School and College archives

A guide to archives of education in Derbyshire.

Before the Victorian period, there was limited access to formal education for most children because schooling was available mainly through fee-paying private, public and grammar schools.  In 1811 the Church of England founded the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church and encouraged the creation of schools throughout the country.  The following year, the British and Foreign Bible Society supported non-denominational education through “British” Schools, sometimes also known as Lancastrian Schools.  Legislative developments (including the Factory Acts promoting the establishment of education for children at work and the 1834 Poor Law (Amendment) Act requiring three hours of education per day for children in the workhouse) were limited until the Education Act of 1870.

This Act established School Boards to build and administer schools where existing education provision was inadequate.  Acts of 1876 and 1880 made education compulsory for children up to aged 10 and in 1901 elementary education became free of charge.

The Boards were abolished by the 1902 Education Act and established County and County Borough Councils as Local Education Authorities (LEAs).  The LEA system remains in place today though it does not cover schools that have become academies.  After 1902, the next significant change came in 1944 when the Butler Act widened the availability of secondary education, laying the groundwork for comprehensive, non-selective secondary schools.

School Board records tend to include the minutes of the Board meetings and financial records.  A full list of archive collections for School Boards can be found here.

School records

Although many schools have transferred or deposited records (including non-denominational and some Roman Catholic schools) unlike for parishes and public-recording bodies, there is no statutory or other obligation on schools to transfer their archives to the record office. Dates of the records vary from school to school but most begin from the late 19th century.  We hold virtually no archive collections for fee-paying schools, and it is best to contact the schools directly as many of them have their own arrangements.  The main series of school records available:

  • Log books are the Headteacher’s record of daily activities and can include information relating to staff appointments and sickness, pupil attendance figures, curriculum information and comments on school buildings.  Occasionally they may refer to some pupils by name and almost always include useful information about the local area.  In the 19th and early 20th century, the report of the HM Inspector was usually copied into the log book.
  • Admission registers usually give dates of pupil’s entry and departure, often including reason for leaving, age and date of birth, name and address of parent/guardian.  Most Derbyshire pre-1914 admission registers and log books can be found on Find My Past (subscription required).
  • Minutes of the meetings of managers/governors/trustees, mainly relating to administration

Other records that might be found in a school archive collection include photographs, newscuttings, school magazines/newsletters, event programmes, a small number of schools rules and teaching schemes, some school scrapbooks and occasionally Inspection Reports.

Pupil cards are only held for a very small number of schools: Netherthorpe School at Staveley, Tapton House School, Chesterfield, William Rhodes Secondary School for Boys, Chesterfield, Violet Markham School, Chesterfield, Chesterfield Grammar School, St Mary’s Roman Catholic Secondary School, Chesterfield and Herbert Strutt School, Belper.

Finding the records

Lists of the archive collections for schools and colleges and universities can be found on our online catalogue.  To find records for specific school, college, school board (or all those in a particular town), search the catalogue entering the word ‘school’ (or ‘school board’ or ‘college’, etc.) and the school/place name in the Archive Collection Creator field:

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Other records relating to schools
  • Parish archives for references to private and charitable educational foundations
  • D335 for school plans submitted to central government for building grants in the 19th century and D2200 for plans created by the County Architect’s Department
  • County Council’s School Organisation files (mostly for closed schools) are held under references D2080 and D5288, with other records from the county council’s Education department under reference DCC/ED, including a small number of Registers of Teaching and Caretaking Staff arranged by school are available between 1904 and 1946, along with some Pupil Teacher records 1904-1908
  • OFSTED Inspection reports are held in Local Studies
  • House of Commons report of 1841/2 on educational provision is also available in Local Studies (class: 370.94251, file).
A note about access

Under the Data Protection Act, records containing personal information less than 100 years old are not generally available for public consultation. Access to these records may be permitted if evidence is provided that the individual to whom the information relates is no longer living. In many cases, we may not be able to provide access to the full record in the search room, as other people mentioned in the records may still be alive. In these cases, our staff can undertake a search of the records on your behalf and provide relevant extracts from the record.

