November edition of the Staffordshire Archives & Heritage Update

Staffordshire Archives and Heritage
Shugborough summer 2018


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

November sees the final stage of a two year project to move the County Museum Collection to it's new home in Stafford. We are looking forward to working in our new store and updating all the location records for our fantastic collection! 


Letters from the coal shed

Something Secret in the Coal Shed

In September the museum service was given a selection of letters and ephemera that were found in 1987 in the roof of the coal shed of 10 Hopton Street, Stafford.  One of the letters dated 1890, was from Edith Hunt who ran a school in Clapham. In her letter she reassures Mrs Goodall that her daughter will be happy there, training to become a governess. There is also a reply from Mary who is now at the school, telling her mother all about the exciting things she has seen in London. It must have been an amazing opportunity for a working class family. Mary mentions lots of the other family members which made them easier to trace. 

In 1891 the Goodall’s were living on Newport Road. Martha Goodall was the head of the family and lived with her two sisters Sarah and Annie. Mary says she will write to both her aunties soon. At home there is also Martha’s son, James Billington Goodall who is 17 and working as a grocer’s assistant. There are two other sisters, Gertrude, 12 and Jessy, 8. In the 1881 census Martha’s husband James is still in the household and they live on Lichfield Road. He is a baker and they live with other lodgers. By finding their family we were able to trace what happened to Mary. In 1911 she was working for the Silcock family at Bleasdale House in Poulton le Fylde. She looked after their three children, Mary, Gertrude and Richard. By this time Mary was 38 and unmarried. It was difficult for a governess to meet potential suitors in their line of work and they were in a challenging position, not being part of the family but not seen as a servant either. When she retired Mary went back to live on Lichfield Road with her sister Gertrude. They lived in the Gothic cottage which still stands today. Mary died a spinster in 1940 aged 68 and all of her effects are given to Gertrude.

We are still trying to find the link between the family and Hopton Street. Maybe there were other members of the family unaccounted for? We need more time to investigate.

North Elevation of Codsall Village Hall

A 1940s Vision of the Future for Codsall Village Hall 

A collection of architects drawings and documents has been acquired as as part of a wider collection from the former Staffordshire Community Council which closed its doors earlier this year. The Council played a supporting and advisory role for rural communities, and in the early 1970s carried out a county-wide survey of facilities concentrating on village halls.

It is possible that these village hall plans were collected at that point, but in fact the plans date from the late 1940s and 1950s. Some of them are particularly attractive and feature the work of well-known architects’ firms. This 1946 plan of Codsall Village Hall is by Lavender Twentyman & Percy of Wolverhampton, but might never have been built. The current hall dates from 1963, to a different design.

Many of the plans are in poor condition and will require repair before they can be handled without risk of further damage. You can see the tears in the brittle paper on this plan. We hope to be able to do this during next year. Selection criteria is based on demand combined with necessity. We always welcome suggestions of documents that need repair, or indeed donations to contribute to costs.

Shoes manufactured by Lotus, 1960s and 1970s

Exploring our Boot and Shoe Heritage 

If you are visiting Stafford for a spot of Christmas shopping over the next few weeks pop into the Ancient High House and take a look at the 'Best Foot Forward' exhibition. The display explores the history of the town's shoe industry with particular reference to Lotus shoes. There are examples of locally made shoes from the County Museum Collection on display and a chance to hear oral history testimony from some of the people who worked in the industry. For opening times visit the Stafford Museums website.  

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 - 

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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