The Alan Turner Opera Company’s eye-catching archives

Last month, Derbyshire Record Office was delighted to accept the donation of five rather extraordinary albums of photographs and news-cuttings (D8089) assembled by Alan Turner (1902-1967).  Turner was Managing Director of the Ernest Turner group, which included the Spa Lane Mills in Derby.  However, the principal focus of the collection is not textile production, but theatrical productions.  Alan Turner’s eponymous Opera Society/Company put on numerous performances in London in the 1920s and 1930s, before relocating to Derby in later years.  Here is a sample of some of the fantastic photographs and ephemera in the first volume:

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It wasn’t just opera, though Continue reading

Mother’s Day Surprise!

Still looking for that perfect gift for Mother’s Day?  How about the parish register that shows the baptism or wedding of her ancestors?  Or a map of the area she grew up in, or the admission register of the school she went to? Perhaps she loves dancing, walking, trains, cooking, gardening, sport or art? Why not have a look at our Adopt A Piece Of History scheme and give her the chance to help protect her own and Derbyshire’s history.

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And because it’s such a special occasion, we’ll waive our usual delivery times – just send through your order for any type of certificate and pay for it by noon on Friday 24th March, and your personalised certificate will be in your inbox by noon on Saturday 25th March.

 

Treasure 40: a plan of Derby’s canals, 1792

This treasure (Q/RP/1/79) is a 1792 plan of canals around Derby, from Smithy Houses near Kilburn to the Erewash Canal at Sandiacre. It also shows the branches from Coxbench to Smalley Mill and from Derby to the Grand Trunk Canal at Swarkestone. There are dozens of canal plans and books of reference in the Quarter Sessions collection – the reason Derbyshire Record Office holds so many of them is that from 1792 onwards, anyone who planned to build a canal, turnpike road or railway had first of all to deposit plans with the Clerk of the Peace for any affected county.

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If you would like to support our work by adopting this document, for yourself or as a gift, have a look at the Adopt A Piece Of History page.

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.

 

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!

 

Advent Calendar – Day 3

Another day closer and another item featured from our collections… what might it be?

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You can see an enlarged version of today’s item here; to view the whole presentation and other records for the church, we can arrange access through our search room and public computers at the Record Office in Matlock.

And don’t forget, if there is an item you particularly like in our Advent Calendar why not nominate it for our 50 Treasures?

School admission records now online – including the mighty Steve Bloomer!

Have you ever wondered where your ancestors went to school?  If so, now might be a good time to emit a chirrup of joy, because Derbyshire’s contribution has been added to the ever-growing mass of information in the National School Admission Registers and Log-books dataset on http://www.findmypast.co.uk.  I had a tinker with it a few days ago and managed to find the admission record of Derby County legend Steve Bloomer.  Before he earned any of his 23 England caps, or scored any of his 297 league goals for the club, he was a pupil at Peartree Boys School in Derby.  His entry in the admission register is at the very bottom of this image: you can see he was born in Cradley Heath, and was the son of Caleb Bloomer, a smith.

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School log books are also included in the project.  Now, anyone who has tried combing through a log book looking for references to their forebears as pupils will know that the odds are not so good.  But that is what makes the ease of searching by name so attractive – a quick check is all it takes, because the names that are mentioned in the log books have been indexed.  If one of your ancestors ever worked as a teacher, or a monitor, or as a pupil-teacher, the references can be quite illuminating – one headteacher writes: “Winifred Roberts and Edith Yates have been appointed monitors at £6 per annum from 1 Dec 1899.  If they can pass the Government Examination they will be paid as a 1st year Pupil Teacher from 1 Jan 1900”. (Don’t worry, they passed the exam – I checked.) And have a look at this list of Object Lessons from 1899.

Lessons

You see, quite apart from their genealogical value, log books are a window on another world.  (If you can think of a less clichéd way of putting that, do let me know.)  In particular, this is the world of the headteacher of that era: browse for a minute or two and you will vicariously experience the joy of winning praise from the school inspectors, the despair of having 150 pupils absent because of a measles outbreak, and the irritation of having junior teachers who don’t do anything quite as well as you did when you were a junior teacher.

If you would like to have a look at what is available, come over to your local library or right here to the record office, and log on to one of the computers.  This resource, which FindMyPast subscribers normally pay for, will be yours to play around with for free.  Here are a couple of sample pages.

