July edition of the Staffordshire Archives & Heritage Update

Staffordshire Archives and Heritage
Small spoon stamped 'County Mental Hospital, Stafford'
A recent acquisition stamped 'County Mental Hospital, Stafford'


Welcome to the June edition of the  Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service e-newsletter. 

This month we received a donation of items from local hospitals including St Georges, Stafford Infirmary and Standon Hall. More information to follow in the August edition. 


Royal Doulton Pattern Book, c. 1898

Doulton Progress

The ‘Doulton Described’ Project has been taking place for over a year now at Stoke-on-Trent City Archives, we still have a lot of work to do before the collection can be consulted, but we are making good progress. Cataloguing the production material is proving to be quite challenging and more time consuming than expected, but it is also rewarding. The most engaging items within this part of the collection are undoubtedly the early pattern books, some even name the individual artists who worked on pieces.

Thanks to the hard work, and ability to decipher difficult handwriting, of volunteer Pam Woolliscroft, these names will appear in the catalogue. Pam has currently worked through each of the Robert Allen Design Studio Pattern Books noting artist’s names and drawing out other interesting features to assist researchers. Names such as Percy Curnock, David Dewsberry (Orchid Specialist), Harry Piper, John Hugh Plant (Landscape Artist), George White (Figure Painter), Charles Hart  (Fish and Game Painter), Richard Ridgway (Gilder) and Edward Raby (Floral Artist) all appear.

William Owen in his publication 'The Royal Doulton Artists' paid tribute to Raby: "To possess a Doulton vase adorned by one of these gems of colour by Edward Raby is to hold a treasure of Ceramic Art". A Doulton pattern introduced in 1935 is named 'Raby Rose'! 

B-C-5-1691 Clandestine Marriage Bundle
Bundle of case papers and witness statements about a clandestine marriage and the couple’s secret courtship and amours in the house of an aunt who was ‘sometimes by’ (and presumably sometimes not…)

Grant Funding for Lichfield ‘Bawdy’ Courts Project

We are delighted to announce that the Archive Service has been awarded a grant by Archives Revealed  for The Lichfield ‘Bawdy’ Courts Project.. At its heart this project has a straightforward outcome: a catalogue of a major series of highly engaging and information-rich church court case papers, 1534-1900. The court papers reveal the voices of ordinary people, telling their stories in their own words with detail which may be informative, amusing, or even scurrilous, about the dispute and disputants, hence the contemporary nickname ‘bawdy courts’. The completed catalogue will identify case-type, names, occupations, places and key features of the cases. The project will facilitate an ambitious set of activities and resources to make the collection widely accessible, including easy-to-use online indexes for family historians and community groups; a ‘Bawdy Courts Blog’ and a collaborative local history research project. In addition, the cataloguing project will offer development opportunities for our staff and volunteers which will enable us to consolidate and embed the former Lichfield Record Office collections at Staffordshire Record Office.

The project will begin later this year and will run for 2 years – we will keep you posted about progress and volunteer opportunities. For more information contact Rebecca Jackson 

Child's Dress 19th century and reproduction 2018.

Spot the Difference! 

July sees the launch of the Museum Service's latest exhibition, 'Through the Eyes of a Child' at Brampton Museum, Newcastle-under-Lyme. The exhibition explores the lives of children past and present through the museum objects that tell their stories.

Sarah Bradshaw, our Costume and Display Technician, has created a reproduction of a beautiful child's dress from the museum collection. The original dress (on the left) dates from the late 19th century. It is made of silk and trimmed with velvet. It would have been worn by a child aged about 3 to 4 years. Sarah's reproduction is made from modern washable fabrics and can be tried on by children visiting the exhibition. The construction took over a week to complete and includes over 29 metres of cording!  

Kinver Edge Archive Group at Staffordshire Record Office
Kinver Edge Archive Group at Staffordshire Record Office.

New Collection Received from Kinver Edge

In 1917 the Kinver Edge Committee, was formed to manage Kinver Edge and the Holy Austin Rock Houses which had recently been gifted to the National Trust by its owners, the Lee family. The National Trust was a young organisation in 1917 and the Kinver site is one of its earlier properties. In the Trust’s early days it relied on local groups of volunteers to manage properties and although its role has changed the Kinver Edge Committee still works with the Trust today in the upkeep of one of Staffordshire’s most unusual and interesting heritage sites.  Earlier this month the Committee deposited its archive, which is an unusually complete and possibly unique record of a local management committee. It allows us not just to trace the history of the site but also the developing ideas about heritage management over the course of the 20th century.

A New Collaboration

A new collection is always exciting but what makes this collection unique for the Archive Service is that it arrived ready catalogued. A team of volunteers (the Kinver Edge Archive Group) with support from the Committee, the Archive Service and the National Trust, set out on the task of collecting the archive material from a number of locations (including a Birmingham solicitor and under a bed!). The Archive Service provided advice and training about sorting and cataloguing but the volunteers spent the necessary hours of toil to complete the project and we were all delighted to see our collaboration come to a successful conclusion. The collection catalogue is available on Gateway to the Past, search for collection reference D7631 to find out more about the project and the group’s methodology. We will be showcasing this project at the Staffordshire History Day next May. For further information please contact Rebecca Jackson 

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