in Pilsley in 1881, and described as unmarried), Sarah Wilson appears to have married Joseph Cupit in 1873 (Belper district).  As John’s birth was registered under the surname Cupit in 1871 two years before this marriage and Joseph was the son of George and Ann (as per the 1871 census found earlier), I was confident I had found his father.

According to the 1911 census, Sarah and Joseph had at least twelve children, and when I found them in the 1891 census, I finally also found John the poet with them, aged 18 and a colliery labourer – I had probably seen this entry the first time round but dismissed it because the date of birth was a few years out, even though I really should have known better.

The question that all this couldn’t answer was whether John was brought up by his grandparents, or whether this was an assumption made purely on the basis that he was at their house on census night in 1881.  However, perhaps this answer is contained within John’s poems and other works in his archive, now held under reference D8251.

John Cupit was interviewed in the Derbyshire Courier on 23 October 1909 (page 8) in relation to his flying model of a monoplane, under the heading ‘A Clay Cross Aeroplane’, with a photograph of the man himself.  According to a note the following week (2 November 1909), the model was put on display at Armistead Bros. of Corporation Street, Chesterfield [cycle agents].

On this day… in Rangoon in 1945

On 15 August Britain commemorated VJ Day, which this year marked the 75th anniversary of the date that Japan surrendered to the Allied forces, bringing the Second World War to an end.

Of course the announcement on 15 August wasn’t quite the end, as the surrender itself wasn’t signed until 2 September. In the meantime there were official meetings in Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar) between the Allies and Japan to agree the terms of the surrender. You wouldn’t expect to find anything relating to these negotiations at Derbyshire Record Office but surprisingly we hold a record of these meetings, thanks to Sergeant Eric Walton of Clay Cross.

Sergeant Eric Walton’s identity card (D6022/3/2)

Born in 1920, Eric Walton joined the RAF in the early 1940s. Because of an injury he had sustained a few years earlier, Eric wasn’t deemed fit enough for combat, but having clerical experience he ended up in the Headquarters secretariat of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander in South East Asia. He worked in the private office of General Frederick Browning, Mountbatten’s Chief of Staff (and incidentally husband of the author Daphne du Maurier).

On 26 and 27 August, two plenary meetings were held in Rangoon between the representatives of the Supreme Allied Command and the Supreme Commander of the Japanese forces. General Browning asked Sergeant Eric Walton to make a verbatim report of the proceedings and the shorthand notebook he used is at the Record Office.

Sergeant Eric Walton’s shorthand notebook (D6022/4/1)

The notebook can only be read by someone who knows shorthand, although the name of the head of the Japanese delegation, Lieutenant General Takazo Numata, is legible. Fortunately for those of use who can’t read shorthand, we also have the typed up minutes of the meetings. A photograph of the surrender ceremony itself was attached inside the Head Quarters of the Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia (SACSEA) Christmas card.

Signing of the Japanese Surrender (D6022/5/7)

We are very grateful to Eric Walton for donating his archive to the Record Office. Eric died in 2008 at the age of 87 but he did publish his memoirs in 2006 under the title ‘From Hepthorne Lane to Rangoon…and back’. The catalogue of his archive is available on our online catalogue.

New Addition to the museum collection: Mary Twopenny sketchbook

Buxton Museum has just acquired an album of beautiful sketches and watercolours of Matlock and other places around Derbyshire in the 1820s. Take a look!

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Derbyshire Museums Manager, Ros Westwood had the recent opportunity to acquire an exciting new object for the collection at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery. One that reveals scenes from the Peak District from long ago:

I guess the last thing I’d imagined doing during lockdown was to buy a wonderful new acquisition for the collection, but how that brightened a lonely days of working at home!

Credit must go to colleagues at Peak District Mining Museum for bringing the album to my attention. They saw a notification that an album of drawings ‘mostly of Matlock’ was going to auction in Newcastle. And so the chase started.

DERSB 2020.3_Sketchbook_D10A3229

With agreement from several colleagues, I called the auctioneers. Because of lockdown, I was relying on their description in the catalogue. I decided to bid over the phone which we’ve done before; you may remember Buxton Museum was one of the partner museums in…

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Searching for people in the catalogue

Our online catalogue contains nearly 400,000 entries relating to the archives and local studies collections we hold but it is not necessarily the easiest or most user-friendly site to search.  We’re working on several improvements and in the meantime, here is a short guide to how to use the catalogue to find information about individuals – but the advice works for whatever your search might be.

The first thing to know is that the catalogue describes what records are held in the record office not specifics of what is in the records themselves.

It is a bit like buying a book online – the online catalogue tells you the book’s author, title, publication date and gives a brief summary of what the book is about, but you have to actually buy the book (or borrow it from the library) to find out exactly what the book says.

