Pentrich Revolution Study Day

Pentrich

Join us on Monday 4th June for a free study day dedicated to the Pentrich Revolution, which celebrated its bicentenary last year.  The event is here at the record office and hosted by the Pentrich & South Wingfield Revolution Group.

Here’s what you can expect on the day:

  • A talk by Michael Parkin giving an overview and posing some unanswered questions that could provide suitable research topics
  • A genealogy session led by Sylvia Mason who has compiled the family trees of the Pentrich Rebels (potentially with an input from descendants, the group’s Chairman John Hardwick)
  • An illustrated talk ‘Transported for Treason’ dealing with the fate of the 14 men who were transported to penal colonies and the families they left behind
  • Some personal time for participants to look through archive material

The Study Day runs from 10am to 3pm. For more information contact Patrick Cook, of the Pentrich & South Wingfield Revolution Group, at patrickc99@hotmail.co.uk or call 07931 198707.

This event is free but places are limited. Click on the ‘Events’ tab at the top of the page to book at place.

 

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Pop Up project resources – get inspired to ‘pop up’ in your local community

Inspired by what you have read about The Amazing Pop Up Archives Project so far?  Well here are some resources to show you how we thought up, planned and delivered the project.  There are resource packs for each of the events where the team ‘popped up’.  They can’t tell the whole story – there’s so much to tell! – so are to be used in conjunction with our case study, also below, which goes into much more detail on how the project came about, the planning process and the creative ideas which inspired our activities.   The final evaluation report is also here for you to read – it tells the why, who and how and, importantly, what we learnt from participating in such a rewarding project.

In the next week or so we’ll be uploading the project film, so you can get a glimpse of the wonderful year we had popping up all over Derbyshire, taking our archive collections out to local communities.

The Amazing Pop Up Archives project Case Study

Final Evaluation Report – The Amazing Pop Up Archives Project

The Amazing Pop Up Archives Project resource pack – Swadlincote car boot sale

The Amazing Pop Up Archives Project resource pack – Gamesley Community Day 

The Amazing Pop Up Archives Project resource pack – Wirksworth Festival

The Amazing Pop Up Archives Project resource pack – Ripley Music Festival  

 

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The Junction Arts Story

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.

 

The art of letter writing

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On Tuesday I spent a lovely afternoon with the patients, staff and volunteers at Chesterfield’s Ashgate Hospice.  I was there to take part in a project called The Art of Letter Writing, run by Junction Arts, a Chesterfield arts charity.

The project celebrates the art of the letter and over four sessions will look at historical letters (which is where the record office came in), participant’s own letters from home, and the art of illuminated letters.

I took along a selection of letters from our collection, which included letters from a Chesterfield soldier writing home from the First World War; letters from a ladies maid working at Chatsworth in 1805; letters from badly behaved school boys in Derby writing to their headmaster seeking forgiveness for ‘bad deeds’, and a letter from students at a Derbyshire sixth form college writing to George Bernhard Shaw complimenting the famous writer on his neat handwriting.

The letters sparked conversations, memories and anecdotes and inspired the group to go home and hunt out their own letters from family and loved ones and share them with the group at the next session.

Sadly we were only taking part in this initial session but hope the group enjoy the rest project over the next few weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibition – The Amazing Pop Up Archives Project

Sadly we have completed our year of gallivanting around the county taking our archive collections out into the community and collecting people’s stories along the way. To celebrate the culmination of our project a special exhibition is now on in the reception area of the record office which tells the tale of a fascinating, exciting and rewarding year.

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“There are people out there with stories that will never be heard and this project was a way to tell them, a chance to be a part of something bigger in the long run.”  Emily, Pop Up volunteer

This exhibition takes us on a journey which started in Wirksworth, popped over to Ripley, down to Swadlincote, and ended in Gamesley. It features the contributions of the local people we met when we visited their neighbourhood along with songs, poems and musings created as part of the project – all inspired by Derbyshire’s archives and it’s people.

We can’t possibly fit everything we did into one exhibition so in the next few weeks we will upload a film of the project, with performances of all the songs and poems and footage from each event to the blog so keep an eye out for that.

