Weird Derbyshire and Peakland

If you’re interested in Derbyshire customs and folklore then take a trip to Buxton Museum and Art Gallery this autumn, where a free exhibition called ‘Weird Derbyshire and Peakland’ is on until 9 November. The exhibition features photographs by Richard Bradley, author of ‘Secret Chesterfield’ and ‘Secret Matlock and Matlock Bath’ so if you’re inspired to find out more, you can pick up the books at your local library.

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Derbyshire – and the Peak District, which spills over into the neighbouring counties of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Greater Manchester and South and West Yorkshire – has one of the highest concentrations of calendar customs in the UK. These encompass everything from rituals of very ancient (possibly Pagan) origin like the well dressings and the Castleton Garland Ceremony; to more modern alternative annual sporting contests dreamed up over a pint or three down the local pub. Examples of the latter include Bonsall Hen Racing, the Mappleton Bridge Jump, the Great Kinder Beer Barrel Challenge and the World Championship Toe Wrestling Championships.

DSCF0980 copyright Richard Bradley

The area is peppered with ancient stone circles such as Arbor Low and the Nine Ladies, which provide a strong ritual focus into the 21st Century, drawing visitors from around the world seeking answers to their own individual questions. In addition, a number of unusual old carvings…

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Flowers of remembrance

We’ve just archivally packaged a very touching group of items: dried flowers collected from the grave of Eleonar Gell (Sir John Franklin’s daughter) in Tredunnoc, Monmouthshire. They were mounted on black-edged card by her husband John Philip Gell for their seven children – Eleanor, Franklin, Philip, Mary, Henry, Alice and Lucy – and stored together in a blue cover.

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The date on the cards is that of Eleanor’s funeral, a few days after her death on 30 August 1860 – she was 36.

The flowers are still in remarkable condition and to keep them that way we’ve placed each card in an archival polyester sleeve and then made a folder to store them in so we keep them out of light.  We’ve then made another folder so we can keep the dried flowers together with the cover.

This memorial to a lost parent’s love should now be safe for at least another 160 years.

 

The Strange Case of the Wandering Spoon

Fantastic detective work from our colleagues at Buxton Museum!

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

I am working on a project funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation that is overseeing the re-homing of the objects from the School library Loans Service in Derby. This collection consists of paintings, studio pottery, archaeological, ethnographic and social history items. Sadly, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery can only keep a small percentage of this wonderful and eclectic mix of items. Through detective work that involves sifting through old records, myself and my colleague have been gathering information on where the items came from over the fifty years the service was collecting. We are contacting museums and community groups in the areas that these objects originate from to see if they would like the items so that they can have a new lease of life.

The Roman spoon at Buxton museum and Art Gallery

One of these items is a Roman silver spoon, elegant in its shape and practical in…

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The stilly night

For National Poetry Day, an excerpt from a poem by Thomas Moore, as copied out by William Howitt (1792-1879), from Heanor:

Oft in the stilly night

When slumber’s chain has bound me,

Fond mem’ry brings the light

Of other days around me;

The smiles, the tears

Of childhoods years,

The words of love then spoken;

The eyes that shone,

Now dim’d and gone,

The cheerful hearts, now broken.

Thus, in the stilly night,

When slumber’s chain has bound me,

Fond mem’ry brings the light

Of other days around me.

poem

 

 

Did You Know?

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, Works of Artistic Craftsmanship require an element of artistic merit not considered with most other types of artistic work.

The Act offers no definition for artistic merit, but it is generally accepted that a work of Artistic Craftsmanship requires skilled craftsmanship and is intended to have aesthetic appeal, e.g.                                                                                                                                                                            stained glass windows, bookbinding, needlework and designer clothing.

 

Another great result for Derbyshire heritage!

It was a wonderful night of celebrations on Tuesday 24th June when 130 guests attended the Biennial Regional Heritage Awards in the magnificent setting of the National Civil War Museum and Palace Theatre in Newark.

DRO and BMAG

 

The awards are organised and funded by Museum Development East Midlands and recognise excellence and innovation in museums, historic houses and heritage sites across the region.

There were a record number of 83 entries from 48 different organisations at this year’s awards, the competition was fierce and the judging team had some difficult decisions to make. The breadth and quality of the entries, and the range of organisations that had entered, really demonstrated how much extraordinary and excellent work is taking place in heritage organisations throughout the East Midlands.

The record office was up against stiff competition from 14 fantastic projects in the ‘Reaching New Audiences’ category and were awarded the Highly Commended prize for our ‘Amazing Pop Up Archives Project’.

We were also there to accept an award on behalf of our colleagues at Buxton Museum who won the ‘The Sky’s the Limit’ category for their ‘Hoards: a hidden history of ancient Britain’ exhibition.

Well done to all!

Derbyshire perspectives – reading landscape

Derbyshire artist Peter Knight celebrates his love of the craft of print media with the layered continuum of exploring this remarkable county.  His exhibition ‘Derbyshire perspectives – reading landscape’ is on show at the record office.

Here, Peter tells us about his work and inspiration.

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I’d always been interested in books and illustrated books in particular. I was developing my work with a strong printmaking approach and discovering historical work by George Cruickshank, politically focused and beautifully etched, and other historical graphic artists. I was struck by how ‘current’, applicable and entertaining their work was.

I enjoyed the combination of printmaking and book structures and crucially in the late 1980’s I had discovered letterpress which in my time was available cheaply from junk markets if not from skips.

I was researching the history of chapbooks and street literature, eventually writing a small article for the Society of Bookbinders newsletter as a by-product – I’m interested in traditional forms of book structure; methods materials and conservation – but informing my activity with plenty of references, prototypes and conceptual starting points in the process.

