Calling all shopaholics..

 

If you visit us at the Record Office you will see that we have a range of products for sale.

As well as offering a variety of local publications, we also have a range of unique Record Office merchandise.  DRO Products

These go from note books and mugs, to tea towels and bags  all with specially chosen images on them taken from items within our collections.

Alongside these is a display of merchandise available from Picture the Past.  You may be aware of the Picture the Past website which gives images from the library and museum collections across Derbyshire, Derby City, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham PtP ProductsCity a worldwide audience.

The website offers a host of products which you can personalise with an image of your choice.  In the Record Office and Chesterfield Library you can buy items such as notebooks, place mats, coasters, key rings and mugs with various images of the Chesterfield area already printed on them.

Picture the Past have just expanded their range and available at the Record Office, you can buy ready framed images of some famous Derbyshire landmarks.  Views of Chatsworth, Haddon Hall and Dovedale are just some of the images available. Picture 1

Along with the other merchandise mentioned these are on display in the Record Office reception area, so why not pop in and have a look.  You may just solve that awkward present problem…

Treasure 30: The photographs of Frank H Brindley

This treasure was nominated by our erstwhile colleague Mark Higginson, who has recently left Picture the Past to become manager of the museum and visitor centre at Belper North Mill.  We wish him all the best in his new role.  Mark writes:

A recent addition to Picture the Past has been a collection of prints taken by Sheffield-based freelance press photographer Frank H Brindley, who photographed northern parts of the Peak District.

Often Brindley’s pictorial submissions to local newspapers would be accompanied by a caption or even a short typed article.  Some of these have survived and give a unique insight into both the man and life from the 1930s through to the 1950s.

This has been a fascinating collection to work with and demonstrates how preserving this information enables a better understanding of the context in which such pictures came to be taken.  A picture may well be worth a 1,000 words, but a 1,000 words, or even a few dozen, certainly adds something to an image!

To see more of Brindley’s work, go to www.picturethepast.org.uk and click Advanced Search, then choose “Brindley F H” from the “Search by Photographer” menu.

These photographs form part of the 50 Treasures exhibition currently in our vitrine wall.

Advent Calendar – Day 12

Are you excited yet?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Postcard of Carl Wark, Peak District (Ref: Local Studies, Postcards)

According to the Peak District Information website: “[Carl Walk] is very likely that the hill was fortified in the Iron Age (or earlier) at the same time as Mam Tor, which you can see from Higgar Tor, only a few hundred metres away, and a plaque alongside the hill records this. However, archaeologists now tend towards the view that the massive fortifications which can still be seen at the western entrance were probably constructed in the Romano-British period at the start of the Dark Ages, maybe about 500 AD, so the fort has a long and probably complex history of occupation. Along with nearby Higgar Tor, the hill is a fine viewpoint and makes a nice walk from the Fox House Inn on the Hathersage to Sheffield road”.

Postcard of Carl Wark, Peak District

Postcard of Carl Wark, Peak District

There are thousands of photographs, postcards and other illustrations in the local studies collection – many of them are now available to search and view online via Picture the Past (if you’re stuck for something to do after a hefty Christmas dinner, why not indulge in some nostalgia looking through the images on here).

 

Remembering Past Times in Chesterfield

I was delighted when staff at Chesterfield Library invited us to take part in their half-term reminiscence event, promoting the record office and our collections through craft activities with children and young people. So, last Tuesday I loaded up the car with a selection of craft materials, templates of trees, a large bundle of old and “less old” photographs of Chesterfield  (courtesy of Picture the Past), as well as a small assortment of original archives to be displayed in the local studies section at the Library.

As always our intergenerational ‘History of You‘ craft activity engaged children as young as two in the history of their family as they designed and made their own colourful, furry, feathery and leafy trees. Not unsurprisingly the parents and grandparents who came along too enjoyed the activity just as much (and sometimes even more) than their children, and they shared stories about why cousin Laura is called Laura, and how Uncle Mick met Aunt Sally.

In the afternoon we tried something a bit different and, supported by third and fourth generation Cestrefeldians, a small group of 7-16 year olds prepared a display for the library revealing how Chesterfield Market Place has been used and has changed over the last 200 years. Inspired by the photographs from Picture the Past, the group re-created the clock tower of the Market Hall, created paper chains of people shopping and cows being sold, and arranged the old photographs to show a lively market town over the centuries and still going strong today.

You can see the display at Chesterfield Library, or here (below)

image

image

The whole day, which also included pumpkin badge making and owl crafting with Straight Curves, artefact handling with Chesterfield Museum and an exhibition on social housing from Homes For Good, was really fantastic and we were so pleased to be a part of it. The organisers have now started to think about the next event – and our table is already booked!

