Local History News Number 110 - Winter 2014

Availability: In Stock

Member Price: £3.00

Price: £3.00

Postage: £1.00


1. Those Were the Days My Friend Show more → Show less ↓

Alan Crosby finds a brochure from the past

I came across an ancient brochure for the summer residential courses held at Alston Hall, the adult college in beautiful countryside seven miles from Preston. The brochure is undated, but detective work made it possible to pin it down to 1957, based on the fact that 27 June was a Thursday.* One was 1963, but among the lecturers was the celebrated Maurice de Sausmarez, head of the Department of Fine Arts at Leeds University, a position which he left in 1959, so 1957 it had to be.

The brochure anticipates a summer of intellectual and practical delights. A June weekend could be spent enjoying 'Canoeing, Canoe Building, Camping, Map & Compass Work', for which the college, close to the rushing waters of the Ribble and the lanes, woods and moorland slopes of its valley, was a perfect location. As the golden sunshine of late September streamed through the great windows students could discover the music of Schubert, in a course which, using recordings, promised to 'give to the music lover a means of appraising the performance of the interpreter and the genius of the composer'. In the early days of August there was a reading week, with one lecture a day to direct the focus of the reading, while 'play-readings, part-singing of rounds and madrigals and discussions will fill the evenings'.

History was not forgotten. Joe Bagley, for many years the doyen of adult education history teaching in Lancashire, ran a week-long course in mid-August, 'a repeat of last year's successful experiment in reading and writing local history'. Entitled 'Social life in Stuart Lancashire', it used copies of documents provided for individual study and interpretation and at the end of the week the students were to pool their findings and thereby 'themselves add to the picture of this age in Lancashire'. The Lancashire Record Office was then 17 years old and the county archivist, Reginald Sharpe France, was an enthusiastic advocate of what would now be termed 'outreach'.

Even more ambitious was the week-long course entitled 'The Making of the English Landscape: The Ribble Valley and North West Lancashire', which opened the programme in the second week of June. A team of no fewer than six lecturers offered a comprehensive study, the aim of which was 'to sharpen one's appreciation of the countryside'. It ranged far and wide, both geographically and thematically, covering topics as diverse as the climate and the geology, the reclamation of wastes and wetlands, the development of turnpikes and railways, and vernacular architecture. Two days were spent on field visits, one exploring the Ribble Valley, Forest of Bowland and Rossendale, the other heading over towards the Yorkshire border, and together covering 'lowland, valleys and uplands and some industrialisation'.

Eighteen months earlier, Roy Millward had published, under the inspirational guidance of his friend W.G. Hoskins, his pioneering short study, The Making of the Lancashire Landscape, and its influence and that of Hoskins is clear ... though the former paid plenty of attention to industrial and urban landscapes while the latter, famously, largely disregarded them. A Hoskinian approach is perhaps identifiable in the Alston Hall syllabus.

Students paid for full board, with 'sleeping accommodation in cubicled dormitories offering comfort and privacy', and were 'transported to the Hall [from Preston station] by coach or are met with the College brake at the bus stop, the White Bull, Alston, a mile from the College'. And the cost? A weekend of canoeing would set you back £1 16s, as would learning more about Schubert. Reading at leisure, which was a full week, was a more hefty £5 8s, but Stuart Lancashire (even including the cost of copies of documents) was £4 10s. And a week of landscape history with six tutors? Six guineas, including excursions. Those indeed were the days!

* see http://www.calendarhome.com/calculate/day-of-week

2. Local Narratives Show more → Show less ↓

Richard Grayson writes the next in our series on local history and World War One.


Richard Grayson writes the next in our series on local history and World War one

Although privileged to be able to spend some of my working days paid to write about the history of the First World War, my interest in the subject began as a hobby, associated with my own family history and the areas connected with my family. So while my aim is always to bring academic rigour to the subject, I was once one of the so-called 'amateurs' who carry out the bulk of such local and family history. As a result, I have always been deeply conscious of the quality of such work and I know how much value there is to be had from academic and public engagement over research. Consequently, I have tried to make my own work as useful as possible to local and family historians.

The core piece of relevant research is Belfast Boys: How Unionists and Nationalists Fought and Died Together in the First World War(London: Continuum, 2009; revised paperback 2010). That included an Appendix which described the research methods. A lengthy article, 'Military history from the street: new methods for researching First World War service in the British military', explaining how the methods could be applied to other areas, will be published in the journal War in Historyi in 2014 or 2015. What are the core issues?

