The building plans of Osmaston Manor – now ready for use

You may recall a previous blog post about Osmaston Manor, describing the accidental rediscovery of some building plans.  They had not been listed (perhaps because of their poor condition) but nor had they been repaired, and their existence had been more or less forgotten.

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They have now been cleaned and packaged and, in some cases, repaired. They have also been described in clearer terms in the D1849 catalogue.  If you would like to have a look at these records, you can order them out for use in the search room or you can log on to one of our Netloan computers and look for CD number 397, which contains good quality copies.

Preserving Your Past at DRO tomorrow

As part of the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site Discovery Days festival, I will be holding a talk at the Record Office tomorrow to explain how you can protect your family’s photographs, letters, diaries, etc. so they will survive to be enjoyed by generations to come.  You’re welcome to stay on after the talk for individual advice.

Place: Derbyshire Record Office, Matlock

Date: Tuesday 25 October

Time: 2pm to 3.30pm

There are still a few places available; the event is free, but booking is essential – call the Discovery Days booking number,  01629 536831.

Come along and prevent your precious memories being destroyed by insects or mould:

insect-damage       silverfish-damage-photograph

mould

Derbyshire Heritage Awards Success!

Our Mining the Archives project won the Behind the scenes at the museum category of the 2016  Derbyshire Heritage Awards!  A big thank you to the judges for appreciating the quality of the work, to the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust for their funding and to Clare Mosley, Madeleine Marshall and Ian Maver for their hard work and expertise.

 

behind-the-scenes-winner-dro

Lien Gyles and Sarah Chubb receiving the award

 

Congratulations also to our colleagues at Buxton Museum, who won the Young people in heritage category, and to all organisations who entered projects. The evening highlighted the imagination, creativity, determination and enthusiasm that thrives throughout the heritage sector in Derbyshire – a full list of winners and highly commended projects is on the Facebook page of the Derbyshire Museums and Heritage Forum.

all-winners-and-highly-commended

All the winners and Highly Recommended projects

Preserving Your Past at Chesterfield Museum on 11 August

If you’re in Chesterfield tomorrow (Thursday 11 August), why not pop in to Chesterfield Museum and find out how to look after your old family letters and photographs?  My Preserving your Past talk starts at 1.00pm and explains how our treasured possessions can get damaged and what you can do to ensure they’ll survive for future generations to enjoy.  Feel free to bring along letters, books and photographs if you would like some specific advice after the talk – I’ll be there till the museum closes at 4.00pm.

 

 

Mining the Archives Project – Conservation finished

For those of you who followed Clare’s posts about the work she was doing on our two very badly damaged lead mining account books: the conservation is now finished.  Clare went on maternity leave a few months ago (a boy!), but we were lucky enough to be able to recruit newly qualified paper conservator Madeleine Marshall to finish off the project.  Clare’s last post described how she washed all the pages of the 18th century volume, so let me explain what happened next…

Once all the pages were clean, they needed to be repaired so they would be safe to be handled again.  You can see in the photographs how Madeleine carefully needles out infills for the missing areas – basically we put new hand made paper where the original paper has crumbled away. We also sandwich the page between two sheets of very thin tissue, made from manila fibres, which gives it extra strength without obscuring the writing.  To stick it all together we make up our own adhesive, wheat starch paste, so we don’t add any potentially damaging chemicals to the documents.

 

D307 B 19 1 Maddie repairs 03

Needling out the repair

 

D307 B 19 1 Maddie repairs 01

Laying the repair in its place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The repaired pages are then re-assembled in their book sections and re-sewn:

D307 B 19 1 repaired sections trimmed 02

The repaired sections

 

D307 B 19 1 re-sewing

Sewing the textblock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we have our textblock we attach new boards:

D307 B 19 1 re-binding

Then we cover the book in book cloth:

D307 B 19 1 boards covered 01

The newly covered book drying out under weights

 

 

During the project we managed to turn this jigsaw puzzle

D7925 puzzling the pieces

Clare puzzling the pieces

 

into these readable sheets

D7925 after repairs

Fragments we couldn’t place with 100% certainty have been encapsulated, so they can still be examined

 

and this disintegrating book

D307 B 19 1 volume before repairs

into this readable one

D307 B 19 1 rebound

If you’d like to see either the actual volumes or their digitised images, ask for D7925 (the 19th century former jigsaw puzzle) and D307/B/19/1 (the 18th century rebound volume).

We remain grateful to the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust for their funding.

Dronfield History

In 2015 Dronfield Heritage Trust published 2 of the last books by the late David Hey, who lived in Dronfield Woodhouse from 1974, and was a trustee of Dronfield Hall Barn project. He had been actively involved in the local history of the area for many years. We have recently added them to our collection.