There are thousands of records containing lots of names (not just at Derbyshire Record Office, but also at The National Archives, and other archives around the world).  Whilst some of these records have been digitised, shared online and made searchable by name – the most popular being the census returns, birth marriage and death indexes, church registers, pre-1914 school registers and military service records – there are many more that are only accessible by searching through the original archives.

Searching for other sources

If you want to find your ancestors – or indeed a non-relative – you will need to search the catalogue for the records they will be mentioned in rather than searching for the person themselves.  Often the best way to do this is to search for the archives of the organisation that will have created the records in the first place.  For example:

1. When was my ancestor married?

Search the catalogue for the church where the wedding took place – if it wasn’t a church ceremony, we don’t hold the records.  The catalogue for that church will list the marriage registers available, and you will then need to browse the original register (or ask us to search for you) to find the specific details.

Tip: type church and the place name in the Title field (e.g. church Killamarsh) and select Fonds from the Level drop-down menu – click the top result as this will give you a link to the full catalogue

2. Where did my ancestor go to school?

Search the catalogue for the name of the school (or possible schools) they might have attended.  The catalogue for the school will list the records available, including any admission registers.

Tip: the catalogue entry for each collection (i.e. each school, business, etc.) which usually gives a brief history of the organisation and summary of records also includes a link for you to browse the whole list of available records.

3. Where did my ancestor work?

Even more so than with school records, the difficulty with this search is knowing which company (or sometimes industry) the person was employed by (in) so as to be able to search for the right records.  If you do know – or at least have an rough idea – search the catalogue for the business name or family estate (i.e. if they worked for a landowning family).  If they worked in the coal or lead mining industries then our other research guides may also be of assistance (follow links in text).

All of this is good advice for whatever information you might be searching for –

Search the catalogue for the type of record that will contain the information required not for the information itself.

This is also the reason (or part of it) you can’t search for a postcode in the catalogue either.

But… it is usually worth searching for a name, just in case

Although the vast majority of names cannot be searched in the catalogue because it doesn’t contain lists of those mentioned in the original record or book, it is often worth searching because some entries do include personal names.

Tip: Sometimes it might be worth just searching for the surname rather than the full name.

Some records can only really be described by including the name of the person to whom they relate, for example the will of Jane Smith.  Some records have been catalogued in more detail than others, so some parish poor relief papers – such as apprenticeship indentures and settlement certificates – might list each record individually (others will just indicate that a bundle of indentures exists).

You may also find that a relative (perhaps from a different branch of your family tree) has donated material to the record office – whilst most families haven’t, some have.  If not, it could also be that your family had a connection with another family whose archive is at the record office, perhaps writing a letter to them.

This is also true for material in the local studies library – where the comparison is even more similar to buying a book online.  If a book or an article has been written about an individual person or family, the catalogue is likely to include a reference to that person.  However, if a book or article about a town includes references to named individuals in the text, then their names won’t appear in the catalogue, you would need to read the book.

Of course, the difficulty is knowing in the first place that the book, or article, or archive is worth looking at in the first place.  For this you will need to use your judgement and decide how much time you want to spend searching for information that provides context to an individual’s life.


There are lots of records that include information about people, and the best way to find out what is available is to start with our family history research guides.  Remember, don’t search for the information you are looking for, search for the record that is likely to contain that information.

With thanks to Celia for her help in writing this guide.

Societies and Voluntary Bodies

A guide to the archives of charities and self-help societies such as associations for the prosecution of felons, friendly societies and nursing associations as well as societies with a social purpose.


Major series of charity records concern education, almshouses, or general and parish interests.  Educational charities are chiefly about the maintenance of a school and provision of schooling for poor children in their locality, while those relating to almshouses (hospitals) deal with the building and running of these institutions.

Returns and other records from Derbyshire charities to the Charity Commission from 1886 can be found under reference D2723.   A list of all the archive collections for Derbyshire charities held at the Record Office can be found via our online catalogue.  The following links can also be used to browse shorter lists by type of charity:

Note: where charities fall into more than one category, they are found in all appropriate lists.

Co-operative Societies

The modern Co-operative Society originated with the 28 poor weavers calling themselves the Equitable Pioneers of Rochdale, and the food shop they opened in 1844.  Food the poor could afford was often heavily adulterated and the Rochdale Pioneers chief object was to supply pure food.  They bought wholesale, sold at reasonable prices and divided the profits amongst members as dividend.  From the 1850s, the movement spread rapidly, particularly in the North and Midlands.  The co-operative societies also increased the range of goods sold, expanded into the provision of services such as undertaking and widened their objectives to include the promotion of education, some providing scholarships, organising cultural (and social) events and paying evening class fees.

