Ashbourne Library, St Oswald’s Church and the Ashbourne Heritage Centre are to host what promises to be an informative and inspiring exhibition during July, August and September of this year. The exhibits in “Ashbourne Treasures” are all of vital importance to the history of the town, and they include the original charter of Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, of which we are the proud custodians. Go and see the treasures if you can. While you are at it, you could book yourself a ticket for one of the associated events, running throughout the summer, such as Dan Cruickshank’s talk on Georgian Towns. More information is available at www.ashbournetreasures.com.
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.
Children from two primary schools (Derby City and Derbyshire) and volunteers have curated an exhibition about the First World War, which is being launched at Sudbury Hall on Friday 6 March 2015 at 1pm.
Derbyshire Remembers is a project run by award-winning theatre company Fifth Word in partnership with the National Trust, Derbyshire Record Office and Derby City Local & Family History Library. The exhibition uncovers the story of how the First World War changed the lives of people across Derby city and Derbyshire. This project has been made possible thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Over a period of 6 months local volunteers received training and prepared a list of archive materials at Derbyshire Record Office, Derby Local & Family History Library, National Trust properties and local museums.
From this research, child friendly archive cards were created as a starting point for working with schools. Fifth Word Theatre led two, week-long intensive school sessions where pupils worked ‘in role’ as expert museum curators tasked with the responsibility of designing a brand new exhibition for Sudbury Hall. Using specialised drama techniques, the children delved deeper into what really happened in Derby during the First World War and selected the themes and sources they found most interesting. At the end of the sessions each school created mock exhibition panels and presented back their ideas to be realised by a professional designer.
Year 6 pupils from Dale Primary school in Normanton transformed their classroom into an office where they were known as ‘Dazzling Designs’. As ‘experts’ they researched the effect the war had on the home front in Derby City and the families who were left behind. They explored the Zeppelin raid (which happened only minutes from their school) and the plight of the munitions workers from across Derbyshire. With help from the archives and volunteers, the children were able to analyse and interpret images, objects, newspaper cuttings and Art to tell the story of life on the home front a hundred years ago.
The second design Team came from Sudbury Primary School. Their class were known as ‘Super Sudbury Designs’ and their detective work enabled them to delve into personal letters, soldiers’ diaries, memoirs and official documents such as call-up notices and killed-in-action telegrams. They imagined what it might have been like to be in their shoes and used the expertise of drama practitioners to build up a picture of life on the frontline during the ‘War to End All Wars’.
The exhibition is open to everyone and will be housed at Sudbury Hall from the 6 March- 17 May. It will transfer to Kedleston Hall from 23 May – 3 September 2015 and will then travel to local schools across Derby and Derbyshire. A digital resource pack for teachers will be available online to provide a rich resource for local studies and First Word War teaching and learning across primary schools.
If you’re planning to visit the National Trust properties at Sudbury or Kedleston do keep an eye out for the exhibition!
As Neil mentioned in his post from earlier today, our exhibition on Manorial Documents is now up and running in our reception area. As with all our exhibitions it’s free, so do pop in and have a look – it will be on until Saturday 12 July 2014.
Ever since Derbyshire Record Office turned fifty in 2012, we have been showcasing treasures from our Archive and Local Studies collections. These items are chosen because they hold special meaning for our staff and users – their favourite, most interesting, inspiring, thought provoking, or simply the most beautiful. These are items that stir the imagination, tell the best stories, and reveal the secrets of our local history.
If you would like to nominate a treasure; a document, book, map, photograph, or even a whole collection which inspires or delights you – then please get in touch and tell us all about it!
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01629 538347 with your suggestions.
Following on from one of our literature festival events, the curious case of Muriel’s ‘wedding dress’ came to light.
During a workshop, we gave participants two photographs from the Picture the Past photographic collection, then asked people to come up with imaginative stories which linked these images together.
The images had been selected purely for their visual intrigue and potential for inspiring creative writing, and we had paired them up entirely out of context. For example an image of a sad looking newspaper seller from the 1970s was paired up with a photograph of a long, winding country lane, leading to a bleak-looking house.
One of the images was particularly interesting as it showed a woman called Beatrice Muriel Bagshaw in a beautiful wedding dress, presumably on her wedding day. We felt rather sorry for this woman, as she did not look particularly happy to be getting married.