Dronfield book covers

The Houses of the Dronfield Lead Merchants. A surprise to many people, is that the oldest houses in Dronfield were built with profits from the lead trade. The first chapter summarises the lead industry in Derbyshire, and the book goes on to give details of the individual properties. It’s illustrated throughout with maps, and photographs, and there are separate short paragraphs defining terms, such as “Fother – the measure of weight by which 2 boles of lead were sold.” The history of the Rotherham family is also covered, as they were one of the most successful long established families in the Dronfield lead trade. Each chapter has notes and references listed at the end of the book for anyone who wishes to do further research.

Medieval and Tudor Dronfield, begins by looking at the ancient parish of Dronfield. The present landscape in and around Dronfield has retained some of its medieval history. Roads, fields, woods and hamlets are discussed as well as the Parish Church. The parish was influenced by Beauchief Abbey long before it became responsible for it. There is a chapter on Timber framed building, and the final chapter gives details of Dronfield Hall Barn. Again it’s illustrated with drawings, maps and photographs and notes and references for each chapter at the end.

Both books are a fitting addition to the many other items David Hey wrote during his career.

Free talk: Preserving Your Past

Many of us have our own little (or even quite large) archive at home: letters, photographs, diaries and other treasures that remind us where we’ve come from and bring us close to loved ones who aren’t around anymore. If you’d like to find out how best to care for these unique family heirlooms, do come along to the Derby Family History Festival on Wednesday 8 June at Derby Central Library, where I will be delivering a talk at 12.30 entitled ‘Preserving Your Past’.  I’ll explain how paper and other records get damaged and what you can do to protect your archive, so you can pass it on safely to future generations.

The Record Office will be there all day with a stall as well and there are lots of other talks and activities going on, as you can see on the poster:

 

poster 3

 

poster 2

We hope to see you there!

 

Butterley Gangroad Project

Gangroad

Butterley Gangroad also known as Crich Rail-way was built in 1793.  It was one of the earliest Derbyshire Railways and the first to be built by Benjamin Outram. The first steam locomotive was also used there in 1813.  A group of local people formed the Butterley Gangroad Project of Derbyshire Archaeological Society in 2013 to research the railway supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This type of railway had cast iron rails, and waggons were often pulled by horses or used gravity and counter balance on inclines. They were used to bring coal and minerals to the canals to improve transport in areas where canals weren’t economical. There were many such lines linking with the Cromford Canal.

Benjamin Outram was born in Alfreton and his father had a small foundry in Ripley. He trained as a surveyor and worked for William Jessop on the Cromford Canal. He created the famous Butterley Works near Ripley to make use of the local iron and coal reserves. He was interested in plateways, early railways which used “L” shaped rails and waggons with flangeless wheels, and improved the concept to allow heavier loads to be carried. Trains of waggons could be pulled by teams or “gangs” of horses which was much more economical. The Butterley Company exported railway technology all over the country.

The first of these rail-ways, which was about a mile long, is at Crich, and ran between a limestone quarry established by the Butterley Company there and a wharf on the Cromford Canal at Bullbridge. In 2015 the Butterley Gangroad Project published the above book of their research including a section reviewing documents in our collection at Derbyshire Record Office. The work also contains plans, photographs and other details of their research and they have donated copies to Derbyshire Libraries.

If you would like to see which Derbyshire libraries have a copy apart from ourselves, or request a copy you can do so here

Thoughts of Summer Meadows…

Flora 

The bright sunshine today streaming through our windows was a relief from the dull wet days of the last few months. It brought to mind Alan Willmot and Nick Moyes new “Flora of Derbyshire”, ISBN 9781874357650, which we bought for our Local Studies Collection. A flora of the county hasn’t been produced since 1969, and this new work describes the occurrence and distribution of over 1,900 wild flowers, trees, conifers, ferns, horsetails and clubmosses, and has taken 18 years of work to produce.

 It’s illustrated in colour with English and scientific names for each species, and information about habitats and conservation status, and is set to become a standard reference work for the county. The Derbyshire Red Data List of the most threatened plants is also included which will be a useful resource for naturalists and conservationists.

 As well as distribution maps and colour photographs of many species there are also a chapters on “Where to see plants in Derbyshire”, and “Derbyshire – its landscapes and vegetation”. Just right for planning some walks in the spring and summer.

If you would like to see which Derbyshire libraries have a copy apart from ourselves, or request a copy you can do so here

 

Mining the Archives exhibition

If you’ve been following Clare’s posts about the conservation work she’s been doing on lead mining related documents, you’ll be interested to know that our current exhibition features this project.  You can see how Clare has carried out repairs and we even have some of the pieces of 18th century lead we found tucked away in the pages of the account book on display.  The other half of the exhibition shows how the conservation team looks after our collections, making sure they don’t get eaten by pests, destroyed by mould or damaged in any other way while they’re in our care.

Clare was interviewed about the project and exhibition by Andy Potter from Radio Derby last week.  You can listen to the programme on the BBC website; the interview starts about 1 hour and 43 minutes into the show.

This free exhibition is on in our reception’s Vitrine Wall until Saturday 30 January, during normal opening hours.