A list of archive collections of Co-operative Societies can be found via the online catalogue.  It is also worth searching the Any Text field for other items relating to these societies that might be amongst family and other archive collections – there are over 250 entries containing the words co-operative (or cooperative) society.

Friendly/Benefit/Sick Societies

Mutual self-help societies have existed for centuries, for example, medieval trade guilds.  In the mid-18th century, the principle was applied to social concerns too and operated as insurance.  Members of the society would pay a subscription and then be able to submit a claim if they were sick or unable to work, and depending on the society’s rules, their families may have been able to claim after the member’s death.

The Friendly Society Act of 1793, and subsequent amendments, required the deposit with the Clerk of the Peace of a variety of documents relating to these societies.  (The Unlawful Societies Act of 1799 led, slightly indirectly, to the registration of freemasons’ lodges – they were exempt from the provision of the Act if their members’ were certified annually).  The surviving documents can be found under reference Q/RS/2Click here for a list of collections relating to mutual benefit societies.

Associations/Societies for the Prosecution of Felons

Prosecuting societies were common before the establishment of police forces in the 1830s.  They offered rewards for information and paid the expenses of prosecuting offenders.  A small number of archive collections survive for Derbyshire association, please see the catalogue for a full list.  Other collections also include items relating to these organisations, so a search of the Any Text field is always useful.

The Coal Strike of 1912

The Coal Strike of 1912, although only just over a month long, was a breakthrough in terms of the wages of miners. Prior to the Coal Mines Minimum Wage Act, that was passed as a direct result of the strike, miners wages were based on what was known as a price list. These price lists gave set amounts per task and were based on the standard ton of coal got from the face, as well as an increase for working coal seams with large amounts of stone or water, rather than just coal. The problem was that these prices often differed between collieries, companies and districts; there was no standardised minimum wage across the industry. The need to create standard wages was the reason for the strike.


Whitwell Colliery Price List, 1894 (D5345/1)

Despite discussions and attempts for government intervention, the strike started in February 1912 at Alfreton Colliery. This is where my own interest comes in. I’ve lived in Alfreton all my life and the site of the former colliery, which is now the Meadow Lane Industrial Estate, is just a few streets away from my house. It’s probably why I wasn’t all that surprised to learn that Alfreton had started this strike. Soon after Alfreton’s action was taken, the strike movement spread across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. There were attempts in Wales, but outside of the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire coalfield, there was less enthusiasm.


Front page of the Daily Mirror showing an Alfreton Miner on the First Day of the Strike, 27 Feb 1912 (D4474/13/1/7)

The miners generally treated the strike as a holiday, as at the time a strike could be seen as illegal. It was termed a ‘holiday’ to try and avoid this, but there was still the serious message of wanting a set minimum wage for the industry. Just over a month later and in the run up to Easter, hoping that the details of any settlement would be sorted out, the men returned to work. That did little to stop the confusion of whether the action was classed as a holiday or an actual strike.

It created uneasiness for the police, who drafted in civilian help for backup in case things got heated. In some places the army were drafted in. It may sound like a reflection of the much later miner’s strikes that are still within living memory, but there were serious disruptions posed by the strike of 1912. Coal was desperately needed to supply the railways and shipping industries and these were badly affected, most notably with the majority of train services being cancelled. This wasn’t helped by the act that the previous year, there had been a railway strike, and also in 1912, a dockers strike. Rudyard Kipling said of the situation that “there is no law in England save the whim of the unions”. It must have felt like that to some extent, and is probably the main reason why the government decided to pass the Coal Mines Minimum Wage Act, hoping that this would pacify any outstanding disagreements. It certainly did, but there were still district arrangements rather than national ones.


Gill, P., National Coal Strike http://www.petergill7.co.uk/pieces/lawrence/national_coal_strike.shtml

Hind, J., When Coal Was King: Ladysmith and the Coal-Mining Industry on Vancouver Island (Vancouver: UCB Press, 2003)

Kipling, J. The Letters of Rudyard Kipling: 1911-19, Volume 4, edited by Pinney, T., (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1999)

Mining the Seams is a Wellcome Trust funded project aiming to catalogue coal mining documents, originally held by the National Coal Board, so they can eventually be viewed by the public. Alongside the Warwickshire County Record Office, the project aims to focus on the welfare and health services provided to miners. 


Poor Relief and Workhouses

A guide to the records of the poor before and after the establishment of union workhouses.

