County Architect collection now in the catalogue

We had a researcher round a few weeks ago who was mightily impressed with the strength and extent of our County Architect collection (D2200). It is a very useful collection if your research touches on public buildings in this county – it contains plans of libraries, police stations, fire stations, hospitals, care homes and so on. It also includes a thousand or so plans of schools, many drawn by County Architect George H. Widdows (1871-1946). Widdows was a hugely influential architect, especially when it came to the construction of schools. Or, as in the example shown below, the conversion of an existing building for use as a school:

Wyvern House 1920s D2200 65 1 3a.jpg

The site shown was originally two separate hydrotherapy institutions, called Church View and Bank House (later renamed Wyvern House – for more on this, have a look at Matlock Town Council’s guide to Hydro Heritage Trails). It then became the Ernest Bailey Grammar School in 1924, and is now Derbyshire Record Office, whence I write.

As part of the FindersKeepers project, this collection has recently been added to the online catalogue. That means you can now try this little experiment: go to our catalogue’s Advanced Search page. Put D2200* in the RefNo box (don’t forget the asterisk) and put the name of a Derbyshire town or village in a couple of boxes below that, where it says Any Text. I’m not saying there will definitely be a plan of a building that is familiar to you – I’m just saying it’s highly likely!

Or, you can follow this link to the entire list, if you prefer to browse the whole caboodle.

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Advent Calendar – Day 17

A week to go until Christmas Eve. We will be closing at 1pm on Christmas Eve and reopening at 9.30 on Tuesday 29th December. It will be a three day week though, as we will also be closed on the Friday for New Year’s Day, reopening as normal on Saturday 2nd January at 9.30.

Until then, we have a few more advent doors for you…

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Photograph of the football team at Chapel-en-le-Frith High School, c1960s (Ref: D3512/10/3)

image

Chapel-en-le-Frith High School was originally established as a boys school in 1830, with a girls school established in 1887. In 1934, the boys, girls and infants schools merged to become the Church of England Mixed School. From 1947, the school accommodated children of secondary school age only (primary school children being taught at what had been the Methodist Church). A new school was erected and opened in Long Lane in 1952 as Chapel-en-le-Frith County Secondary School, and is still there today as the High School.

Other records held in the school’s archive collection at the Record Office include log books 1935-1960, admission registers 1875-1947, governors’ minutes 1991-1993, and papers relating to courses taught between 1986 and 1988.

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.

SBloomer

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.

Log2

Log

Treasure 24: Ernest Bailey Grammar School photograph

Photographs of Derbyshire Record Office in the days when it was still the Ernest Bailey Grammar School were nominated as one of our 50 Treasures by our erstwhile colleague, Ruth Allen, who retired as a Library Assistant not so very long ago. Shortly after the refurbished Derbyshire Record Office re-opened its doors in 2012, Ruth wrote:

Many members of the public have come in to our new facility and told us that they were at school here.  I was a teacher before I worked for the library service and I have enjoyed finding these photographs.

D2650 Grammar School opening 1924

And now, a shocking admission: the image shown above – which we believe shows the official opening of the school in 1924 – was not actually chosen by Ruth! This is because the images that Ruth originally selected are still in copyright.  We would be within our rights to display them in a public exhibition, but publishing them online would not be permissible. Still, we hope you enjoy this image, which we dedicate to all former pupils.

Derbyshire Remembers Exhibition at Sudbury Hall

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.

volunteers researching

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.children from Dale School

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!

New Digitisation Project – School Records

We are very pleased to be able to soon be having our school admission registers and log books digitised as part in a national project which will ultimately make the digital versions available via the Find My Past website.

D5545 3 1 p1

Cresswell Log Book, D5545/3/1

The project, organised by the Archives and Records Association on behalf of archive and record offices across the country, is specifically looking at school records from 1914 and earlier, and will continue over a ten-year period. We are quite fortunate that the school records here at Derbyshire will be amongst the first to be digitised. Continue reading

Explore Your Archive – Reading, Writing and the Theatre Royal

Compare and Contrast – a selection of Derbyshire Record Office documents regarding Regency children and education.

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt1)

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt1)

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt2)

Derby Mercury, 18 November 1829 (pt2)

From 'Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope', 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

From ‘Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope’, 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

From 'Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope', 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

From ‘Sorrows, sacred to the memory of Penelope’, 1796 (published by Sir Brooke Boothby whose daughter Penelope died aged 5)

D2375 M/84/24 Printed orders to parents on the admission of their children into charity schools, 18th cent

D2375 M/84/24 Printed orders to parents on the admission of their children into charity schools, 18th cent

D6948/15/2 Pages from Belper Mill Girls School admission register, 1820s

D6948/15/2 Pages from Belper Mill Girls School admission register, 1820s

Dronfield Academy advert, Derby Mercury, 11 July 1811

Dronfield Academy advert, Derby Mercury, 11 July 1811

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt1)

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt1)

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt2)

D5410/17/6 Letter from Alleyne Fitzherbert (b.1815) at Tissington Hall (pt2)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt1)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt1)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt2)

D5410/17/5 Letter from William Fitzherbert (b.1808) at Charterhouse School, 1819 (pt2)

EYA-poster-story-boxes

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt1)

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt1)

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt2)

D394 Z/Z 49 Apprenticeship indenture of William Smith alias Waterfall of Bakewell, 1812 (pt2)

EYA-poster-poetry-workshop

D5459/1/35 Part of 'Sunday Morning', George M. Woodward.  On the back is written: 'GM Woodward sketches when a child.  These are evident proofs of his natural Genius he used to draw before he could speak plain (W.W.)' - the handwriting is that of his father, William Woodward.

D5459/1/35 Part of ‘Sunday Morning’, George M. Woodward. On the back is written:
‘GM Woodward sketches when a child. These are evident proofs of his natural Genius he used to draw before he could speak plain (W.W.)’ – the handwriting is that of his father, William Woodward.