The Amazing Pop Up Archives Project exhibition runs until the 16th March 2018.  Normal record office opening times apply.

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Collecting stories

That was what this was about. There are people out there with stories that will never be heard and this project was a way to tell them, a chance to be a part of something bigger in the long run.Emily for blog

There was uncertainty when this project began, a sense of unknowing, what we would do? Where it would take us? Who would be involved? We kept going. There were three of us to begin with, the three musketeers if you will, students of Highfields School, yet it gradually decreased to one, me. Three had gone down to Derbyshire Record Office, were introduced to the project, some of the people involved, it was interesting.

Wirksworth was the first event, a chapter covering two days. Placed on the vicarage lawn, tents housing a storyteller, dramatizing a mother’s opinion of her lady’s maid daughter’s letters from France, on how she hated the country, the food and the people. Another housed documents linking to the church and the town and the intrepid people who were faced with the task of deciphering the swirling handwriting. The sun shined over the people that day, but the wind bit the people within.

That day was the door to a wider space, one that would allow us to expand what we were trying to achieve, a collection of stories.

The second chapter was a car boot. One place where there was a greater sense of unknowing. There was a Lady of the Car Boot, collecting bits and bobs, nicks and knacks. There was cake and objects that people could find fascinating. One story told was that of the man who asked “what was being sold?” and in return was “records” to end with “have you got any Elvis”… what a day!

Next chapter was Ripley Music Festival. People of different backgrounds, professions and ages converged together to witness local music. Some visited our bright yellow tent near the playground opposite the stage, a tent that you could see from the end of the street. Filled with documents, maps, performers and archivists that wanted to hear your stories about the man that lived in the butchers at the end of the street from where you lived or that strange women that collected tins of sweets or even about how your cat escaped. It was fascinating. Everyone had a story to tell, most heart-warming of all was a man who had found a relative, one that he knew of but had never seen documentation of and a child who kept coming back for more with the promise of taking our accordion player on Britain’s Got Talent with her!

That day gave us the push that was needed to go into new places.

The final chapter was that of Gamesley. A place that was so closely intermingled yet so far apart. A divide between the new and the old, an estate so close that you could sneeze on one side to be offered a tissue at the other. There was a bucking bronco, barbecue, animals fluffy and feathered gathered together with this bright yellow tent placed in the centre. Stories collected there were intriguing, a man who remembered as a child playing on the tips, collecting circuit boards and taking them home to later in life becoming an electrician in New Zealand. Another of a man who as a boy played in an old hospital for diseases and turned to his mother when realisation kicked in to question “why?!” This was the last of the Amazing Pop Up Archives adventures, but one that rounded everything together. The efforts of the Musician, Storyteller, Poet, Student, Archivist, Photographers and Lecturer joined together to complete a story within its own right.

To end this story, there is the beginning of a new one. One that has become bigger than it was, one that would involve more people, collecting more tales and objects to have a place in history. Wirksworth was the beginning and Gamesley was an end.

But was it really?

We collected stories.

We gained knowledge.

We learned something new.

It’s the beginning of something more….

 

Emily Atkin,

Volunteer, the Amazing Pop Up Archives Project

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Stitching the Wars

Stitching the Wars was a two-year collaboration between older people in Derbyshire and arts organisation arthur+martha. It is the story of a community that survived two world wars and harsh poverty. It is a kind of documentary, constructed with recollection, poetry and the art of stitching. The project was led by artist Lois Blackburn, who met with local people to devise and stitch two quilts and gather reminiscence. Poet Phillip Davenport then worked with the groups to write poems from these reminiscences. Within the quilts many people speak, in voices rich with experience and feeling. In a sense their work is a history, and these quilts are the page on which it is written.

Stiching the wars

The quilt ‘A Bomber’s Moon’ describes the transforming effect of the First and Second World Wars on rural life. An ancient world of horses and humans is invaded by machines. The quilt is an aerial view of fields and hillsides, perhaps the view from the bomber of the title. Into this ‘landscape’ are sewn words and phrases which link to reminiscences and poems. Most participants were British, but a few were German and they contributed their own war memories. In this way the quilt speaks from both sides of the conflict, reaching towards a common human experience. Maybe this stitching helped to mend a few wounds.

