Last night, while others spending an evening at school may have been watching the typical (or less typical) Christmas nativity, I was privileged to attend Stonelow Junior School to see the year 6 give a dramatic presentation for Dronfield 2017: Stories from the First World War.
For the last 12 months, the pupils have been researching the history of their town and it’s people, including some of soldiers who fought in the war. With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and led by the brilliant Gertie and Paul Whitfield from Whitworks Adventures in Theatre, pupils visited different museums, businesses and organisations. In Feb 2017, I visited the school taking a selection of old Dronfield records, photographs and history books to help the pupils with their research.
Posters created by the pupils to show information found from Record Office sources
Informed and inspired by diaries, letters, newspapers, service records, church registers and many other sources, the pupils brought their local “ancestors” to life with poems, songs, a silent movie re-enactment, imagined postcards and letters and recollections from the past. Remembering facts and figures, stories and feelings, it was a fantastic way to present what they had learned – including a verse of Silent Night in the original German.
I couldn’t help but read the pupils project diaries and see what they thought of the Record Office visit…
Me and Lucy looked at a church catalogue. It had people’s personal information. It was really interesting to learn about what names and jobs they used to have… The writing was really weird, it had a lot of swirls and flicks on it… It was quite hard to read but we managed. It was really fragile because it was over 100 years old. We found our school [on the new map] but couldn’t see it on the [older] maps because it was just a big field! As a result it was a very interesting day – Chloe
We read old smelling dirt like books to find out more about the courageous people and all about the fascinating WW1… We needed to open the book son the cushion because the book was so old… It was a really fun afternoon – Charlotte
Rebecca from Derbyshire Archives was kind enough to come and visit us. She brought in records and interesting materials linked to WW1… we made a poster about… “what like was like in WW1”. We put down lots of information…
… I thought it was very good… it was very fascinating… We looked at some very interesting ration books. They also looked very ANCIENT. Overall I had a great time and recommend learning about WW1! And I was very proud of our poster – Aimee
I found it different to look at all the old documents and see what life was like back in World War One times without actually going back in time to 1916 – Abigail
Did you know that ladies used to wear hats. It was very rare not to. I found it interesting that in WW1 diarrhoea was a problem… little children could easily die from it – Ruby
Last Thursday we were looking through real, old archives from WW1… We started looking at a map, they were really cool because in the older map our school was just a field. Afterwards we were told to look through books on what life was like in WW1. I was very interested by all the information – Fay
“… it was a fascinating day I learnt a lot and hope she comes again” – Chloe
“When I was reading I noticed that the writing was squiggly in the log books” – Alexander
“My personal favourite is the church record book. It had in it all the names, birth and their jobs. I felt so privled [?privileged] and excited to find out what jobs were in 1917. The writing kept going column after column and the writing was big and scary but some of it was so fancy”
You can soon see a copy of the book produced as part of the project in our Local Studies collection and in Dronfield Library.
How? Why? What? Where?
Discover how Derbyshire Record Office and Derbyshire Libraries can help during our series of events at Long Eaton Library in September and November
Tuesday 19th September, 9.30am-12noon – Family History Online
Tuesday 10th October, 9.30am-12noon – Maps and Photographs
Monday 13th November 2.00pm to 4.30pm – History of Buildings
with original archives from Derbyshire Record Office
Tuesday 5th December 9.30am to 12pm – Old Newspapers
All events are free, but please book your place at by calling Long Eaton Library on 01629 531470 or emailing email@example.com
Web: Long Eaton Library
Late last Spring I began what came to be a rather extensive piece of research into the development of the archives part of Derbyshire Record Office. After so much work I wanted to share what I had found, and on Monday we ran an event featuring a talk about the history of the archives service, an exhibition of our own archives (by which I mean the records we actually created rather than those we look after on behalf of the county) and a behind-the-scenes tour of some of the record office building. We couldn’t do the whole building as it is so big, and to be honest once you have seen one or two of our strong rooms, you have really seen the other 12 or 13 (yes, we do have 14 in total for archives and local studies).
