Societies and Voluntary Bodies

A guide to the archives of charities and self-help societies such as associations for the prosecution of felons, friendly societies and nursing associations as well as societies with a social purpose.

Charities

Major series of charity records concern education, almshouses, or general and parish interests.  Educational charities are chiefly about the maintenance of a school and provision of schooling for poor children in their locality, while those relating to almshouses (hospitals) deal with the building and running of these institutions.

Returns and other records from Derbyshire charities to the Charity Commission from 1886 can be found under reference D2723.   A list of all the archive collections for Derbyshire charities held at the Record Office can be found via our online catalogue.  The following links can also be used to browse shorter lists by type of charity:

Note: where charities fall into more than one category, they are found in all appropriate lists.

Co-operative Societies

The modern Co-operative Society originated with the 28 poor weavers calling themselves the Equitable Pioneers of Rochdale, and the food shop they opened in 1844.  Food the poor could afford was often heavily adulterated and the Rochdale Pioneers chief object was to supply pure food.  They bought wholesale, sold at reasonable prices and divided the profits amongst members as dividend.  From the 1850s, the movement spread rapidly, particularly in the North and Midlands.  The co-operative societies also increased the range of goods sold, expanded into the provision of services such as undertaking and widened their objectives to include the promotion of education, some providing scholarships, organising cultural (and social) events and paying evening class fees.

A list of archive collections of Co-operative Societies can be found via the online catalogue.  It is also worth searching the Any Text field for other items relating to these societies that might be amongst family and other archive collections – there are over 250 entries containing the words co-operative (or cooperative) society.

Friendly/Benefit/Sick Societies

Mutual self-help societies have existed for centuries, for example, medieval trade guilds.  In the mid-18th century, the principle was applied to social concerns too and operated as insurance.  Members of the society would pay a subscription and then be able to submit a claim if they were sick or unable to work, and depending on the society’s rules, their families may have been able to claim after the member’s death.

The Friendly Society Act of 1793, and subsequent amendments, required the deposit with the Clerk of the Peace of a variety of documents relating to these societies.  (The Unlawful Societies Act of 1799 led, slightly indirectly, to the registration of freemasons’ lodges – they were exempt from the provision of the Act if their members’ were certified annually).  The surviving documents can be found under reference Q/RS/2Click here for a list of collections relating to mutual benefit societies.

Associations/Societies for the Prosecution of Felons

Prosecuting societies were common before the establishment of police forces in the 1830s.  They offered rewards for information and paid the expenses of prosecuting offenders.  A small number of archive collections survive for Derbyshire association, please see the catalogue for a full list.  Other collections also include items relating to these organisations, so a search of the Any Text field is always useful.

PC & the Pedal Crankers ‘flying the flag for Great British Cycling’

Whilst researching for our forthcoming ‘Have bike, will travel’ exhibition, I came across a reference to an ‘audio disc’ featuring a song by ‘PC & the Pedal Crankers’ which turned out to be a 7inch single featuring the songs ‘Ride Your Bicycle’ and ‘The Bike Ride Song.’

The only information we have is that it was for a Derby Police charity bike ride event in 1987, and that  PC & the Pedal Crankers were Kevin Jackson, Keith Jackson, Carole Jackson and Trevor Coakley.  It was produced by Mick Vaughan and recorded at Network Studios, Nottingham.

It would be fantastic to find out more, and having had a listen, it’s upbeat, catchy and clever enough to be due a re-release – it’s certainly music to put a smile on your face! In the light of the increase in cycling and events like Eroica Britannia, the Aviva Women’s Tour and the Tour of Britain visiting Derbyshire, it’d probably be a very well received ditty…as the tagline on the record says it’s “Flying the Flag for Great British Cycling.”

If anyone knows anything about the single, or the event it was made for, please get in touch!

‘Have bike, will travel’ starts on Thursday 5th May, simply turn up and you can view our cycling related Local Studies and Archive items in our Reception area.

Advent Calendar – Day 19

Less than a week to go, not many more doors to investigate now…

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Account of ‘Crismas Boxes’ given to servants of the Chandos-Pole family of Radbourne in 1772 (Ref: D5557/23/2)

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Long before the welfare state, individual families would make charitable donations to the less well-off in their household or their parish. Donations might be in cash such as the Christmas boxes from the Chandos-Pole family to their servants (each man receiving 1s). Other records of such Christmas giving include:

  • beef given to local families by Lady Agnes Fitzherbert in 1857 (Ref: D6943/2/1)
  • List of persons receiving Christmas dole (to the amount of 5s 4d), 1880; recorded in the account book of the Little Eaton Churchwardens (Ref: D1293/A/PW 1)
  • Mr Cavendish’s bounty given at Christmas 1900 to the relatives of West Derbyshire men serving in South Africa during the Boer War(Ref: D504/115/12)
  • the poor of Belper each receiving an additional 1s each and 6d per boarded-out child in Christmas week, approved by the Board of Guardians (responsible for the workhouse and provision of out-relief in 1914 (Ref: D19/CW/1/28)

About the Chandos-Pole of Radbourne archive collection: The item behind today’s door is held amongst the archive collection of the Chandos-Pole family of Radbourne (see the D5557 online catalogue for details of other items in the collection). The collection dates from the time of Sir German Pole (died 1634), and includes estate papers,  surveys, rentals and accounts relating to Chandos-Pole properties and interests in Derbyshire. There is also a good series of correspondence, especially for the time of German Pole (1626-1683), who married Anne, daughter of Richard Newdigate of Arbury in Warwickshire.  The correspondents include John Gell (D5557/2/131) and members of the Mundy family (for example, D5557/2/35,36,42,43,45,51).  There are also letters from Barbados (D5557/2/120,126). Furthermore, there are papers of R W Chandos Pole relating to the Derbyshire Imperial Yeomanry and to Mugginton School which was founded by the charity of Rev Samuel Pole and Ann Pole in the 18th century.

About the family: Sir German Pole served against the Spanish Armada and was made a Knight Banneret for his services in Ireland.  The surname Chandos was assumed by Sacheverell Pole in 1807 as representative of Sir John Chandos.  The family estate based at Radbourne included lands in Barton Park, Dalbury Lees, Littleover, Barlborough, Mercaston and Brailsford in Derbyshire, and Hanbury in Staffordshire.