The quilt ‘Fresh Air and Poverty’, describes a quieter war, the struggle everyday people made to keep their families fed and clothed in the years before, during and after the two World Wars. Here we find tramps on the march, children sleeping top to toe in crowded beds, and scrimping and saving is everywhere. But we also find delight in one another’s company; human warmth despite the cold.

Some of the quilt-makers were people with dementia, and it was noticed that stitching in a group, alongside reminiscence conversations, had a rewarding and beneficial effect. Using creativity, colour, touch and companionship to work to an ambitious goal, participants discovered the joy in remembering their early lives. These quilts are a communal act of remembering, a history made by community.

And it tells us: we are all made of this.

An exhibition of the quilts, poetry and reminiscences created throughout the project will be on show at the record office from Wednesday 4th October 2017 to Friday 4th January 2018 (normal opening hours apply).

(Image: Garry Lomas)

Horses and horticulture – Heritage Open weekend at Calke Abbey

Specially selected items from the Harpur-Crewe family archive, held at the record office, will return home to Calke Abbey this Saturday. It will be our third visit in as many years, and we are delighted to be invited back to this unique estate.

Visitors to the National Trust property can view original records of those who lived and worked at Calke. We are taking a fascinating selection of records with us, including family letters and diaries, photograph albums, tenant’s registers, maps and one of the oldest documents in the collection – a deed dating from the 12th century. This year we have been asked to include material relating to the gardens at Calke and the families’ interest in horses.

Our staff will be based in the Learning Room and will be on hand to talk to visitors about these historic documents and offer advice and information about the work of the record office and the services we offer.

As part of the Heritage Open weekends this event is free as is entry into the house, so come along and see us, we’ll be there from 12pm-4pm.

For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/calke-abbey or telephone Calke Abbey on 01332 863822.

Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derbyshire, DE73 7LE

I wonder what you miss if you stick to the path?

Pop Up Evaluator Sara looks back over The Amazing Pop Up Archives Project so far.

So how can the archives lead the story? We begin again from another place, another part of our own history with this project. As individuals, with our own unique interests, we begin to play with the Archives themselves. I follow Pop Up Project researcher Kate Henderson, with a handful of students and we are taken to The Local Studies Library. This feels how it should do, intuitive, personal, hands-on, and strangely collaborative. We are here together finding and sharing our own topics and places of interest in these archives. Of course many of the original documents in The Archive are irreplaceable, but here in the local studies library we can leaf through drawers and drawers of cards catalogued in often quite extraordinary ways in these Cabinets of Curiosity. Such cataloguing is often quirky, and curiously beautiful.

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As we call for and are brought the referenced published materials, the books, newspapers, articles, programmes, the photographs draw me in. They instil in me the idea of wonderment, of being privy to this extraordinary collection of wonders of Derbyshire, of wondering with purpose, of wonder for its own sake. I wonder what you miss if you stick to the path, how you wonder with ideas, how wonderment itself can become the framework of a process.

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All good things….

I can’t really believe it but we are just two days away from our final event for the Amazing Pop Up Archives Project!  Our project has been a few years in the making and now it seems rather strange that once Wednesday is over we won’t have any more exciting (and often a bit bizarre!) events to plan. Officially the project runs until the end of November, but that time will be spent writing case studies should other intrepid Pop Up projects wish to follow in our wake, designing an exhibition and prepping the project archive for cataloguing.

If you are up Gamesley way on Wednesday afternoon we will be ‘popping up’ at the annual Meet the Neighbours Day which takes place at Winster Mews.  In this event we will be focusing on the meaning of home and community.  We’ll have a range of records from our collections to spark conversation and lots for the kids to get involved in.  So come and see what the Story of the Silver Spoons, the song ‘Dirty Old Town’, a poem about green beans, a ‘domesday’ book, a cooking pot and an empty suitcase all have in common. The Amazing Pop Up Archives Project – bizarre to the last!

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