I hope many of the people who read this blog are interested to hear how the record office has developed, and I do intend to write further posts in the future so please watch this space. For now here are a few photographs from the event
In April 1962, Miss Joan Sinar was appointed as the first County Archivist for Derbyshire. In the 55 years since this landmark was reached, whilst much has changed at the Record Office the basic principle of preserving Derbyshire’s archival heritage and providing access to it has remained constant. However, 1962 may not have been the true beginning of Derbyshire’s archive service.
On Monday 14 August, join us to find out more about the history of the Record Office and record keeping in Derbyshire. There will also be a display of original archives illustrating the development of the Derbyshire’s archival heritage, and a unique opportunity for a behind the scenes tour.
Monday 14th August 2017
Cost: £10 (including light refreshments)
Booking essential. Please register via the link to the right, or call 01629 538347
Sorting through a records of the Record Office earlier this week, I came across a small bundle of copy photographs of images elsewhere in the archive collections. The images were rather eclectic in their subject matter, featuring photographs from World War One, family and industrial photographs, and I browsed through them again whilst waiting for a staff meeting to begin on Monday morning. There was one in particular that was a little more obscure, it puzzled us for a little while and then tickled us when we realised what it was. Take a look for yourself and see what you make of it…
A wooden panel with the title ‘Cemetery’ above … what we didn’t know. When we looked a little closer we saw three words that told us everything we needed to know and amused us in the process. These words were ‘Ferodo’ and ‘brake lining’ – it is a cemetery of the brake linings manufactured by Chapel-en-le-Frith based Ferodo.
(Apologies for the poor images – they are a photographs of a photograph of a photograph!)
We already knew the company and their staff had a good sense of humour and imagination from other items we hold in their archive collection, including our Treasure #26 Ferodo’s imaginative advertising.
This particular photograph comes from an album featuring images from the the company’s factory, Rye Flatt House at Combs in the small collection of papers of Herbert Frood, the firm’s founder, (ref: D5700). The main archive for the company is held under reference D4562, with a wide range of records relating to production, staff and promotional materials. My favourite item from the collection is not actually an archive, but an artefact…
Mounted display of original brake lining used by `Babs’ who broke the land speed record in 1927 and was buried later that year following an accident that resulted in the death of the driver, John Parrry-Thomas.
This is not my title, but the title given by Daniel Parker Coke to one of the cases he provided legal advice for over 200 years ago. Of the 40 or so cases he records in this particular notebook (one of five in our collection), there are several being similar to each other (for example, several relating to the settlement of a pauper and the right to an apprentice). There are also several that give us an insight into the position of women and the way they are viewed by the men in and out of their lives. This is one such case in which the former lover (Richard) of a young woman (Hannah) who has apparently had children by at least one other man. The parish and Quarter Sessions feature a number of cases of child maintenance and bastardy, this one however, is from a slightly different angle, with the father of Hannah claiming damages against Richard as his daughter has been unable to fulfill all her servants duties.
Here is the transcript from his notebook, which begins with the letter he received (abbreviations expanded):
Please to answer this Law Question. I was at Lenton wake this week at a friends of mine Mr John Hopkin a reputable farmer. He has a nephew Richard Potter a Farmer that I know & lives at Trowell in the County of Nottingham & he being a young man made love to a young woman of the same village Hannah Hewitt a Farmer’s Daughter & after some time they differed & parted & after she had a child by one Robert Whitehead a blacksmith of the same village of Trowell & since then Richard Potter has had connections with her but he solemnly says not of above a year past & now she brought to bed of another child & her father Hewitt has employed Mr Bolton the Attorney to bring an Action against Richard Potter for Trespass & the loss of his Daughter’s service who acted in the capacity of Servant & has served Potter with a Declaration he has employed Mr Evans and Middlemen & expects a Trial at the next Assize for the County of Nottingham. Now Honoured Sir I should be glad to have your private opinion on the Case. Mr Hopkin is a freeholder of Nottingham & strongly attached to your Interest & Richard Potter & his two Brothers are in the Derby Yeomanry & has been exercising this morning Thursday on Breadsall Moor or Common. Note Richard Potter is married about a Month past. Note Hannah Hewitt has not sworn the Child if she does & swears it to Potter he knows he must maintain the Child though he says it’s none of his. Your most Humble and Obedient Servant, Wright Hawley
Parker Coke’s reply dated the following day reads:
This is an unpleasant business to Mr Potter as he admits he has had a connection with Hannah Hewitt which will undoubtedly be proved by her as she may be a witness in the Action which is brought by her father. The Action is brought for Seduction & if is founded upon the loss of service. And if it should turn out to be a strong Case the Damage may be considerable. At all events the Verdict must necessarily be against Potter with some Damages which will be followed by the Costs of the Cause so that upon the whole the Expence to Mr Potter must be considerable. What I would recommend to him is to compromise the matter by offering a sum of money – if the Cause should come into Court it will probably be referred by the Judge as these Causes are seldom tried I would therefore advise Mr Potter if they cannot agree upon the sum of money to be given to offer to leave it to one two or three friends as Arbitrators & if Hannah Hewitt’s character should be proved to be (as it is here stated) that of a common woman the Damages will probably be small
Too often I think we think of such complicated relationships as being a modern occurrence, but this account shows this is not the case.