My work is varied in concept and starting point – exploring and recording the existential threat to life in ‘Four Horsemen Approaching’, exploring history and carved archetypes in ‘An Unreliable Derbyshire Bestiary’ and collecting and classifying flotsom and jetsom in ‘a Scottish Rainbow’.

The work stems from a love of printing in many forms.

My work is at its most basic, essentially focussing on recording and listing. It sometimes involves classification, e.g. ’Twigs that say Y’, but my locality and the history, geology and received narratives of ‘place’ are normally the starting point.

Additionally I produce engraved pop-up cards and letterpress ephemera as a strategy to break even and pay expenses which just allows me to keep producing in volume – and they are often, but not always, fun to do.

I paint in my studio in Wirksworth. I show work at bookart shows and print shows so there is often a bit of a cross-over effect of different print forms on my exhibition stalls. I decided to call my imprint ‘The Common Press Crich’ as I live on The Common.

For public consumption I continue, amongst other things, with my interest with the effects of lead mining in my locality in Derbyshire; mining landscape, mining place names, mining vein names, even the names of wildflowers that thrive on spoil tips are fascinating, see ‘Scrins, Flats and Pipes’.

Also it was printed as a page matrix on one sheet of etched metal so references basic book signature structures.

I’m a member of the Society of Bookbinders so I get exposed to a wide range of traditional and experimental approaches to bookbinding. A number of my books have variable structures that are not limited editions; they have been evolving with time, so they continue.

For my own consumption I continue with what I call ‘My Mnemosyne Atlas’ project. Started in earnest six years ago, it is a series of ‘perfect bound’ annual volumes that collect all the bits of reference material, drawing, photocopying, material ripped out magazines, text and found material; essentially the detritus that accumulates in sketchbooks and falls out when you give them a shake. It is literally the material that falls through the gaps. It is the marginalised supporting material that has no other existence – mainly for copyright reasons, it has an audience of one.

‘Derbyshire perspectives – reading landscape’ is at the record office from Thursday 19th September 2019 to Friday 17th January 2020.  Normal opening hours apply.

Peter will be giving an insight into printmaking techniques as they relate to his work in a talk ‘A drawn response to Derbyshire Landscape – printing from metal’ being held at the record office on Monday 30th September 2.30pm-3.30pm. The talk is free, click here to book a place.

 

 

Moon Stories

A invitation from our friends at Adverse Camber:

Moon Stories

An oral history project recording Derbyshire people’s memories of the 1969 Moon Landing and local stories about the Moon.

An invitation to share your story

Adverse Camber is one of the UK’s most celebrated storytelling companies, based amongst the historic mills in Cromford, Derbyshire. We work with some of the UK’s best storytellers and musicians from around the world to produce outstanding storytelling performances. We also run projects connecting people with storytelling in creative and involving way and have been working on projects with young people in care and care leavers to engage them with storytelling and astronomy.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, we have been awarded a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for the ‘Moon Stories’ project, to record over 40 Derbyshire people’s stories and memories of watching the first human walk on the Moon in 1969. The results will form a comprehensive archive to be kept at the Derbyshire Records Office and also to be used by the young people as inspiration to create art.

We are looking for Derbyshire residents who would like to share their Moon stories and memories.

On Saturday 28 September 2019 our team of young people will be at Derby Cathedral at the same time as the spectacular, Museum of the Moon as part of Derby Festé – ready to record your story! We will be allocating time slots between 10.30am and 3pm and each session will last for around 30 minutes.

If you would like to share your memories please get in touch with the Moon Stories Project Coordinator, Jan Reynolds at jan.reynolds37@gmail.com or 07446343114.  If leaving a phone message, please say if you would prefer a morning or afternoon slot and make sure to leave your name and contact details so we can get back to you as soon as possible.

We look forward to hearing from you!

The Adverse Camber team.

To find out more about Moon Stories, follow this link.

Moon Stories is being developed in collaboration with Derbyshire Virtual School and has also received support from the Royal Astronomical Society so young people can learn more about lunar science. Adverse Camber is also grateful for support from Derbyshire Record Office, East Midlands Oral History Archive and Scopes4SEN.

Jan Reynolds

07446343114

Adverse Camber Project Manager for Moon Stories’  Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund  and the Royal Astronomical Society

Participation Associate Adverse Camber Productions

http://www.adversecamber.org

Did You Know?

Music

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act defines              Musical Works as:

“Original works combining melodies and harmonies, of any date, which are capable of being performed to produce sounds appreciated by the ear, and which are recorded in writing or some other form.”

 

However, “sounds appreciated by the ear” is undefined in the Act, but is not subjective.

woman wearing leather jacket with tongue out

Take a tour of H.M.S. Terror

Our  Discovering Franklin project to catalogue and preserve the archives relating to Sir John Franklin is nearly finished.  Within the next couple of months we will be publishing the brand new and very detailed catalogue of the collection.  We will also be launching online exhibitions and images for people to explore through an exciting new venture which we are tantalisingly keeping under wraps until we have a definite launch date.

Whilst you’ll have to wait a little longer for our Franklin material, do take a look at an amazing video which Parks Canada have just released giving an underwater tour of H.M.S. Terror, one of Franklin’s ships which disappeared in the Canadian Arctic nearly 175 years ago and was rediscovered in 2016.

Excitingly, their latest exploration shows that records of the expedition are likely to be sitting in the ships, waiting to be recovered.  Just imagine being the archivist who gets to catalogue that material!