October edition of the Staffordshire Archives & Heritage Update

Staffordshire Archives and Heritage
Annabel Shoe by Lotus, 1970
'Annabel' by Lotus, 1970


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

From 6 November we are putting our 'Best Foot Forward' at the Ancient High House in Stafford with a new exhibition about the shoe industry in Stafford. Admission free. 


The Picture House, Stafford
The Picture House, Bridge Street, Stafford decorated for end of war celebrations 5553/1

Views of Armistice

On the 11th of November 1918 at 11am an armistice came into effect that led to the end of World War I. Every year on this day we take the opportunity to mark the occasion, honouring the request of King George V when he asked that a silence be observed so "the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead". We hold our two minutes silence with quiet reflection on the losses and sacrifices of those who have fought for their country.

But how was the Armistice greeted in Staffordshire at that time, 100 years ago? We explore diaries and letters in the Staffordshire Record Office collections and a Lichfield Mercury newspaper article to give us some insight.

The Great War had been long and drawn out, as the Mayor of Lichfield states “four years of desperate struggle”.  Although there was a wish to celebrate “a day of the greatest rejoicing, a day that will be long remembered, a day of which we are justly proud” but he also asked that “jubilation be tempered with moderation”.

In Lichfield scenes of happiness filled the streets, “the bells of St Mary’s rang a merry peal”, “practically every house had its flag flying as a symbol of the general rejoicing” and “a huge bonfire was lighted by the Mayor in the Recreation Grounds”. Whilst in Stone, Lois Turner reveals, “the bells were ringing, flags hoisted and put out of windows, fog horns going off on the railway and people dancing about” and “The wounded soldiers had a big bonfire and fireworks”. Clifford Gothard who was in the process of returning to his post in France reported “Boats all over bunting when we arrived at Boulogne – we hoisted two strings of flags. The French were so excited and cheered...”

But personal letters of soldiers such as Captain Noel Stubbs, who was also still abroad, reveal that whilst it was initially “glorious to think that the war is at last over and it is only a matter of time now until Peace is signed a demobilisation starts” there was still a long road ahead. Just 2 weeks later he was cautioning that “the war is not over yet” as the Armistice did not necessarily mark an end to all conflict.

The shadow of the ongoing flu epidemic still hovered in the background. Captain Noel Stubbs wrote that he “never felt so ill in my life”.

Thoughts were inevitably drawn to those who would not be returning home to their families. General Sir Walter Norris Congreve sadly writes “I can think of nothing but what the war has cost me in taking Billie. I can get up none of the enthusiasm which makes the streets full of cheering crowds…”. William La Touche Congreve died age 25 on 20th July 1916.

These are just a few voices sharing their views of Armistice – Staffordshire Record Office holds many more photographs, letters, articles and diaries which can shed light on the events of the past through the eyes of the participants. Explore our collections to find out more 


Photograph of the Picture House, Bridge Street, Stafford decorated for end of war celebrations 5553/1

Letters from Captain Noel Stubbs 6458

Letter from Lois Turner to her brother Bill

Diary of Sir Walter Norris Congreve D1057/O/5/2

Diary of Clifford Gothard D4090/4

Enchanted Weston FOSSA Visit

Friends of Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archives

Join FOSSA for 'An Enchanted Evening' at Weston Park Tuesday 18 December, 6pm

As night falls, visitors to the Enchanted Weston experience will follow an illuminated trail over half a mile through the woodland on a serene and magical walk. Picking out some of the scenic landmarks, towering trees and other hidden delights of Weston Park, the half-mile woodland walk will create an enchanting backdrop to an unforgettable festive night out for children and adults alike. Alongside Enchanted Weston visitors we can enjoy Festive Fizz & Eats in the Stables Courtyard. This pop up eating and drinking experience by Fizz Festivals will capture the essence and vibrancy of a winter festival atmosphere. Festive Fizz and Eats is where you’ll find comfy seating, faux fur throws and a fire pit to sit around. The perfect place to luxuriate and enjoy the season in style, there will be a wide selection of street food and cocktails to choose from, as well as essential winter warmers such as hot chocolate and marshmallows. There will be live music each evening, as well as some fabulous Christmas shopping opportunities. 

Meet at the entrance to Weston Park at 6pm. We will have the mince pie and the mulled wine (included in the price) then the walk starts at 6.30 pm. Numbers Limited. Snow not guaranteed! FOSSA members £12.50, non-members £14.00. To book a place contact Malcolm Price - malcolm.price@virgin.net 

Study Days at the Staffordshire Record Office 

Unfolding The Poor Law: Poverty and Parish Relief in Staffordshire up to 1834’ 

Saturday 10 November 2018 (10am - 3pm)

This study day looks at the consequences of the Poor Law for the people it tried to support and the parish officials, tradesmen, and others who administered it. The day will draw on new research, made possible by an archival volunteer group at Stafford, to unfold and understand the ephemeral documents or ‘vouchers’ used to track payments and other goods and services bought by the Poor Law.  There will be talks about the ongoing project, and a chance to look at and handle the ‘vouchers’ we’ve been reading.

‘Extracting the Past: The Archaeology of Modern Day Quarrying in Staffordshire’

Saturday 24 November 2018 (10am - 3pm)

Secondly we hear from archaeologists from around the county who will take us from the time when Woolly Mammoths roamed Staffordshire in the ice age up to the modern day.  Come and hear more about long lost rivers, later pre-historic settlements and Anglo-Saxon sites uncovered in recent times across Staffordshire.

For more information or to make a booking visit our website

William Salt

William Salt Celebrates his 210th Birthday

October 2018 is the 210th birthday of William Salt who was born on 29 October 1808 in London. William was the son of John Stevenson Salt and Sarah Stevenson, and the great-grandson of John Stevenson who, in 1737, founded the first bank in Stafford. The Stevenson family also established a bank in London, of where William Salt became a partner.

By his early twenties William Salt had developed an interest in collecting topographical and genealogical books and manuscripts. The financial security from the family business enabled him to pursue this passion throughout his life. His family originated in Staffordshire and his collections concentrated on this county. During his life he acquired property in Staffordshire but never lived here. You can explore the William Salt Collection here

New accession 7650-4-1-c

The Old Platoon at Baswich

A new accession from the Military Historical Society (7650) includes items from the Home Guard platoon based at Baswich House, known affectionately as the Old Platoon. These all relate to the Second World War, and include an attendance book which also includes information about training and watch duties. There are also financial records of the social and canteen fund including bills from local suppliers of provisions, and letters from two servicemen who received Christmas gifts, and a retired member now too infirm to continue.

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