D1881/UL – Coke of Brookhill Family Papers
Have you seen us in the latest issue of Who do you think you are? magazine? There’s a whole Derbyshire feature with a special focus on the family history resources available at the Record Office, plus a directory of other local services and online resources for Derbyshire family history
If you have a Derby or Derbyshire library card, you can read the full feature via the libraries e-magazine service – find out more and how to access the magazine by clicking here
A post from Bernadette currently on a work placement at the Record Office
As part of my work placement at the Record Office, I currently working on a transcript of information gathered from the Derbyshire County Council Air Raid Precaution’s Register of Occurrence’s (Ref: D4710/1).On the first page of the register I came across the occurrence at Melbourne, which lead me to do further researching.
On 11th July 1940 at the Blue Bell Inn, 53 Church Street, Melbourne, Derbyshire, bomb damage and deaths occurred at around 8.10 a.m. 9 people were killed and 15 were wounded. Two buildings at the rear of the Blue Bell Inn and part of the boot factory near the grange were also damaged.
There must have been a lot of chaos, due it being the time of day when folk are getting up for the day ahead, it would have woken folk in the area from their beds. It was good job that the incident didn’t happen when the inn was open at the time and when the boot factory was open for business, otherwise the casualties could have been a lot higher.
Ordnance Survey Map showing the location of the Blue Bell Inn Melbourne.
From the Melbourne Church of England Junior Boys School Log Book, 1933 – 1942 (Ref: D3575/1/5) on 11th July 1940 it was noted that there was considerable damage in the town. You would think people would have stayed away, but in fact only 5 boys and 2 members of staff didn’t turned up for school that day, one had her house badly damaged.
Yet, the Head Master at the Senior School called the Director of Education, it was agreed by the Director that the school be closed for the day. If I was in their shoes I would have been traumatised by the incident, especially being a child. School did open the following morning, with 33 of the pupil’s being absent in the morning and 35 in the afternoon and this isn’t surprising with the upheaval caused by the incident. It must have taken weeks for normality to come back to the surrounding area.
WATCH THIS SPACE… the completed transcript will be accessible via the online catalogue in the near future – we will let you know when it is
Come and join us at Alfreton Library today, discover local treasures from the archives, old photos with Picture the Past, dress up through the decades, touch and feel everyday objects from the recent past and explore the tracks of our lives from the 50s to the 80s – We’re here until 4pm, come down and say hello and share your memories of Alfreton and Derbyshire
A recipe for Lobster Curry, from Clara Palmer-Morewood’s recipe book
Get fresh boiled lobsters, and take as much of the meat, spawn & head as will be about a pound. Melt a table spoonful of butter in a stew pan, and add to it the Lobster and two table spoonful of fish curry paste to be had of the oilmen (not powder) and one and a half wine glass of cold water; stew quickly for fifteen minutes, and it is done –
Le Papier de Nouvelle
An oilman was usually the person who sold or filled the oil for lamps – more investigation required as to where to buy fish curry paste in 1837. Unless anyone out there already knows?
For a list of other recipes in this book, belonging to Clara Palmer-Morewood of Alfreton Hall see our catalogue, ref: D7555/1