A week in the life of a work experience student…

As a student with an interest in history (hoping to go on to studying this at university), I chose the archives as the ideal work placement for my year 12 work experience. With this in mind I applied to the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock and have been spending a week here observing the work that is done.

On Monday morning I began my week of work experience at 9 o’clock starting with a tour of the record office itself (including archives and local studies). I was surprised by the amount of resources available especially in terms of the number of documents kept at the record office; with almost five miles of shelving to boast of throughout one can only imagine the amount of information available. Then there are the documents themselves. It was amazing to see the original and unique documents kept at the record office as well as how well they have been preserved. My first afternoon was spent in conservation, something I was eager to see; as well as being made aware of the different dangers posed to the documents kept at the record office (including temperature, humidity, insect damage, wear and possible fire damage) and how these risks are managed (for example through carefully monitoring the environment), I was also shown the different methods of repairing documents that have been damaged. I was even able to try a preservation technique for myself in the form of cleaning some documents.

On my second day I helped in a year five school session, in order to complete a project on local history they wished to use the facilities at the record office. The areas of interest included John Smedley, the hydros of Matlock, and begin to look at how leisure has changed from the industrial revolution. In order to fulfil this a session had been planned in which the children would look at documents relating to John Smedley, use documents to create their own exhibition on hydros, and create a timeline of leisure activities which had been sourced from the information available from the archives. There were two groups of students; those who weren’t at the record office were taken into Matlock in order to see how the town has changed from past photos to the present day. I found it enjoyable to work with the children and see how enthusiastic most were about the activities that had been planned for them. They seemed pleased to be able to use primary sources to find out more about figures they had studied (such as John Smedley).

Wednesday morning was spent in local studies which houses books relating to Derbyshire and also has computers where people can begin to research their family history. I was given a tour of the facilities offered then using Ancestry.co.uk was able to look at different types of census data (for example how the census changed between 1911 and 1841). Then, using the available facilities, I was given an example enquiry and had to find information about the given person – this included looking at their family through different censuses and finding baptism records to place approximate dates of birth. Although I did attempt some family history the fact that my surname is so common made it difficult. After lunch the project work began and my first task was re-cataloguing documents relating to Derbyshire sent from Sheffield Archives, this was a rather broad collection (ranging from a deed from 1386 to accounts). Admittedly some of the text was difficult to read (especially the older documents), however it became much easier over time to provide a description and locate a date. The information will soon be input into the online catalogue. The documents also needed to be numbered so that they worked with the system employed at the record office. Part of what I enjoyed most about the placement was the fact that I was able to get so close to the original documents therefore the project work was some of my favourite that I completed over the week.

Another part of the record office I experienced on my placement was the search room, this was on Thursday morning. After a tour and introduction to the services offered (including how specific documents could be found), I was able to order recipe books so that the second project could begin. This involved typing up the contents of recipe books which would then be available on the online catalogue. Whilst some of the recipes were familiar to me (including Bakewell pudding and gingerbread), others were not for example the extraordinary variety of wine. As these had been hand written it was often difficult to decipher exactly what the recipe was of, especially due to the fact that multiple authors were sometimes involved, although eventually the meaning could be found resulting in a lovely sense of accomplishment. The afternoon was then spent with ‘Picture the Past’, a project involving Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby City and Nottingham City aiming to digitise original photographs of the areas. These could be from libraries sent by the local authority or donated by the public and, as a result, there are photos of most areas on the website. Work here included checking links on the website and discussing how the services offered by ‘Picture the Past’ could be used in schools. To see the work done by the ‘Picture the Past’ project please see http://www.picturethepast.org.uk/. From searching the area in which I live I was able to see images of the railway and factories that had been present. It was fascinating to see how much the local area has changed even if there was some sense of familiarity in the landscape.

On my final day at the record office I continued with the work sent from Sheffield Archives (as several boxes were to be catalogued). Handling the documents myself made me aware of the huge amount of information held by the record office not only including legal documents but also personal letters and pedigree charts.

My week spent at the record office has been a truly interesting one, I have been fascinated by the documents I have seen and also the amount of resources that the record office and local studies offers to the public. As a result of my interest in history it has been remarkable to view and touch the documents that have evident historical importance.

Anna Burton

 

 

 

The Harry Gill Collection

Increased interest and media coverage in finding out about your past have encouraged people to think about what they do with their personal photographs. This has resulted in some wonderful collections being made available to ‘Picture the Past’. Some are loaned, some are donated but they are all the result of people wanting to share what they enjoy with others. This is great news for visitors to the website (www.picturethepast.org.uk) as it means getting to see, and enjoy, photos that previously might never have survived and probably would have ended up in the bin at some point.

