Learning and Outreach
Formal and informal learning work with groups of all ages took place throughout the year.
This year has been a challenging year for school visits, nonetheless we have had over 100 pupils have engaged in out of school activities with the Archive Service. As reported last year this was due to arrangements in schools regarding ‘seldom cover’, as a result of which schools now have to buy in cover for part classes. We have continued to work on our out of school sessions at Staffordshire Record Office, the Civil War session proving particularly popular. One of our projects this year has included a family history session with St Andrew’s Primary School at Clifton Campville which was linked to our rural roadshow reported below.
The Archive Service has also worked with St John’s Primary School at Wetley Rocks. This culminated with a “History of Wetley Rocks Project” held on a Saturday. The children mounted the fruits of their research on eight large display boards in the main hall and used laptops to show some of their presentations. The feedback from this event was very positive.
As part of our ongoing commitment to adult learning, the Service supported the delivery of six higher education classes from Keele and Staffordshire Universities. The weekly Staffordshire Community History Group Group has continued to work on researching Staffordshire settlements. This year the group contributed a display to our Rural Roadshow on the medieval history of Clifton Campville. The group also published research on Croxden Abbey and Clifton Campville church on the Victoria County History’s ‘Explore’ website.
Two very successful, informative and enjoyable study days were organised. The first was in partnership with the Historic Environment Record on the theme of Key Sites of Anglo Saxon Staffordshire. The study day delivered in partnership with the Victoria County History was on the theme of professional occupations and their influence and titled Professional Staffordshire.
This year’s Annual Archive Day School was on the theme of culture, entitled The Other Side of the Olympics: Staffordshire’s Contribution to Culture in the Past, and was part of the Archive Service’s contribution to the Cultural Olympiad. The topics covered a broad spectrum including theatre, music, T P Wood a Staffordshire Artist, Staffordshire architects and literary figures. The event was supported by an exhibition which showcased cultural activity illustrated by examples from archive collections held within the Archive Service.
This year we trialled a new course on local history entitled A Sense of Place: Sources for Local and Community History. The eight session course was popular and well received by the attendees who were inspired to either start or continue their research into the history of their local area. We plan to repeat the course. In addition we ran a course on handwriting for wills at Lichfield Record Office.
In the Spring we held a series of talks called Lichfield’s History Through the Archives supported by County Councillor Terence Finn through the Local Community Fund. This programme of three talks covered Buildings, Medicine and Medical History and Politics and Government in Lichfield. The events were popular and well received.
The third Annual Ceramics Lecture was held at the City Central Library in Hanley in February. Pam Woolliscroft, former curator at the Spode Museum Trust, delivered an illustrated talk about the Josiah Spodes, pottery industry innovators. A display of documents from the Spode collection added a further dimension to the event.
Community Based Activities
Clifton Campville Rural History Road Show
Nearly 100 people joined the Archive Service for its annual road show which took place in July in the splendid parish church of St Andrew’s, Clifton Campville, and a further 150 visitors viewed the exhibitions which were left at the church for two weeks after the road show. The day included a wide range of displays and activities based around the history of the village and showcasing the work carried out by the Archive Service.
For children there was a Church Mouse Trail around the church, the opportunity to colour in illuminated capital letters, have a go at old handwriting and to complete a jigsaw of the famous wall painting in St Andrew’s. Paper making, using historic craft techniques was on offer for both children and adults. The exhibition, “A Glimpse of Clifton Campville from the Archives”, illustrated the wide range of documents available to interpret the history of the village. In addition there was an exhibition on Mediaeval Clifton Campville, researched and produced by the members of the voluntary Staffordshire Communities’ Research Group. Also on display were family trees, produced by pupils from St Andrew’s CE Primary School as part of a history homework project.
During the year a new project, Staffordshire Surveys, was launched. The project isa partnership between Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service, Victoria County History for Staffordshire, and Staffordshire Historic Environment Record. The project aims to develop three countywide surveys - Staffordshire Communities, Staffordshire People and Staffordshire Buildings - using historical and current information. An event held at Stoke on Trent City Archives in November launched the project and appealed to local history societies, community groups, and interested individuals to identify people who wished to get involved. The idea is for the Service to facilitate and support the participants to produce the surveys which will then appear on the Victoria County History website www.englandspastforeveryone.org.uk and the Archive Service Staffordshire Places website www.places.staffspasttrack.org.uk
There were 36 exhibition appearances, using a number of service exhibitions, at a variety of venues around the County, as detailed below.
"A Glimpse of Clifton Campville from the Archives" was researched and prepared for the rural roadshow event in July, attracting a considerable amount of interest and enthusiasm on the day and follow-up questions afterwards.
A travelling display to support the sporting records survey (part of our Cultural Olympiad programme) went to six libraries in Stoke on Trent and the Sports Festival at Fenton Manor.
To support the Annual Archive Day School an extensive display called Culture in Staffordshire’s Past was researched and mounted for the event. In addition an exhibition on the Battle of Hopton Heath was produced as part of the Archive Service stand at the Staffordshire History Fair in September.
In collaboration with Lichfield Cathedral the Archive Service assisted in the mounting of the Let in the Light exhibition, held in the Chapter House at Lichfield Cathedral to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the King James Bible. Our Senior Conservator provided extensive advice and support to the Cathedral in sourcing exhibition cases and appropriate mounts for the display of Bibles held by the Cathedral Library.
A large display of original documents from the Quarter Session Records was also prepared for a Know the Collection evening provided for the Friends of the Archive Service.
Talks and Group Visits
56 talks on a wide range of subjects, against a target of 25, were given to a variety of groups and organisations in the County and the City and beyond the county boundaries by members of the Archive Service staff.
We were also pleased to receive a group visit from a charitable organisation called Rethink who work with people with mental health problems. The group looked at a selection of records from Cheddleton Mental Hospital as part of a project to highlight attitudes to mental health.