Parish Poor Relief

An Act of Parliament in 1531 was really the first occasion where it was recognised that a formal system of aid was required for the poor, with an act of 1536 legislating for organised relief at the parish level.  Various other acts were passed throughout the Tudor period, including the Act for the Relief of the Poor of 1601 – the Elizabethan Poor Law, later known as the Old Poor Law.  The Act required parishes to appoint two local people to serve as Overseers of the Poor, collecting money through the poor rate to redistribute it to those in need.  After 1662, the Act of Settlement required that parishes were responsible for the poor who were legally settled in their parish.  This resulted in the creation of a series of records (see below) concerning individuals right to claim and settle in a particular parish.

Overseers of the Poor records can be found the archives of individual parishes.  Survival of records is patchy for most parishes, but may include:

  • accounts: relating to the collection and/or disbursement of the poor rate
  • settlement certificates: giving name(s) and parish of settlement.  These were handed to the overseers when people moved into a new parish so that they could be sent back to the parish of settlement if they became paupers and needed to rely on poor relief
  • settlement examinations: created at the time the parish attempted to determine which parish an individual or family was settled in and therefore responsible to.  They often give a potted biography of the individual or family
  • removal orders: where there was a dispute over the parish of settlement, the county Quarter Sessions would issue a removal order from and to the parishes concerned relating to the individual or family
  • bastardy papers: for example examinations to determine who the father was and therefore who was responsible for the child, bonds for putative fathers and filiation orders for maintenance
  • apprenticeship indentures: since 1598, pauper children could be apprenticed by the parish to reduce the burden on the parish.  From 1723, children of vagrants could be apprenticed against the will of their parent/s.  Sometimes indentures survive amongst the parish archives, occasionally indentures of non-pauper children may also be found amongst the parish record.


The Elizabethan poor law placed an emphasis on requiring people (including children) to work rather than claim out (i.e. outdoor) relief.  In 1723, Knatchbull’s Workhouse Test Act allowed for a single parish or group of parishes to establish a workhouse, but very few records survive relating to these institutions, at least in Derbyshire.

A large number of settlement, removal and bastardy records are also held amongst the county Quarter Sessions records.

Poor Relief from 1834

Bakewell Union Workhouse, c1900 (ref: Picture the Past, DCHQ002788)

Poor Law Unions, consisting of several parishes grouped together, were created by the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834.  Each Union built its own workhouse administered by Boards of Guardians elected by parishioners.  This meant that the majority of the poor were housed, fed and set to work (if able) rather than given money to look after themselves.  Over the years Guardians were given other duties relating to non-poor law issues such as civil registration and public health.

The Unions also appointed Relieving Officers who took over most of the responsibilities of the parish Overseers (though the Overseers continued to be appointed and now answered to the Union Relieving Officers.  Other officers appointed by the Boards of Guardians include medical officers, a master and mistress of the workhouse and a school teacher/s for the pauper children.

Poor Law Unions and Boards of Guardians were abolished in 1930, when County Councils took over their functions, including the running of workhouses, which became known as Public Assistance Institutions, and children’s homes.

Poor Law Union records may include:

  • Board of Guardians minutes of meeting, financial accounts and property papers
  • Workhouse admission and discharge registers (arranged chronologically with no indexes, giving name, age, parish and reason for admission and discharge); creed registers (giving name, age, faith and parish); and registers of births and deaths in the workhouse

A list of the Derbyshire Poor Law Unions (see below) and the records available for each can be seen via our online catalogue.  Registers relating to individual inmates only survive for the workhouses at Belper and Chesterfield.

The Derbyshire unions were Ashbourne, Bakewell, Belper, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Chesterfield, Derby, Glossop, Hayfield and and Shardlow.  The unions did not respect existing county boundaries, so some of the Derbyshire unions were responsible for parishes in Staffordshire and other neighbouring counties, and some Derbyshire parishes were covered by other unions, namely Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Basford, Burton-upon-Trent, Mansfield, Rotherham, Tamworth, Uttoxeter and Worksop.

Charities and Other Support

The record office holds over 200 collections for local charities and assistance organisations, including many for local branches of national and international charities.  A fuller guide to these collections will be published in the coming weeks.

Local Studies

A selected list of books and other publications relating to the poor law generally and individual Derbyshire workhouses can be found in the online catalogue indexed under Poor Law.   Further items can be found in the Derbyshire Libraries catalogue, including: 

Records held elsewhere

The National Archives holds a selection  of plans of workhouse buildings between 1852 and 1914, including for Belper, Derby, Glossop, Hayfield, .  Search their catalogue by name of union for plans of workhouse buildings in MH 14 and HLG 6

Also available is correspondence between individual unions and the Poor Law Commission (later Poor Law Board).  The records are catalogued under department code MH, but they are not particularly easy to use, as the file descriptions are very uninformative, so any search may be lengthy.  Search by name of Poor Law Union for correspondence between the Union and the government department responsible for the Poor Law in MH 12.

As always The National Archives also has some handy guides on the records available.