Updated August edition of the Staffordshire Archives & Heritage Update

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In this, the latest e-newsletter from the Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service. 

This month has been busy with lots going on across the service. We were blessed with good weather for the carriage photography but we have also been attending village fetes and exploring the world of brass rubbing!  

Our aim is to keep you updated with the latest developments and events. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter please use the 'unsubscribe' button at the bottom of this page.

William Salt Portrait

Heritage Open Day

Join staff at the William Salt Library on Saturday 9 September. Behind the scenes tours will tell the unique history of the collection and the building that houses it. Visitors can find out about about some of the more unusual items in the collection and there will be special pieces displayed together for the first time. 

A family craft activity for creative fingers will run in the courtyard, exploring hidden stories and secret messages. Booking is required for the tours - please visit the Heritage Open Days website for more details.


Moving the Dyott barouche onto the turntable

Between the 24 and 26 July the carriage collections at the County Museum were photographed by Art UK. All 22 carriages took their turn on the turntable. The images will be stitched together and will appear on a new website due to be launched early next year. The project forms part of the County Museum's 'Moving On' programme, funded by Arts Council England. For more information on the project contact Chris Copp, Senior Museum Officer. 

Thomas d'Audley

Rubbing along at Staffordshire Record Office

We’ve recently come across a series of full length brass rubbings in the collections at Staffordshire Record Office. Brass rubbing was perhaps a more popular past time in times gone by, and was used to record the intricate brass ornamentation (often featuring figures in period costume and heraldic designs or animals) sometimes found on older memorials in churches in place of carved effigies or engraved inscriptions. An engraved brass plaque (shapes and sizes varied considerably) would be fixed to the top of the tombstone as part of the memorial design, and in later centuries interested individuals would create a ‘brass rubbing’ by placing a suitably sized piece of paper over the memorial and gently rubbing over it with a crayon or pencil to record the details.

The rubbings we found come from Audley and Caverswall, and the picture shows the full sized rubbing from the memorial of Thomas d’Audley in Audley church. Thomas, the son of James d’Audley, died in 1386. His tomb was originally in the nave of the church, and his impressive brass effigy was accompanied by his helmet and crest attached to a nearby column, which remained in place for over 300 years. The tomb was removed to make way for new pews in 1850 and the memorial brass taken away from the church. It was returned some 40 years later, and re-sited in the chancel.

The sheet of paper which holds the rubbing measures some 6 feet in length and takes some rolling back up again! For more information contact Ben Cunliffe, Archive Assistant.

Missing page from Parish Register

Page from missing parish register identified.

This item was found in one of our solicitor’s collections this month by one of our readers. It is for Butterton in the Moorlands, and although it had been catalogued years ago as containing parish register entries, the connection had not then been made that it must be a page from a lost original, as the Butterton registers are now lost before 1746. A survey of parish documents made in 1935 mentions two earlier registers from 1686, but both in poor condition without good bindings. We believe that this page survived because the other side of the page contains useful information about the ownership of lengths of the churchyard fence. Keep your eyes peeled, everyone, there may be more of them about.

Minton Project Conservator Jess Hyslop

"And now back to the studio" 

August sees the end of the Minton Conservation Project, which has been ongoing for the last year. Funded by the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust and the Art Fund, with contributions from the Wolfson Foundation and the Pilgrim Trust, the project enabled a Project Conservator to work full-time conserving a selection of books and artworks from the Minton Archive.

22 items have now been conserved, including the very earliest Minton pattern books, several ornaments books, and two lever arch files of single-sheet ‘shape’ designs. Many of the books were in a very fragile state, and needed complex treatment including re-sewing their text blocks and replacing or reinstating the leather on their spines. They are now much more stable and can be handled safely by users of the archive for a long time to come. What’s more, the project has enabled the Stoke-on-Trent City Archives to make high-quality scans of many of these beautiful books, with the plan to make them available digitally in the future.

More information about the project, including photos and sneak-peeks of the conservation treatments, can be found on the Minton Archive website where Project Conservator Jess Hyslop has been blogging about her work throughout the year.

Visitors enjoying the museum and archives activities at Sandon Fete

Bees and Badges at Sandon Fete 

Staff from the museum and archives teams took items from the collections to the Sandon and District Village Fete which took place at Sandon Hall on Saturday 12 August.

We had a great day talking to lots of people about our collections, looking at local photographs and objects and asking people what they would like to see from the service in the future. The bee smoker was a talking point for many of the visitors. We also ran a badge making activity for children which went down a storm! 

We will be visiting village shows and fetes for the rest of the year, so watch this space for our next event…

Image of female prisoner and quilt inspired by the photograph

Criminal Quilts - Art Exploring Victorian Women Criminals 

Join us for the launch of the Criminal Quits project on Friday 8 September at the Staffordshire Record Office.

Ruth Singer is working with Staffordshire Record Office and Wolverhampton University on an art project throughout 2018. The project is inspired by photographs and documents in the archives which Ruth has been researching and working with since 2012. Ruth has been inspired by photographs of women criminals who posed with their hands on their chests as a form of unique identification. 

The project has been funded by Arts Council England, Staffordshire County Council and the Brewhouse Arts Centre.

The event runs from 1pm to 4pm. Tickets are free and can be booked via the Staffordshire Record Office. Email or telephone 01785 278379.

Events and Exhibitions

Staffordshire Archives News


Staffordshire Archives News


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