Stay connected, get creative and keep learning

Over the past few years the record office has been working with our friends at Junction Arts, the Chesterfield-based arts charity, on the project The Art of Letter Writing. The project celebrates the unique relationships we make with each other by writing and receiving letters, using historical letters from the record office’s collection, the participants’ own letters from home, and the art of illuminated letters.

D5430 76 23 excerpt

Excerpt from a letter written by Elizabeth Winchester, lady’s maid at Chatsworth House (D5430/76/23)

Usually a hands-on project, whilst we’re all socially distancing, the project has been specially adapted to go online. So what better time than now to connect with family and friends? The project is also connecting people with more vulnerable and isolated members of our community by offering people the chance to connect through letter writing. It might even be the start of a friendship that lasts beyond the lockdown!

For more information on the project and details of how to get involved see the Junction Arts website. If you do get involved, we’d love to hear how you got on.

 

Connecting families and creating history during COVID-19 and beyond

‘History Begins at Home’ is a new national campaign which aims to connect people through conversations about history and to capture and then share these conversations, memories and stories through the campaign’s Facebook page and Twitter.

The idea behind the campaign is to encourage family members of different generations to connect or re-connect by discovering previously unknown facts or family stories, sharing memories, experiences and expertise, and then capturing these conversations and findings for the future.

Gary Tuson, County Archivist at Norfolk Record Office and Campaign Lead at History Begins at Home, comments: “COVID-19 has created all sorts of challenges such as separation, isolation, hardship, the need for resilience, the power of community and the desire to help one another. History Begins at Home is the perfect antidote during this period when people can’t visit their family members due to the current restrictions. It’s a fun way to pass some time together on the phone, via FaceTime, Zoom, WhatsApp or other apps. And, with so much emphasis on mental health and well-being during the lockdown, the campaign is an ideal way for people to engage with the recommended ‘5 ways to well-being’: Connect, Give, Be active, Take Notice and Keep Learning.”

Gary adds: “The campaign will initially focus on the past within families, with the goal of sparking discussions around aspects of childhood and adulthood across the generations, such as toys, food, precious things and memories. Each week, we’ll focus on a different theme about the past and encourage people to start a conversation about it, engage in an activity relating to it and then record something about it and, if they like, share what they’ve found out on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/historybeginsathome and Twitter https://twitter.com/BeginsHistory

Getting involved in History Begins at Home is easy – start off by asking a relative for one of their old recipes and share it, find and share a picture of a family member’s favourite childhood toy, an old love letter (or a new one), or ask them about a funny, incredible, interesting, remarkable or obscure story or memory from their past. Who knows what you might discover!

This week being Mental Health Awareness week, its even more important to stay connected. The record office is supporting the History Begins at Home project via Twitter, follow us at @FranklinArchive. This week we have memories of favourite toys!

Take a look and join the conversation on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/historybeginsathome/

@historybeginsathome

and on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/BeginsHistory

@beginshistory

 

 

 

We remember – 75 years ago today

The Thornhills of Great Longstone, once a farming family, played an extensive role in parish life throughout the 19th century. Most of the parish records found in this collection (ref: D307) relate to Robert Thornhill, Overseer of the Poor, Clerk to the Commissioners of Taxes and the last High Constable for the High Peak Hundred. In addition to parish records, the Thornhill papers also include family papers from the 19th century onwards; Turnpike records and papers relating to the Arkwright family. The family papers also include ephemera relating to the First and Second World Wars.

The 8th May 1945 is the day on which Allied forces formally announced the surrender of Germany, which brought the Second World War to a close in Europe.

Along with the parades and street parties marking the national holiday, services of thanksgivings were conducted throughout the country. A copy of the order of this Service of Thanksgiving can be found within the papers of the Thornhill family.

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Our plans to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe may have changed but there are still lots of ways to mark the day – take part in a national two minute silence to honour the service and sacrifice of the Second World War generation, decorate your home or give the Royal British Legion Industries’ online Lindy Hop lessons a try! Home schooling? The Royal British Legion have created a series of free downloadable VE Day Learning resources for children aged 7-14 years.

Share your family memories – we’d love to hear how your relatives have commemorated VE Day over the years.

Whatever you do, all of us here at the record office wish you a happy and safe bank holiday.