One of the collections recently donated includes photos by a prominent Matlock photographer by the name of Harry Gill. Harry was a freelance photographer whose work appeared regularly in the Matlock Mercury and Derbyshire Times newspapers.  He developed (sorry for the pun!) an interest in cameras and photography at a young age, which was encouraged by his marriage to Clara Sheehan, of Bristol.  She was herself a skilled photographer and his daughter Phyllis Higton, believes it was probably her influence which led him to take up photography as a career.  Harry was a well known character in the local area and Phyllis remembers well her father’s studio in Matlock Bath, which was opposite to the Pavilion fishpond, particularly as she was often roped in to make the children smile when they had their portraits taken!  He was obviously quite the entrepreneur, dashing across the road as soon as the charabancs arrived loaded with tourists, taking their photographs and having them developed and ready to take home at the end of the day.

The collection includes images taken between the 1930’s and 1960’s, depicting life in and around Matlock and the Peak District.  They include all manner of shots from carnival queens, royal visits and the Matlock Bath road widening. The collection has been very kindly deposited in the Local Studies Library, at the Derbyshire Record Office by Phyllis (pictured below).  Digitised versions of the images will eventually appear on the ‘Picture the Past’ website which can be viewed by going to www.picturethepast.org.uk and we will share some with you over the coming months here.

Harry Gill with footballer Jimmy Greaves, taken when the England team trained at Lea green in 1964.

Harry Gill with footballer Jimmy Greaves, taken when the England team trained at Lea Green in 1964.

Phyllis Higton points to a photo of her late father, the photographer Harry Gill, before handing over his photographic collection to Lisa Langley-Fogg from the Local Studies Library and Nick Tomlinson from ‘Picture the Past’.

Phyllis Higton points to a photo of her late father, the photographer Harry Gill, before handing over his photographic collection to Lisa Langley-Fogg from the Local Studies Library and Nick Tomlinson from ‘Picture the Past’.

Work experience at the Record office

This week I went to the record office for my year 10 work experience. I had an excellent time as it was extremely interesting and informative, and I learnt a lot. During my placement I took part in a range of activities such as , working in the search room , finding documents in the stores , using the microfilms , spending time in picture the past , cataloguing documents , working in the computer room and local studies library and my favourite activity of the week , working in conservation for a morning. Also I got to experience reception as well, although it wasn’t exactly planned….

Amongst all of these activities I also studied some maps of Matlock, some were recent and some were from over one hundred years ago. From these maps I wrote down about what things are still here now and what things have gone and changed and also what new things have been built and on a whole how Matlock has changed. I studied ordnance survey maps from 1880 , 1899 , 1922 , 1967 , 1981 , 1986 and 2006 and found that my house was built somewhere between 1880 and 1899 as it was not on the 1880 map but it was on the 1899 map so must have been built during those 19 years. I also found out that Matlock has changed a lot over the years and especially between the maps 1899 and 1922, although that is 21 years but in that time there was a lot of progress as a lido was built and there was a town hall and post office and more houses so we can see that after the first world war Matlock started to develop more and began to become more populated. One of the main things I noticed when I was looking at the maps was that although some of the buildings were there and they were used they had their name changed overtime for example, Castle view primary school was once known as Matlock County Junior mixed and infant school in in 1967 but of course now is now as Castle view primary.

I really had a great time and feel as if I have gained some useful skills or enhanced the skills I already had. I also feel like I got a real insight into the type of work as I was dealing with real documents and was sorting them out, not only physically but also electronically on the computer.

It was a fantastic week, I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!

Written by Charlotte Davies, work experience student

My Melbourne: a century of my village

Last Wednesday I visited Melbourne Library and worked with some very knowledgeable local families to create pop-up theatre’s showing how the village had changed over the last hundred years or so. Here are the wonderful creations

I would especially like to thank Picture the Past who provided the photographs for the children to use during the event. The photographs we used and over 100,000 others for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire can be seen on their website at www.picturethepast.org.uk

More photos from this year’s Wingfield Manor Reading Challenge events

Since my last post, I have been to the libraries at Newbold, Creswell, Melbourne, Long Eaton, Dronfield and Eckington, and as at Glossop and New Mills at the beginning of the month, all th children have come up with some fantastic models of Wingfield Manor (some to fit this year’s Creepy House theme). Here are the photos from Newbold, Creswell and Dronfield where we made models of Wingfield Manor. Photos of family history suitcases and Melbourne pop-theatres to follow soon

Still to come this week and next – Chesterfield, Bolsover, Alfreton and Ilkeston. If you would like to come, please contact the relevant library (see http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/libraries/find_your_local_library/default.asp)