Muriel’s picture was paired up with this photo of a prison from c 1850s-90s
We hoped that with the context removed, this would inspire all kinds of interesting stories. Heres something that a writer from the workshop came up with:
‘Louise is daughter of a wealthy merchant in the city of London. She is persuaded by her parents into marriage with one of her father’s business acquaintances to cement their connection. The wedding is a stylish affair and she wears a beautiful silk dress but she is not a radiant bride as she has great doubts about her new husband. Within a few years she finds out that her doubts were justified as he is convicted of fraud and jailed leaving her penniless.’
Strangely enough this was not the end of Muriel’s story. We were in fact sure that we had seen Muriel somewhere before… and noticed when looking at the Bakewell Old House Museum Facebook page that this image had been added to the site…
…could this be the very same woman?!
We contacted Bakewell Museum, who confirmed that this was indeed Muriel Bagshaw, but it was not the wedding dress that we had thought, but a court presentation dress. What’s more is that they even had the actual dress in their collection of historical costume! They said;
‘The dress was Muriel’s court presentation dress. She was presented to Queen Victoria…… a kind of coming out. It is in very poor condition but we do get it out occasionally. There is a wonderful, incredibly long train to accompany the dress along with shoes, stockings, fan and Prince of Wales feathers which had to be worn in the hair. She looks rather glum on the photo and we always feel rather sorry for her.’
We thought this was a wonderful twist to the tale, and just goes to show that every picture can tell a multitude of stories and that you can’t always judge something on first appearances.
Can you come up with a story for Muriel? We would love to hear your suggestions!
See what inspiration you can find from the wonderful East Midlands Photographic Archive on the Picture the Past website www.picturethepast.org.uk
May was a busy month for our outreach team as this was the first year that the Record Office took part in the Derbyshire Literature Festival. This was the 7th Derbyshire Literature festival organised by Derbyshire County Council which takes place every two years, and this year’s programme was exciting as ever, with more than 65 events happening in libraries and other venues across the county.
The Record Office contributed 3 events to the programme:
‘Ask the Archivist’
An open day for those interested in historical research, whether it was advice on how to get started or how to get to the next step. We had a great display of original material from our collections for visitors to read and we were very keen, as in all our events, to give people the opportunity to get hands on with the documents. In this display we included material showing the range of material we hold, from prisoner records to a letter from Florence Nightingale, and our oldest records (we think!) a deed dating c. 1115.
‘Melbourne in the Archives’
An exhibition of historical records from the John Joseph Briggs collection (an author, poet, naturalist & historian from Melbourne) with the chance to read aloud from a selection of material from the exhibition and discuss and talk about the material.
The exhibition featured letters, extracts, books, poems & illustrations concerning Melbourne local history. The originals were on display and used during the read aloud session, which was enjoyed by all, and led to a relaxed and interesting group discussion.
We received some lovely comments:
‘Reading and Writing from the Archives with Sara Sheridan’
This session focused on how writers might use archive material as inspiration for creative writing and comprised of a full day of workshops, talks and activities. We took along a large amount of original material, which provided examples of how you might use archives for writing, whether that was for characters or events, for accuracy, or what was like to live at that time – archives enabling writers to be authentic and true to the period.
Participants were encouraged to use the documents to answer questions on how they might use the material and how to interpret them. We also had activities including guessing a mystery document, and using images from Picture the Past to inspire ideas for stories or poems.
Following the Record Office session we had a workshop by the author Sara Sheridan who had come down from Edinburgh for the event. Sara gave an extremely engaging talk on how she used archive material in her writing, and gave advice to the participants (most of whom were writing their own works) about how to write effectively for publication.
More information about Sara’s writing can be found on her website: http://www.sarasheridan.com/
Long before the revolutions of the French and the Americans in the Eighteenth Century, Britain had experienced its own violent revolution that saw families split and friends divided, houses and churches destroyed, the king executed and a republic established.
This new exhibition looks at the how Derbyshire’s role in the civil war, and its impact on it, is reflected in the primary sources that have survived to this day and are currently available for consultation at the record office.
Click here to view: http://tinyurl.com/d72eucw
Don’t miss out on your last chance to our current exhibition “The Attic Chest“. The online exhibition features early 19th century poems and general whimsy, edited by protofeminist Eleanor Anne Porden, and her father. View it at http://bit.ly/sDiDbI
A new commemorative display produced in association with Picture the Past, is soon to begin travelling around Matlock. The display celebrates the centenary of Hall Leys Park in the town, and will be on display in our new premises from 3 October, before travelling to Matlock Library in November, then on to County Hall Local Studies Library in December. The display will also be making an appearance at the Matlock Farmer’s Market, Imperial Rooms