Records not held by the record office 
  • pupil records or personal files for individual pupils (excluding the pupil cards for schools mentioned above)
  • examinations results and certificates
  • current school records.
Further Reading
  • Marion Johnson (1970) Derbyshire Village Schools in the 19th century
  • A. Clarke (1983) Finding out about Victorian Schools
  • P. Horn (1978) Education in Rural England, 1800-1914
Appendix: Features of Victorian school education
  • Class monitors: older school children who acted as teaching assistants
  • Pupil-teacher system: introduced in 1846, 13-year old children were appointed as pupil teachers within schools.  At the end of this time, they could progress to college to formally qualify
  • ‘Payment by results’: from 1862 grant aid was linked to regular pupil attendance and performance in exams
  • Standards: from 1862, pupils in elementary schools were divided into six standards according to age, ability and successful completion of annual exams.

 

 

Record Office on Lockdown – new research guides, new catalogues, new resources

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how the work we would be doing from home now that we were unable to have physical access to the archives and local studies collections – well here’s how we’ve been getting on.

Not on the original list of lockdown labours, though still we hope very useful, are a new series of Research Guides to help discover the incredible collections we hold and the best resources to use depending on what it is you are trying to find out.  From tomorrow (Thursday 16 April), we will publish a new Research Guide via the blog every 3 days or so – with the aim that even seasoned researchers will find out something new.

As you might expect, we have received far fewer enquiries from customers than we normally would – between the 1st and 15th April 2019, we received 132 email and postal enquiries, this year we have received just 21.  Mostly, the subjects of the enquiries were familiar to us (house history, getting a copy of your own baptism certificate, researching a family coat of arms, locating the graves of ancestors), but a request for information from someone researching a documentary about Robbie Williams was a little out of the ordinary!  Although our ability to answer emails is somewhat reduced while we cannot access the collections, we are certainly doing our best – including in relation to Robbie Williams.

Most of us are engaged in converting old catalogue lists and other information that can be published online (via our catalogue) so that we can share as much as possible about the collections with everybody around the world:

  • over 500 entries from the Local Studies authors index typed in anticipation of being added to the online catalogue
  • almost 70 detailed biographical files researched and formatted, to make it easier to find other records in the collections relating to the same individuals or families
  • hundreds of individual descriptions for apprenticeship indentures, bastardy bonds and other records that had previously only been summarised.

Several old handwritten and typed (i.e. typewriter) lists have been re-typed so that we can import them into the online catalogue.  We had thought we might have to wait some time before the information would be publicly available, but we hope the first lists will be available from next week.  These collections will include:

  • D8252 Frederick C Boden (1902-1971), miner, author and lecturer
  • D5440 Chesterfield, Bolsover and Clowne Water Board
  • D1661 Diocesan Ecclesiastical Dilapidations records for Derbyshire parishes
  • D9 Dakeyne family of Darley Dale – this was one of the first collections to be deposited with the county council, way back in 1922. Back then the record office didn’t exist and although a rough list of the contents was created back in the 1960s (following the appointment of a County Archivist in 1962), we will finally get the list published in time for the 100th anniversary of its deposit!
  • Plus the detailed descriptions of apprenticeship indentures.

Lots of us are beavering away on converting various other lists that have never been converted to a digital format, so there will be plenty more of these to come in next few weeks.

Several resources for schools have been published online (particularly for teachers doing amazing work with the children of key workers, and for all the parents who have unexpectedly found themselves home-schooling).  In particular there is a mini timeline of Derbyshire history from prehistory to the 21st century – we will need to wait a little while longer yet to see what the historians make of the current world situation!

Secondary and FE Learning Tours – Derwent Valley Mills

Are you a teacher, teaching assistant or group leader working with KS3, 4 and Post-16 students? Staff from the World Heritage Site invite you to take a learning tour with them on Friday 13th March 2019 – Free of charge, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council funded Great Place Scheme.

