December edition of the Staffordshire Archives & Heritage Update

Staffordshire Archives and Heritage
Pifco tree lights, 1950s

Pifco tree lights, 1950s

Welcome to the December edition of the Staffordshire Archives and Heritage newsletter. If you are in Stafford over the Christmas period pop into the Record Office and look at our seasonal display.

We would like to thank all our volunteers, readers, researchers, visitors and Friends for your support throughout the year and to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 


Edwardian Postcards at the HAP Lichfield

What the Postman Saw! Edwardian Christmas Card

This month, to celebrate the festive season, the ‘Your heritage…’ project presents a fantastic collection of Edwardian Christmas postcards. Local historian John Gallagher shares a selection of festive examples from his collection. Come along to the History Access Point on the first floor in St Marys Lichfield, to view this fascinating display.

Are you looking for something to do over the Christmas break? Whilst viewing the display, you can also try your hand at making your own Christmas postcard using traditional images taken from vintage Christmas Cards in the Staffordshire Archives and Heritage collections. Create your own designs and share them with your loved ones over the holiday period.
For more information about future displays keep an eye on social media.

Have you got something from your family or organisation that you would like to share with the community? Contact Staffordshire Record Office to participate in the ‘Your heritage…’ project or to find out more.

Bull Baiting Collar

Bull Baiting Collar

New Donation from Bristol Museum Service

Museum volunteer John Bennett has been researching a new donation to the museum collection. 

Museums constantly review historical donations against their current collections policy with a view to avoiding duplication and to ensuring the collections are relevant to their local area and audiences. Bristol Museums and Art Gallery have offered the Archives and Heritage Service a bull baiting collar which was donated to them in 1937.
As a museum volunteer, I was tasked with researching the history of the item and if possible, identifying the original donor. The item was described as a bull-baiting collar which was donated to the Bristol Museum by Mrs Meese, widow of Joseph Meese of Staffordshire. The heavy-weight collar of rope and iron is attached to the tethering rope with an iron swivel and shackle. The tether would typically have been 15 yards (13.7m) long, restraining the bull to a stake in the centre of a ‘bull-ring’. Trained dogs were released to attack it and pull its head to the ground. The bull would seek to protect itself by tossing the dogs in the air. The barbarous sport was banned by an Act of Parliament in 1835 but may have lingered illegally for some time afterwards.
Pursuing the Bristol connection, I looked in the 1939 Register for a widow with the surname Meese and found only one candidate there: Harriett Meese, born Bristol, a widow. Next I searched the 1911 UK census for her and, fortunately found her in Bristol with her husband Joseph Meese born Brierley Hill, Staffordshire. This was a known location where the ‘sport’ was popular: where a local paper of 1839 noted its absence at Brierley Hill Wakes.
Further research identified that Joseph died in 1936, a year before the donation of the collar. Census returns identified that several generations of Joseph’s ancestors were involved in the iron industries of the Rowley Regis area back to the beginnings of the 19th century when it is likely the collar was made. It is probable that Joseph moved to Bristol via Newport, Monmouthshire as the local Staffordshire iron industry declined in the late 19th century.
Subsequently we discovered, via the British Newspaper Archive, a related article in the Western Daily Press dated 24th April,1937 with the headline ‘Unique Gift to Bristol Museum’.
A most interesting project.

Christmas Card 19th century

Staffordshire Record Office – Opening Hours

The new opening hours at the Staffordshire Record Office have now taken effect. 
• Tuesday: 10.00 – 4.00 
• Wednesday: 10.00 – 4.00 
• Thursday: 10.00 – 4.00
• Friday: 10.00 – 4.00 
• Saturday: 9.00 – 1.00 (third Saturday in the month)

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Staffordshire Archives News


Staffordshire Archives News


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