I love it when a plan comes together…

… with the original survey book alongside which it was created.

Plans and survey books are easily separated.  They are superficially very different: a survey may look like a standard hardback of several pages, and the plan that goes with it may be a single sheet, rolled up or folded.  The difference in size and shape means the pair of items are unlikely to be stored on the same shelf or in the same box.  In fact, each might be so useful on its own that from time to time, their custodians forget that they two items were designed to complement one another.

Here’s how they work together.  See the plot numbered 358 on this poor rate plan of Brimington dating from 1827? I have highlighted it with a black arrow.

D177 A PC 37

If I want to find out more about it, I can look at the survey book, and see that it was a Blacksmith’s shop and hovel, owned and occupied by George Richards, amounting to three perches in area.

D636 A PO 1

When Brimington Parish Council was created, as a consequence of the Local Government Act of 1894, the civil functions of Brimington parish began to be administered under a separate authority for the first time.  The church parish, meanwhile, retained its ecclesiastical duties.  In the division of assets, whether by accident or design, the new parish council got to keep the book, while the church held on to the plan.  Come the 1960s, each of these bodies began to deposit its historic records here, so that the survey and plan ended up in separate collections.

Today I added a cross-reference to the catalogue, and I believe it was the first time that anyone at our end had linked the two things together – although I gather from a researcher who visited today that both documents are mentioned by Philip J Cousins in his “Brimington : the changing face of a Derbyshire village”, published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the parish council.

If you ever want to visit us to use the documents in our search room, or order a paid search of their contents, here are the all-important reference numbers: the book is D636/A/PO/1, and the plan is D177/A/PC/37.

A thank-you letter from Mr and Mrs Dunn

A researcher was in our searchroom recently, working on a book of trustees’ minutes from Bethel Methodist Chapel, Brimington, and came across this letter, pasted into the volume:

Minute book of Bethel Chapel trustees, Brimington

Minute book of Bethel Chapel trustees, Brimington

The full thing reads:


On behalf of Mrs Dunn and myself, I have pleasure in acknowledging the splendid Bible with which you so kindly favoured us upon the occasion of our recent marriage, and we beg to assure you how deeply we appreciate the gift, commemorating as it does, the first marriage solemnized within the walls of the Chapel of which we are both members, and we trust that our lives may be ruled by its message.

Again thanking you gentlemen, I am,

Sincerely yours,

William Dunn

If an excuse is needed for posting this, I’ll say that thank-you letters are always topical in January.  If that sounds a bit thin, let’s just say it was a heart-warming thing to encounter, ergo worth sharing.  And another thing…

  • You can tell this letter was meaningful to the trustees because the clerk pasted it into the volume so that it could be preserved.  However, I will bring this volume to the attention of our conservators; I’m confident they will tell me that the glue holding the letter in place isn’t helping its long-term future, and it will need to come out at some point.  We will then need to put a note on the catalogue saying which pages it was found between, because That Sort of Thing can be important.  For that reason, if you do ever come across an additional leaf in a volume in our archives, whether it is pasted, sellotaped, stapled or just left loose, do let a staff member know – but leave the page where it is until we get a chance to deal with it.
  • The last marriage to be solemnized in the chapel was in 1965, when it closed.  At that point, the church amalgamated with Brimington Trinity Methodist Chapel and moved to a new building on Hall Road.  The building was erected on the site where once had stood the Zion United Methodist Free Church, and the amalgamated body was called simply Brimington Methodist Church.  And it is still going today.
  • If you browse the catalogue for  Bethel Methodist Chapel, Brimington, you may notice that the marriage registers are not actually included.  That’s because they are part of a rather large artificial collection of records from various Methodist churches, D1820.  I would direct you to the catalogue entry for the collection, but the list attached to it is incomplete – that means a little more work for the FindersKeepers project, I fear.