 

Visits and free entry to the following venues will be included:

  • Cromford Mills, Cromford
  • Birdswood, The Friends of Cromford Canal trip boat
  • Sir Richard Arkwright’s Masson Mills
  • Derbyshire Record Office
  • High Peak Junction Railway Workshops
  • Strutt’s North Mill, Belper

You’ll go away with plenty of ideas and opportunities to build knowledge about this great place into your teaching, learning, enrichment and engagement activities, whatever your focus.  There is a chance to meet other staff providing learning opportunities at sites along the valley to really discover the range on offer.

  • Find out what a World Heritage Site is and why the Derwent Valley Mills was inscribed by UNESCO
  • Discover the wide range of learning opportunities available for Key Stage 3, 4 and Post 16 students along this 15 mile site.
  • Travel by minibus with expert guides visiting a range of museums, sites and venues to explore their learning offer.
  • Discuss and shape what you need for your students – are you looking for work experience?  Specific projects?  Enrichment Days?  STEM subjects?
  • Take away some learning activities and trip opportunities that you can share with your students to bring the story of the Derwent Valley Mills to life.
  • Find out about the world’s first factories, a hot bed of entrepreneurship and enterprise and the rich history and heritage available to provide a wealth of opportunities that you can unlock for your students

How to book:

Places are limited.  To reserve you place email: environmentalstudies@derbyshire.gov.uk  or call Derbyshire Environmental Studies Service on 01629 533439.

Please provide your name, school or organisation, contact email and phone number and any specific needs and mobility issues you have so we can ensure you have a successful and enjoyable day.

For more information see Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Projects.

 

The (very) Young Victoria… Miss Appleton and the Duchess of Kent

ITV’s ‘Victoria’ is back on television, and so this seems a good time to follow up on my previous blog post about Miss Elizabeth Appleton, where I mentioned that some sources suggested she had been considered as a governess for the future Queen Victoria.  The reason for this suggestion can be found in William Porden’s diary (archive reference no. D3311/4/6).  On 10 September 1820, Mr Porden writes:

Miss Appleton at dinner.  She has lately published a book on the Early Education of Children which she has dedicated to the Duchess of Kent and having received a visit from Gen [blank] on the part of the Duchess about a fortnight ago, has been in high expectation of being summoned to attend her Royal Highness and perhaps her flattering fancy may have given her an establishment in her Royal Highnesses household.  She has now received a Letter from Capt. Conway commanding her attendance on Wednesday.  What will be the result?

Miss Appleton clearly described what happened on her momentous visit to the Duchess of Kent in great detail, as it takes up nearly three and a half pages of Mr Porden’s diary.  She visited on 13 September and the young Princess Victoria, who would have been almost 16 months old at the time, is described (like many babies of that age!) as ‘a healthy fat thing’ .  After being passed through a chain of servants, she waited in ‘a magnificent Drawing Room’ until she  was taken to the Duchess’ dressing room for an audience…

Where besides the Duchess were the little Princess seated on a piece of Tapestry, the English Nurse attending her and other Attendants standing round rather in Scenic Order.  She was most graciously received and had perhaps half an hour’s rather familiar conversation.

Miss Appleton had brought a doll as a present for the princess, which was:

…given to the Child on the Carpet who appeared delighted with it but began to pull its head-dress and cloathing as made Miss A apprehensive that its drapery which she had taken so much pains with would be destroyed before her face.

Anyone who knows small children of this age would hardly be surprised at this!  Miss Appleton mentions that she was dressed in white, whereas the Duchess and everyone else was in black.  The Duke of Kent had died in January of that year, and Miss Appleton’s outfit seems to have been a bit of a faux pas, as ‘The Princess was struck with the contrast, and showed surprise, more than pleasure.’

Painted a few years later, this portrait of the duchess (still in black) and her daughter, by Henry Bone, gives an indication of how the Duchess would have looked.

Unfortunately for Miss Appleton, the book dedication and her visit didn’t result in a job offer.  Given the fact that she subsequently opened a highly profitable school, she perhaps didn’t mind too much in the end.