Staffordshire Archives & Heritage Newsletter 12 November 2021

Staffordshire Archives and Heritage

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share

12 November 2021

Acid free cardboard boxes for packing the collection at the William Salt Library

Above - Boxes waiting to be packed in the Trustees Room. Below - packed boxes ready for the move

Freshly packed boxes in the Reading Room

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

We have a bit of packing to do at the William Salt Library. Staff and volunteers are preparing the collection to move from the Library building in Eastgate Street to a temporary home.

The collection has been in situ for over a 100 years, so as you can imagine a move like this involves a lot of preparation, including cleaning and packaging. There is also some some remedial conservation work to ensure a safe and clean transfer of the collection.

If you are interested in volunteering to help prepare the collection for the big move please contact Staffordshire Record Office



From the collections

Unfinished watercolour of a Curlew

D1287-1995-66 Page 30

Unfinished Curlew

This unfinished but detailed watercolour sketch comes from the Bradford collection, one of our major archive holdings.  It was painted around the late 1880s by one of the Bridgeman family’s children and was preserved by their mother in an album of sketches and handmade greetings cards.

The bird shown is a curlew, the largest European wading bird with a wingspan of up to 100cm. Female curlews weigh on average around 1,000g whilst the males are smaller, weighing (on average) about 770g. They live on a diet of shellfish, shrimps and worms, and can be seen wading in coastal areas and on moorland in the summer. They lay their eggs in a ground nest called a ‘scrape’, with parent curlews incubating the eggs for about four weeks. Curlew chicks then remain with their parents for a further four weeks until they are old enough to fly. Curlews can be found across Northern Europe and Russia, as far as Lake Baikal.

When this painting was made, curlews were widespread across the UK. However, there has been a significant decline in population in recent years with breeding populations limited to upland areas, particularly in Scotland and northern England.  This is in part due to an increase in predators (such as foxes) which steal curlew eggs, and in part due to changes in intensive agricultural practices in areas where they traditionally bred.  Unfortunately for the curlew, they were listed as being ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List in 2008 and it is feared that there may be regional or national extinctions across part of its natural range.

Advance notice of temporary closure

From March 2022 Staffordshire Record Office will temporarily close its onsite public service. This is to enable preparatory surveys to take place prior to construction of the Staffordshire History Centre. The final date of closure will be advertised once permission to start the project has been confirmed.

The staff team and volunteers will relocate to a temporary base during the construction period. There will be no public physical access to the collection whilst the service is closed. From Spring 2022 staff will provide a limited remote service including copying/digital images from collections, answering enquiries about the collection and a basic research service.

The temporary closure is planned to last for 12-18 months dependent on the construction programme. For further updates please refer to the Planning a Visit page on our website.  

Members of the team attending the salvage training this week

In case of emergency . . . 

This week the teams at Staffordshire Record Office and the Stoke on Trent City Archives have been taking part in collections salvage training with Emma from Harwell Restoration.  

The training concentrated on ensuring the correct procedures are in place to protect collections from potential disasters such as water damage from burst pipes or floods. 

The almshouses, image courtesy of the Trustees of the William Salt Library

Thomas Guy's Almshouses, Tamworth

Tamworth featured in the recent online VCH Staffordshire Study Day about welfare provision in the county, with an account of the almshouse in Gungate founded by Thomas Guy (1644–1724) given by Dr Nigel Tringham. Guy was otherwise best known for his eponymous hospital in London.
Read more 

Photograph of a male patient from one of Staffordshire's asylums

A Case for the Ordinary 

If you are in Stafford town centre and have a few minutes to spare pop into Stafford Library where you can view our 'taster' exhibition exploring life in Staffordshire's asylums.

The library is open 7 days a week. Full details of their opening hours can be found on the Libraries and Arts website. Read more about the project on the blog

The William Salt Library, Eastgate Street, Stafford

Temporary closure of the William Salt Library 

The Trustees of the William Salt Library have agreed to close access temporarily to the Library’s collection from 1 December 2021. This is to enable preparatory work for the move of the collection from the Library building in early 2022. Full details are available on our website

Battery operated pocket radio with box, 1982

A little piece of home

This battery-operated radio was purchased by Captain Maggie Barclay when she was serving on the Falkland Islands during the ceasefire which followed the conflict in 1982.

Find out more about this story on our YouTube channel - StaffsHistoryCentre 

The learning room

The Learning Room 

Take a look at our blog and discover the latest articles about Staffordshire's history.

Recent new articles include the story behind some of the hats in museum collection and a journey through the exciting world of paleography! New articles are being added regularly so why not take a moment to explore The Learning Room

Illustrated cotton reel with floral decoration from the museum collections


Staffordshire Archives News


Artists impression of the new Staffordshire History Centre


Manage your subscription tothis newsletter or unsubscribe here