“The Hard Way” The story of Hannah Mitchell by Louise Jordan

I don’t know how many of our followers are in London, or within striking distance thereof – but this sounds like a very stimulating event.  The London School of Economics is staging a free performance tomorrow, Wed 26 June 2019, at 6.30pm, viz., a one-woman show entitled ‘The Hard Way’: the story of campaigner Hannah Mitchell by musician and composer Louise Jordan.  If you can make it, please drop a line to d.challis@lse.ac.uk.  Here’s a publicity quote about the event:

From a remote hilltop farm in the Derbyshire moorlands to Manchester city magistrate. The Hard Way is a one-woman show of storytelling with song by acclaimed musician and composer Louise Jordan. With two weeks’ formal schooling behind her and through her sheer force of character, Hannah escapes domestic drudgery to become a campaigner, speaker, writer, suffragette, councillor and finally a magistrate. A self-taught, self-made woman, Hannah leaves home aged 14 years, exchanging one exploitative situation for another. In 1906 she finds herself face to face with Winston Churchill at a public meeting and spends time in Strangeways prison. This show celebrates one woman’s determination to take power in the face of insurmountable barriers, motivated by a desire to improve life for those around her.

Louise Jordan is a singer, songwriter, musician and composer whose interests include history and the tradition of interpreting stories through song.  Further details can be found on the LSE events page.

Developing an archive service for Derbyshire

In April 1962, Miss Joan Sinar was appointed as the first County Archivist for Derbyshire. In the 55 years since this landmark was reached, whilst much has changed at the Record Office the basic principle of preserving Derbyshire’s archival heritage and providing access to it has remained constant. However, 1962 may not have been the true beginning of Derbyshire’s archive service.

On Monday 14 August, join us to find out more about the history of the Record Office and record keeping in Derbyshire. There will also be a display of original archives illustrating the development of the Derbyshire’s archival heritage, and a unique opportunity for a behind the scenes tour.

Monday 14th August 2017


Cost: £10 (including light refreshments)

Booking essential. Please register via the link to the right, or call 01629 538347

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

Forthcoming WEA course in Ashbourne

News reaches us of what sounds like an engaging new course run by the Workers’ Educational Association, called “An appreciation of the Derbyshire Dales and Staffordshire Moorlands”.  This is how it is described in the promotional literature:

The Derbyshire Dales and the Staffordshire Moorlands is an area of great beauty and fascinating variety. This course offers an understanding of the area through its art, architecture, churches, landscape, work and associated stories. Given an 18th and 19th century focus, the legacies of the Romantic Movement and the Gothic Revival will be sought. This forthcoming WEA Course will be tutored by Danny Wells. It runs for five Tuesday mornings (11.00-1.00) from Tuesday 3 March 2015 at All Saints Community Hall (Catholic Church), 23 Belle Vue, Ashbourne DE6 1AT. No previous knowledge is assumed. A fieldtrip to explore the architecture of Leek is intended on Wednesday 25 March 2015. For further details and enrolment please contact WEA, Derby on 01332-291805; e-mail derbyoffice@wea.org.uk

New Perspectives on the Derbyshire Lead Industry – the next session

Thanks to everyone who made the first lead industry seminar go so well last month.  I found it invigorating to encounter so much enthusiasm, experience and subject knowledge.  Much of the session was devoted to introductions and admin, but we took the opportunity to hear from Lien and Clare about the Mining the Archives project, which is facilitating conservation work on some of the lead-mining records we hold.

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The next session is on Friday the 13th of February 2015.  (Yes, I know.  Bring your own horse-shoe or rabbit’s foot and don’t pass under any ladders on the way here.)  The seminar will be divided into two discussions:

  • “Tithe and Enclosure Awards and Maps: Resolving problems in Lead Mining History” – discussion led by Steve Thompson
  • “Financial Accounting and the Derbyshire Lead Industry: role and impact” – discussion led by Matthew Pawelski

We had a diverse array of talents at the last seminar, some of whom had only very recently developed an interest in the history of the lead industry, and others for whom it has been a lifelong obsession.  I have reserved places for everyone who was there to come back in February; but there are other places available if you have anything to contribute to the conversation, however minor – you certainly don’t need to be the world’s authority on lead.  You can book by calling 01629 538347.

National Libraries Day


This Saturday, the 8th of February, is National Libraries Day – an opportunity to celebrate libraries and library services across the UK.

Visitors to the Record Office will have seen the exhibition in our reception –  ‘I Didn’t Know You’d Got That!’ – showcasing the range of material held in the County Local Studies Library collections.  From sale catalogues to stereo cards, periodicals to postcards, the display will be available to view until 8th March.

There are also talks and workshops happening in libraries around Derbyshire – see the ‘National Libraries Day Events’ listing available here for more information.

Life Story Writing Workshop with Chrissie Hall

Chrissie HallHave you ever thought about writing your life story?

Then come along to our Life Story Writing Workshop with author Chrissie Hall.

Monday 21 October 2013

10am – 4pm

Derbyshire Record Office

We’ll help you plan, write, and organise a unique record of your life and times.  Inspiring you to dig deep, capturing memories and writing about your life; the people and the places, the ordinary and the extraordinary – the things that happened which made you who you are.

Suitable for everyone and no previous experience of writing is required. 

Tea and coffee will be available but please bring a packed lunch.  Alternatively there are sandwich shops nearby but please note the Record Office is on a steep slope.

Tickets: £10 please book in advance at Derbyshire Record Office on 01629 538347