In writing Belfast Boys, which is a study of the Falls and Shankill areas of West Belfast, I was conscious that local studies were limited through focusing either on war memorials (and therefore the dead) or on at most a selection of specific units but usually just one or two (sometimes a Pals' battalion) known to be linked to the area. Many such publications are truly excellent, ii but nobody had ever put forward a method which could be applied consistently across many different areas. Belfast Boys sought to do that for one particular reason. At an early stage of the research it became clear that while there was huge public knowledge of volunteer 36th and 16th divisions, people knew about little else, even though the bulk of West Belfast's service was in other units. Such units could include those from Great Britain, or naval or air service. In particular, West Belfast men served as regulars and reservists in the 1st and 2nd battalions of many Irish regiments, yet their service was almost totally forgotten because it did not fit with the sectarian narrative of service in either the 36th (mainly Protestant when it was formed) or 16 th (mainly Catholic) divisions which so dominates popular memory.

Of course, the situation is quite different in England, Scotland and Wales, but there too stories of obviously locally-connected units dominate. For some well-known areas with Pals' battalions and high fatality rates, such narratives will always be central to any understanding of the area's service, and in a few cases they will cover the bulk of service. But for much of Great Britain that is not the case. My own home town of Hemel Hempstead serves as an example, and has been researched through the 'Hemel at War' project.iii A large number of men served with the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire regiments, but if we take just those listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as having a Hemel Hempstead connection, the vast majority did not.iv

Had the Arnside Street repository not been bombed in 1940, there would be one answer to the question of how to tell the story: work through all the service records now digitised onwww.ancestry.co.uk using the keyword search facility for place which does make local research possible in a way that it was not when the records were only micro-filmed. However, the Blitz put paid to that and as my War in History article explains, only around 36% of records survived. We are therefore only able to use the online service/pensions records as a starting point, if a very valuable one.

The approach I used for Belfast Boys was therefore to grab data from every available source to tell a 'military history from the street' story. In particular, I found local newspapers valuable because for Belfast they included much personal information on ordinary soldiers, and for those wounded rather than killed. Using such data I constructed a database of around 8,500 who served, which, due to missing records, I believe suggests that over 12,000 from West Belfast served. The key sources were:

Local newspapers (in this case: Belfast Evening Telegraph, News Letter, and Irish News).

Pensions and service records (WO 363 and 364 online withwww.ancestry.co.uk).

Soldiers Died in the Great War and Officers Died in the Great War.v

Irish wills index on CD from Eneclann.vi

Memorial rolls - Irish Presbyterianvii and St Michael's Church of Ireland Parish, Belfast.

One battalion nominal roll (14th Royal Irish Rifles).viii

Commonwealth War Graves Commission data.

Officer records at the National Archives.ix

Ireland's Memorial Recordsx

Medal Rolls (which do occasionally contain an address)xi

Some of these sources are Ireland-specific, while some are of course Belfast-specific, and there are sources which should be added for Great Britain, in addition to countless local listings on war memorials.xii I am also conscious that until naval and air records are in a more user-friendly format (so that they can be searched by place), it will be hard to give such service its rightful place in the war's narrative except for those stories which can be found, for example, in newspapers or through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. However, the key point which should emerge is that any local study must draw on as many different sources as possible because in Belfast Boys I found that more than 80% of individuals could only be identified in one source.

So for the countless projects which will emerge locally during the Centenary of the First World War, I have two main suggestions. The first is the need to tell a story of service which goes beyond the units which are known to be locally-connected. The second is that any possible source must be used to build up an accurate local picture of war service. That is how I am now able to tell a story of West Belfast which goes beyond the sectarian and recognises the very wide range of service which has been forgotten.