Kids get creative!

Kids get Creative crop

Looking for ways to keep the children entertained this summer holiday?  Then pop along to our children’s craft day this Thursday 16th August between 12noon and 4pm.  We will have lots for kids to do including our silhouette treasure hunt , creating a family tree or coat of arms and much more, and as children under 8 have to be accompanied by an adult – that means you can have a go too!

It’s a drop in event so no need to book and best of all it’s absolutely free.

Derbyshire Record Office, New St, Matlock, DE4 3FE

A Question of Seduction

This is not my title, but the title given by Daniel Parker Coke to one of the cases he provided legal advice for over 200 years ago. Of the 40 or so cases he records in this particular notebook (one of five in our collection), there are several being similar to each other (for example, several relating to the settlement of a pauper and the right to an apprentice). There are also several that give us an insight into the position of women and the way they are viewed by the men in and out of their lives. This is one such case in which the former lover (Richard) of a young woman (Hannah) who has apparently had children by at least one other man. The parish and Quarter Sessions feature a number of cases of child maintenance and bastardy, this one however, is from a slightly different angle, with the father of Hannah claiming damages against Richard as his daughter has been unable to fulfill all her servants duties.

Here is the transcript from his notebook, which begins with the letter he received (abbreviations expanded):

Please to answer this Law Question. I was at Lenton wake this week at a friends of mine Mr John Hopkin a reputable farmer. He has a nephew Richard Potter a Farmer that I know & lives at Trowell in the County of Nottingham & he being a young man made love to a young woman of the same village Hannah Hewitt a Farmer’s Daughter & after some time they differed & parted & after she had a child by one Robert Whitehead a blacksmith of the same village of Trowell & since then Richard Potter has had connections with her but he solemnly says not of above a year past & now she brought to bed of another child & her father Hewitt has employed Mr Bolton the Attorney to bring an Action against Richard Potter for Trespass & the loss of his Daughter’s service who acted in the capacity of Servant & has served Potter with a Declaration he has employed Mr Evans and Middlemen & expects a Trial at the next Assize for the County of Nottingham. Now Honoured Sir I should be glad to have your private opinion on the Case. Mr Hopkin is a freeholder of Nottingham & strongly attached to your Interest & Richard Potter & his two Brothers are in the Derby Yeomanry & has been exercising this morning Thursday on Breadsall Moor or Common. Note Richard Potter is married about a Month past. Note Hannah Hewitt has not sworn the Child if she does & swears it to Potter he knows he must maintain the Child though he says it’s none of his. Your most Humble and Obedient Servant, Wright Hawley

Parker Coke’s reply dated the following day reads:

This is an unpleasant business to Mr Potter as he admits he has had a connection with Hannah Hewitt which will undoubtedly be proved by her as she may be a witness in the Action which is brought by her father. The Action is brought for Seduction & if is founded upon the loss of service. And if it should turn out to be a strong Case the Damage may be considerable. At all events the Verdict must necessarily be against Potter with some Damages which will be followed by the Costs of the Cause so that upon the whole the Expence to Mr Potter must be considerable. What I would recommend to him is to compromise the matter by offering a sum of money – if the Cause should come into Court it will probably be referred by the Judge as these Causes are seldom tried I would therefore advise Mr Potter if they cannot agree upon the sum of money to be given to offer to leave it to one two or three friends as Arbitrators & if Hannah Hewitt’s character should be proved to be (as it is here stated) that of a common woman the Damages will probably be small

Too often I think we think of such complicated relationships as being a modern occurrence, but this account shows this is not the case.

D1881/UL – Coke of Brookhill Family Papers

History of You

In preparation for the History of You craft activities we are holding across the county over the school holidays, Henrietta, age 5 and Rebecca, age 8 have enthusiastically tested our craft materials and made their own family trees and crests

      “My family tree”

      Henrietta, age 5

“My coat of arms”, Rebecca, age 8

Rebecca says: “Red guitar in the middle, with bicycle wheel in the middle of the guitar. Next to the red guitar, two eyes, and smile in the bottom. The coat of arms is in the design of sun. I really enjoyed designing the coat of arms”

 

 

 

 

More family trees from our willing guinea pigs, i.e. children of the staff

 

Family trees by

Charlotte

and William