Special Edition 2 July 2020 Staffordshire Archives & Heritage Update

Staffordshire Archives and Heritage
Turkish Slipper early 20th century

Leather slipper, early 20th century

Welcome to this special edition of the Staffordshire Archives and Heritage newsletter. 

This week we visit the collections with a look at testimonials from the Lichfield Diocese and some of our more unusual shoes.


From the Collections

Document from Lichfield Diocese B-A-10-1694c


More Documents from the Lichfield Diocese

Ordination papers are a “bread and butter” series in the Diocese collection, but you might not know the range of information the documents can show. The main series starts in 1662 after the Commonwealth period, and continue to 1957 (B/A/10). Ordinations are also recorded in the Bishop’s registers. The bulk of the papers are actually testimonials, and many relate to curate’s positions. They may record where someone took their degree, or sometimes the name of a parent, where they have been working before, and what people think of them. A sample look at papers from 1693-1694 shows about half of them in Latin, often beautifully written and sealed, where the words like sober and honest, or pious and orthodox, are easily spotted. The rest are in English, a bit more informal, and tell little stories.

There is a letter to the Bishop on behalf of the vicar of Bushbury who is still waiting to be inducted and is not yet able to enforce the payment of fees, thus suffering under the “covetous dispositions” of some parishioners. There are other letters discussing stipends and whether a man can support a family (some places could only afford young men without families). In Ipstones there was a situation that prompted a petition from the parishioners. A man that the Bishop had not approved was still preaching there, but all except three of the congregation didn’t want him and they begged the Bishop to appoint another man of whom they approved. Some of the letters include best wishes from wives to the Bishop’s wife, suggesting a social contact outside the purely ecclesiastical administration. The testimonial was taken very seriously - there is also a request from the Bishop that information be given about any addiction to vice or scandal and if they fail to mention anything it will be their fault not the Bishop’s, and for which their souls will answer at the dreadful tribunal of God!

4 shoes from the museum collection: Turkish bath slipper, shoe for bound foot, leather slipper and embroidered shoe

Leather slipper (Turkey), shoe for bound foot (China), bath shoe (Turkey) and embroiderd shoe (India) all 20th century.

Shoes from Across the Globe 

Many people will know that the Museum Collection holds an important collection of shoes manufactured in Stafford by local companies, the majority of them made by Lotus. However, the collection also holds a selection of examples from much further afield. 

China, India, Turkey, Japan and North America are all represented in the collections. Some of the shoes formed part of the Stafford Museum collection which was transferred to the County in the 1980s. Others were linked to shoe manufacturers in Stafford who used them as a research collection in their design departments. Whatever their origin they form a fascinating glimpse into global shoe styles. 

The Team in Lockdown

Liz Street giving a talk at the Staffordshire Record Office

Liz giving a talk at the Staffordshire Record Office

This week we meet another member of the team at Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service. Liz Street, Archivist (Collections Management) is based at the Staffordshire Record Office.

What does your role involve?

I handle incoming accessions and create catalogue descriptions or collection summaries, and advise potential depositors. I manage the strongrooms and outstore, monitor our precious remaining space and plan for any relocations. I also spend part of my time in the reading room answering enquiries. I contribute to the exhibition programme and give occasional talks.

When did you start working with Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service?

1995 so I have just passed 25 years.

What made you choose this career?

I think it was something that grew on me during university, I thought it would be interesting, then did some work experience in my home town.

What is your favourite object or document or photograph from the collection?

That is hard, there are so many! I like the Stafford Borough collection, we have done two events around them in 2005 and 2013. As well as important early documents, this includes petitions from the early 19th century with lots of signatures, documents about the markets, billboard posters, building plans, and a huge deed about the town’s Coton Field. I like seeing the town being filled with people in the documents.

What is your most memorable moment about working for the Service?

There are lots. Giving a talk in front of the mayor and MP with no voice is one I won’t forget. Helping people who had relatives in the mental hospitals or workhouses or who were adopted is very rewarding. I helped re-unite two sisters who had been separated as children after being in care in the 1930s, both well into their 80s and coincidentally both living in the US, so they were able to meet up.


Brainteaser Solutions

Tixall Hall

SV XI.18 Tixall Hall

Tixall Hall c. Trustees of the William Salt Library

Spot the Difference 

There were 6 changes to the sepia wash image of Tixall Hall by J. Buckler, 1842 in last weeks edition. With thanks to the Trustees of the William Salt Library for the use of the image.

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