August edition of the Staffordshire Archives & Heritage Update

Staffordshire Archives and Heritage
Sandon Fete


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

We have crammed a lot into this edition which has a rather medical based theme. Find out about our Wellcome Trust funded project and the new collections from Burton Hospital together with how probate records can help with family research.  

On Saturday 11th August we attended the Sandon and District Village Fete at Sandon cricket ground. This was our second year and once again we were situated next to the WI cake stand which meant we were in a very busy part of the ground and that we had some lovely cake to take home with us at the end of the day. Visitors could view the museum objects, old photographs and maps which we took along. Not sure how well we fared against the ferret racing, best pet show or Winston Churchill who was also in attendance but we really enjoyed our day out. Make it a date in your diary for next year!


Wellcome Project - St George's Hospital Stafford
Plan of St George's, Stafford. 19th case notes often included photographs of patients.

Wellcome Trust Research Resources Grant

We are delighted to announce that the Archive Service has been awarded a grant by the Wellcome Trust for a 2-year cataloguing and engagement project. 

Our project ‘A Case for the Ordinary: The Patient Experience of Mental Health Care in Staffordshire’ will focus on the patient case records from the 3 former County Asylums, later renamed St George’s (Stafford), St Edward’s (Cheddleton) and St Matthew’s (Burntwood). Patient case records are not open for access until they are 100 years old but we will make the earlier records available for research. In addition we will be producing a database of information extracted from the case notes with advice from academics in the fields of medical and social history research, which will be the major research resource produced by the project. Throughout the 2 years we will create a touring exhibition and offer a series of talks at venues across the County about the history of mental health care in Staffordshire. If you would like to know more about the project, which will begin later this year, please contact Rebecca Jackson. 

The project was timed to coincide with the 200th anniversary of St George’s (and coincidentally the 70th anniversary of the NHS). We took an exhibition about St George’s to an NHS 70th anniversary event at the hospital in July.

NHS 70th Anniversary Event, July 2018
Nurses looking at the St George's Exhibition

Burton Hospital Collection

Burton Hospital collections

Amongst the large collections recently relocated from Lichfield to Staffordshire Record Office is a large collection for the Burton Hospitals and Institution. Patient records less than 100 years have an access restriction, but we can start to make available records that are reaching 100 years, or permission can be obtained by the closest direct descendant. Included is this register of former soldiers who were treated as out-patients following discharge at the end of WWI from 1917.

The volume gives name, address, date of admission, regimental number, rank, regiment, disease (or condition), treatment, and from where discharged. These are local men who have returned home after discharge, some of whom have been discharged from another hospital, mainly military or general hospitals in the UK but a few directly from France. There are a wide range of conditions recorded including gun shot or shrapnel wounds, fractures and other injuries or amputations, ulcers and other skin complaints, rheumatism and lumbago, bronchitis and other breathing complaints, fevers, stomach complaints, damage to eyes, nerve damage, neurasthenia, myalgia, shell shock. An index has been made of all the names. There is also a register of soldier in-patients 1918-1919, mainly from other areas (BD90). Included in the collection is also a baptism register starting in 1911 for Burton Workhouse, later for Belvedere Hospital (workhouse infirmary), and continuing to 1959 as Andressey Hospital.  These are contained in collection LD475. Please remember to give advance notice to access these records.

Wills Bundle

Treasures of the Dead – What can probate do for your family research?

An often overlooked resource: a wealth of information can be found in the final wishes of the deceased. The lost or hidden family connections that you thought would never be found; the lands, trades and possessions of ancestors lost in the mists of time.

But what are probate documents? Probate refers to the official documents that were lodged with the courts allowing the deceased person’s assets to be properly and legally dealt with. What might they include? Wills were written or dictated by the individual themselves, giving you a glimpse into their world before their death; who and what was important to them; sometimes written in their own hand and signed with their signature. Administrations were applied for, often by a family member, to administer the estate of the deceased when they have died intestate (without leaving a will). Inventories can be attached to wills or administrations and list the valuables, lands and possessions of the deceased. These can help to build up a picture of their social and economic status or to understand the tools of their trade.

You may be aware that we hold a large collection of original probate, dating from 1521 -1858, but did you know that you can find Lichfield Diocesan Consistory Court probate online at Find My Past? As a diocesan collection you can hunt your ancestors not only into Staffordshire but also into parts of Warwickshire, Derbyshire and Shropshire. Free access to Find My Past is available in Staffordshire Libraries and Archives.

For some interesting examples keep an eye on twitter and Facebook over the coming weeks. If you find your own interesting examples and would like to share them please forward them to  

In next month’s newsletter find out what happens when things don’t quite go to plan with probate.

Getting ready for the book sale in the Reading Room

Buy the Book! 

We have been moving things around in the reading room at  Staffordshire Record Office to make way for our book sale, there are lots of local history books about Staffordshire and some real bargains to be had, so if you are passing do pop in to see what we have on offer!

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. 

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