Join us here at the Record Office on Thursday 23 November from 10.30 to 12.00 to celebrate Explore Your Archives week with a talk and demonstration on how we repair paper and parchment documents. It’s a free event, but with limited places, so booking is essential. The easiest way to book a place is via our Eventbrite page, or call us on 01629 538347.
Please be aware that although the talk will be delivered in a room accessible via a lift, the conservation studio – where the practical demonstration will be held – is on the second floor and can only be reached via stairs.
Have you started shopping for presents yet? It’s that time of year again when we’re all racking our brains, trying to come up with something original for loved ones who already seem to have everything. To help you be super-organised, we’re offering 50% off our Adopt A Piece of History scheme throughout November. That means that during November:
- You can adopt any one of our 50 Treasures for only £10.00. They include our oldest record from 1115, a railway plan, a gardening book, a parish register, a beautifully hand-drawn map, ramblers guides, a Rolls Royce photograph, an artist’s tools and many more (see the full list on our 50 Treasures page). Simply fill in the form, tell us whose name to put on the certificate and we’ll email it to you.
- You can adopt anything at all from our collections for only £17.50. The parish register that mentions great-great-grandparents, an old map of a well-loved area, your favourite of our Woodward cartoons, an old school log book – feel free to browse our catalogue for inspiration. Again, simply fill in the form giving us the reference number and a brief description of the item, as well as the name to put on the certificate, and we’ll email it to you.
- You can let someone become a part of Derbyshire’s history for only £50.00. Choose any item from our collections and tell us the reason for the adoption. We will add your reason to the certificate and the adoption itself will be recorded in our official Register of Adopters, thereby immortalising the recipient, you and the reason for the adoption.
Full details of the scheme are on our Adopt A Piece of History page.
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.
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)
Among our work, we have been creating a database from Derbyshire National Union of Mineworkers’ tribunal cases relating to illness and injury. Among the many injuries, illnesses and diseases, were those caused by visits to and working in the pithead baths.
Before the construction of pithead baths at collieries, miners would travel to and from work in dirty, damp clothes. Pithead baths were first discussed by the Mineworkers Federation of Great Britain at its annual conference in 1910 but for many reasons, ranging from worry over illnesses to a proposed charge for using the baths, there was difficulty in persuading miners that pithead baths were needed.
The first baths in Derbyshire were opened at Grassmoor colliery in December 1929. By the late 1930s ten of the county’s collieries, including Markham colliery, had pithead baths. In the late 1940s the Ministry of Fuel and Power decided that every pithead bath should have an attached medical centre. By the beginning of 1947 pithead baths had been built at 366 collieries across the UK with provision for 450,000 men.
The main two groups of injuries and diseases that we have come across resulting from pithead bath use have been slipping and/or falling and skin diseases such as dermatitis and athlete’s foot.
There were strict rules about using the baths (picture courtesy of National Coal Mining Museum for England):
Each colliery might have their own set of rules, too. This is from the Markham Collieries: ‘The Bather’s Handbook’ [1935-1939] (our ref D1920):
The pithead baths at this Colliery (no longer in use of course!) certainly put the accidents suffered by both the staff and bath attendants and the miners themselves into context.
The pithead bath locker rooms could be dangerous places if the miners were eager to get home after their shift!
A very clear message!
We had a visit from one of our adopters recently, who adopted a parish register last year. She was thrilled to be able to handle her adopted record and commented on how lovely the certificate is and how wonderful it is to have that extra connection with her past.
If you’d like to adopt one of our fifty treasures or anything else from our collection, either for yourself or as a gift, place your order on our Adopt A Piece of History page.
Have you ever worried that your old letters, certificates, photographs, maps and diaries are getting damaged whenever you handle them? You want to share them with the family, give everyone the opportunity to connect with long-gone relatives, but you can see creases gradually turning into tears. And what about those framed photographs hanging on the walls? They are fading in the light, changing gradually, getting irrevocably damaged. The best way to keep all these treasures safe, is to make copies: this allows you to store the originals out of harm’s way, while the copies can be handled and displayed. With a digital copy you can even print off as many duplicates as you like, as often as you need them.
We have been copying our records in order to protect them for a long time, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve opened up our copying service to everyone, from individuals to heritage organisations: we can now digitise your history for you.
Our experienced staff, using the same equipment they use for all the historic records we hold, are able to digitise:
- diaries, journals and other bound volumes
- letters, certificates and other documents
- maps and plans
- drawings, watercolours and prints
What are the advantages of trusting Derbyshire Record Office with your family’s history?
- We have a state of the art digitisation system, including a book cradle for safely copying bound volumes.
- Our staff are highly trained in handling delicate historic records.
- Whilst in our care, you records will be kept safe in one of our secure archive stores.
- We provide high quality images of at least 300 pixels per inch (ppi).
- We give you the choice between TIFF files, which have a very high resolution but take up a lot of space and can be slow to open, or Jpegs, which have a smaller resolution, but take up a lot less space.
- We put the images on a CD for you for free, or for a small charge on a USB stick
To ask for a quote, simply fill in a Digitising History quote request form on our website.
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
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
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.
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.