Adopt a Piece of History

Would you like to help look after Derbyshire’s rich history? Through our Adopt a Piece of History scheme you can adopt any item from our collections, in the knowledge that your contribution will directly support our work to keep Derbyshire’s history safe for the future.

If you’reaph-certificate looking for a truly unique gift, why not let someone else adopt a piece of history? Whether they love sport, art, gardening or trains, there is something in our collections they would be proud to help look after too. And with different options and prices, this could be just the surprise you’ve been looking for.

Adopt a piece of history for £20
Choose an item from the list of favourites on our blog and get a personalised e-certificate. Our favourites include suggestions for keen ramblers, bakers, dancers, engineers and many more.

Adopt a unique piece of history for £35
Choose your own favourite from our collections to make a truly personal gift. You might want to adopt the parish register that shows the marriage of two of your ancestors, a map of the area they grew up in or that document that made all the hours of searching worthwhile.

Become a part of Derbyshire’s history for £100
To celebrate a special occasion or commemorate a loved one, choose your own favourite from our collections and tell us why it’s important to you. The recipient’s name and adoption details will be entered into our official Register of Adopters and be kept as part of the archive for ever. Your adoption will also be visible on our online catalogue and the recipient will receive a special invitation to our annual Open Day to visit their adoptee.

You can see all the details about the scheme and fill in an order form on our Adopt a Piece of History page. And do take a look at the other pages on our Support Us tab, which give details about our volunteering opportunities.

 

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.

 

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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.

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All the winners and Highly Recommended projects

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.

 

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Needling out the repair

 

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Laying the repair in its place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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:

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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.

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:

 

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We hope to see you there!

 

Books – from Breweries to Mountain Biking

Currently on display in our Local Studies library is a varied selection of newly acquired books, ranging from Heritage Walks, to an amazing story about a ‘ghost runner’ to a history of Burton breweries! A full list and details are below:

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  1. Edwin Smith: A Life in Derbyshire Cricket by Steve Dolman Edwin Smith played for Derbyshire in three different decades between 1951 and 1971.  Among his other many achievements, he also represented the county in 497 first-class matches, claiming 1209 wickets at an average of 25.79.
  2. Inglorious: Conflict in the Uplands by Mark Avery With an introduction by Chris Packham this book outlines the case against grouse shooting, and its effect on nature and the environment.
  3. White Peak Mountain Biking: The Pure Trails by Jon Barton Researched and ridden by a local rider, this book features 24 routes from 10.5 to 45 kilometres in length, suitable for riders of all abilities. The routes are varied and involve limestone descents, twisty woodland singletracks and cruising along easy cyclepaths through green fields and pretty villages in Derbyshire.
  4. Heritage Walks in the Heart of the National Forest Now that spring is on its way, some lovely walks await in this booklet, created by the Overseal Footpaths Volunteer Group in the picturesque (and very underrated!) National Forest area.
  5. Peak District Walks with History  by Dennis Kelsall The ten walks in this attractive pocket guide have been chosen to provide fascinating locations from different period of our history including Bronze Age, Iron Age, Norman, Medieval, 16th and 17th centuries, Industrial Revolution and Victorian. Another great excuse to go walking in the Peak District
  6. The Ghost Runner: The Tragedy of the Man they Couldn’t Stop by Bill Jones This book outlines the story of John Tarrant, who started life as a teenage boxer, but was subsequently banned from running.  He ran anyway, taking part in races even though he was not allowed to compete. All the reviews point to an extremely fascinating and readable story which is difficult to put down.
  7. Ind Coope & Samuel Alsop Breweries: A History of the Hand by Ian Webster This book charts the fortunes of two Burton upon Trent brewing giants: Samuel Allsopp,  and Ind Coope.  Researched from the extensive company archives and other literature, this book not only deals in historical fact but brings the story to life, with anecdotes about brewery life that are often humorous and candid, taken from numerous interviews with ex-employees ranging from directors and managers through to operators on the brewery floor. It should be worth a read for anyone who remembers Double Diamond, Long Life and Skol !

Another day in the life of…

I may have been a bit eager to get the next instalment of ‘a day in the life of…’ written, as back at the beginning of November I did promise that another would follow in December, well we’ve hit 1 December so here it is.

It felt like we probably had an ever so slightly busier day yesterday than last time, with more customers visiting the search room (and local studies who I know had a very busy yesterday). However, as I looked back at our statistics we didn’t actually retrieve as many documents from the stores as the previous day I blogged about. It is often the case that more people in the search room does not necessarily mean more documents being requested (and vice versa with fewer people and a higher number of document orders) – this usually depends on the documents themselves and the information they contain, for example is it a document that is quick to look at or needs some time to be read and considered. Yesterday, the main reason for difference is that three of the customers each spent a few hours in the search room, looking at only two documents each. Although not all working together, they were all consulting the documents in great detail in order to make accurate transcripts that can then be used to obtain the same information without necessarily consulting the original document – which also helps us to protect the document by reducing handling.

We also had visits from people researching the geography and buildings in Duffield, two colleagues from the Legal Services team investigating the history and status of a particular road in the Peak District (see them hard at work below), a regular customer and researcher with various interests, this time looking at Methodist records, a new customer looking for an ancestor in the school admission register, as well as others who have visited for reasons that I do not know…

As before, here are the rest of my snaps from the day showing the range of resources used (click on an image for a full description)

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mining the Archives Project – Talk

Mining the Archives Poster

As part of the Mining the Archives Project, I will be giving a talk at Derbyshire Record Office on Friday 30th October 10.30am-12.00noon, all about the conservation work I have done on the project so far.

If you would like to find out more about exactly how I’ve conserved and preserved these fantastic historical documents, and also see them in the flesh, then come along!

Its free, but you will need to book a place via our Eventbrite page by following this link: Eventbrite Mining the Archives Talk

or call the Record Office on 01629 538347

Mining the Archives Project – Conservation Update

I’ve been busy working away on the mining the archives project and thought I would give a quick update on what’s been happening to that volume we found all the lead deposits in…

The 18th Century account book of Robert Thornhill (D307/B/19/1) has now been dismantled and cleaned. The cleaning process was very delicate as the edges of the pages are very fragile. Each page has been lightly surface cleaned using a ‘smoke sponge’ which is designed especially for conservation cleaning, and then brushed gently with a very soft Japanese brush.

The next step in preparing the pages for repairs is to wash them… yes really! It may seem like a strange thing to do, but we actually give each page a bath in a tray of water! This removes damaging dirt and impurities, and also re-invigorates the paper fibres giving it additional strength. The inks are tested for solubility first, as we don’t want to lose any of the information. The pages are given support whilst they are in the water using insect netting, and with a bit of care can be handled easily when wet.

washing 1

Documents in a bath of water

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Insect netting supports the documents so they can be handled when wet

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Before and after washing

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Dirty water remains!

After a good soak, the pages are removed from the bath and are left to air dry individually on pieces of thick blotting paper. Once dry they are ready for repairs to be carried out.