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Log

Talks about the history of Derby and of Hardwick Hall… and some AGMs

This is just a reminder that the Derbyshire Record Society and the Derbyshire Victoria County History Trust are holding their Annual General Meetings at the Imperial Rooms in Matlock this coming Saturday. The Record Society’s AGM will be at 10.30am (tea and coffee available from 9.30) and the VCH Trust’s AGM will be in the afternoon. After the first meeting there will be a talk by the historian Richard Clark, to accompany the launch of his new monograph on the government of Derby in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Then lunch (bring a fiver if you aren’t a member of either organisation – you can use it either to pay for your lunch or to join the DRS for a year and get lunch for nothing). Straight after the second meeting, two senior curatorial staff from the National Trust will be talking about their new book on Hardwick Hall. You can also expect to see displays of material from some local history societies.

The Imperial Rooms are on Imperial Road, Matlock DE4 3NL. It’s just off Bank Road at the foot of the hill, near Wilkinson’s. There is parking nearby and it’s a short walk from the railway and bus stations.

Richard Clark’s new book on Derby

I recently blogged about a soon-to-be-launched book on Derby in a post about the DRS/VCH local history event happening in Matlock on 11 July. Now we have some details about the book, straight from the Derbyshire Record Society:

The Bailiffs of Derby: Urban Governors and their Governance 1513–1638
By Richard Clark

Derby has long had the doubtful distinction of being the least well studied major county town in early modern England, on which little work based on detailed archival research has been published. This new monograph goes a long way to rectifying this shortcoming. It provides a detailed picture of the bailiffs, chosen annually by their fellow burgesses, who headed the corporation between the early sixteenth century and the eve of the Civil War: who they were, what occupations they pursued, and the extent to which they formed a closed oligarchy. The second half of the book deals with their work: the maintenance of law and order, often in the face of incursions by county gentry; how they dealt with the plague and disputes over commons and enclosure; their response to the Reformation locally; and their role as benefactors. A final section considers how far a ‘civic culture’ developed in Derby. Appendices list the bailiffs, their occupations and wealth.

This study will be of great value to anyone interested in the history of Derby, and at the same time, because the author carefully contextualises his findings, is an important addition to case-studies of the larger provincial towns of Tudor and early Stuart England.

Richard Clark is a graduate of Worcester College, Oxford, where he completed a D.Phil. thesis in 1979 on the religious history of Derbyshire between 1603 and 1730. He now teaches part-time for the Open University. The author of a number of articles on early modern Derby, his edition of a churchwarden’s order book for All Saints, the principal parish church in the town, was published by the Derbyshire Record Society in 2010.

The Bailiffs of Derby will be published on 11 July 2015 as Derbyshire Record Society Occasional Paper No 11 (ISBN 0-978-0-946324-39-2), a section-sewn paperback of 128 pages, including a reproduction of John Speed’s map of Derby of 1611, at a recommended retail price of £15 (£18 by post). DRS members will be able to order copies at £10 post free.

Authors coming to Matlock to launch new books on Hardwick Hall and 16th-17th century Derby – and how you can get involved

The Derbyshire Record Society and the Derbyshire Victoria County History Trust are holding their Annual General Meetings at the Imperial Rooms in Matlock on Saturday 11 July. The Record Society’s AGM will be at 10.30am (tea and coffee available from 9.30) and the VCH Trust’s AGM will be in the afternoon. In between the two, there will be a buffet lunch.

Immediately after the first meeting there will be a talk by the historian Richard Clark, to accompany the launch of his new monograph on the government of Derby in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. And straight after the second meeting, two senior curatorial staff from the National Trust will be talking about their new book on Hardwick Hall.

What’s great about this year’s event is that it is open to all-comers, whether or not you are a member of the Derbyshire Record Society or the VCH Trust. What’s more, local historians/societies are being invited to bring along material to display and publications to sell, which should turn the event into something of a small-scale local history fair. DRS Secretary and General Editor Philip Riden describes it as “a welcome opportunity for the local history community in Derbyshire to come together, listen to good visiting speakers, and find out what other individuals and groups are doing”.

If you have any questions about the event or would like to come along, please email the Record Society’s treasurer, Mary Wiltshire, at treasurer@derbyshirerecordsociety.org. This will help the Society to organise the catering effectively, and to make sure there is enough space to accommodate any displays.

If you are not a member of the DRS or VCH Trust, you are asked to bring £5 as a contribution towards the lunch. Or you could just as easily part with that same £5 to join the Record Society for a whole year! This seems excellent value, especially as membership entitles you to a substantial discount on Derbyshire Record Society’s publications. The Society has been going since 1977 and has an extraordinary track record of producing books that researchers find very, very useful.
The Imperial Rooms are on Imperial Road, Matlock DE4 3NL. It’s just off Bank Road at the foot of the hill, near Wilkinson’s. There is parking nearby and it’s a short walk from the railway and bus stations.