Professor Richard S. Grayson is Head of History and Professor of Twentieth Century History at Goldsmiths, University of London. e: r.grayson@gold.ac.uk


i http://wih.sagepub.com/ [accessed 5 November 2013].

ii See, for example: Joy Bratherton, Where are the Lads of the Village Tonight? A Study of the Men of Minshull Vernon who gave their lives for us during the First World War (Crewe: South Cheshire Family History Society, 1995); Nick Thorncroft,Cornwall's Fallen: The Road to the Somme (Stroud: The History Press, 2008), and Kenneth Wood, Biggleswade and the Great War: Our Own Flesh and Blood (Stroud: The History Press, 2009). Strong Home Front studies are Paul Rusiecki, The Impact of Catastrophe: The People of Essex and the First World War(Chelmsford: Essex Record Office, 2008) and Colin Cousins,Armagh and the Great War (Dublin: The History Press Ireland, 2011).

iii Lynda Abbott and Richard S. Grayson, 'Community engagement in local history: a report on the Hemel at War project', Teaching History, 145 (Dec 2011), pp. 4-12. See also a project guide, free to download at: www.hemelatwar.org[accessed 5 November 2013] and 'Five Steps for Schools' athttp://www.community-relations.org.uk/marking-anniversaries/case-studies/ [accessed 5 November 2013].

iv 254 men were located using CWGC data, as having a next-of-kin in the area, and only 68 (26.7%) of those served in the Hertfordshire or Bedfordshire regiments.

v Published in paper form in 1921 but now available online at:http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=1543[accessed 5 November 2013] and on CD-Rom from the Naval and Military Press.

vi www.eneclann.ie/acatalog/ENEC016_-_World_War_1_Irish_Soldiers.html [accessed 5 November 2013].

vii Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland, The Presbyterian Church in Ireland: Roll of Honour, 1914-1919 (Belfast: W. and G. Baird, 1922).

viii Held at the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum.

ix WO 339 and 374 at the National Archives.

x www.eneclann.ie/acatalog/ENEC011.html andhttp://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=1633 [both accessed 5 November 2013].

xihttp://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/medals.aspand http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=1262[both accessed 5 November 2013].

xii For example, National Roll of the Great War (London: National Publishing Company, 1920) and Marquis de Ruvigny, The Roll of Honour (London: Standard Art Book Company, 1917-22).

3. World War One Project by FACHRS Show more → Show less ↓


FACHRS is a national research society which promotes and co-ordinates locally based research projects by some of its 215 members across the country. Over the last few months we have been piloting our Great War centennial research project and are now analysing the results before the main project begins in January 2014.

The aim of the project is to explore the generally agreed perception that many local communities involved themselves in supporting the war effort in what we now refer to as the Home Front. The peak for enthusiasm is believed to have been during the period from August 1914 through 1915.

This investigation, to be undertaken as a series of micro-studies by research volunteers, seeks to ascertain the wide spread of activities embarked upon by local communities and to confirm, or challenge, the current popular belief that support for the war effort was nationwide. Main sources will include local newspapers, council minutes, memoirs and diaries, parish and company magazines, and photos. With the centenary of the start of the Great War imminent, and many projects to commemorate this significant event already underway, other sources may become available locally.

We hope to have as many project members as possible across the country to enable us to assess support for or against the war effort in different areas. We also hope to discover new sources of information. Although we already have a number of members who have selected their local communities and started to look at relevant sources we would welcome others to join the project to give us a broader view. This is an ideal project for a local history group as there are many aspects to research.

For more information, please contact Dr Sue Smith, Project Co-ordinator, by email, pilcothouse@gmail.com, or by telephone, 01252 617884.

4. County Garden Trusts Show more → Show less ↓

introduced by Linden Groves


Linden Groves introduces us to CGTs - there's one near you

We all like a dahlia or two, but for many thousands of people across England and Wales, a love of gardens extends far further.

Since the 1980s, eager people with a passion not simply for pretty plants but rather for design, history and conservation have been forming themselves into County Gardens Trusts (CGTs). These unique groups, and there is one for almost every county in England as well as a thriving Welsh band, have been going from strength to strength, and the breadth of their achievements as well as the pleasure they've had along the way is quite remarkable.

One of the earliest was Hampshire, set up by the indomitable Gilly Drummond, who now is now the much-loved President of the Association of Gardens Trusts, the umbrella body born out of a desire to link the otherwise independent CGTs together. Hampshire have a dazzling array of successes to their name, from supporting 14 new gardens within local communities including a sensory garden within a respite centre to producing a Register of 850 parks, gardens and historic designed landscapes across the county.

This kind of research and recording activity is the real thrust of CGTs' work. Over the decades, CGTs have researched thousands of historic parks and gardens, from the nationally-known, to the hidden gems of their localities. This research involves time spent looking for dusty documents in archives and attics, some untouched for generations, or tramping through beautiful and often romantically neglected gardens in order to seek out crumbling grottos and hahas. Most importantly, it involves working with friendly likeminded people, all of whom have a penchant for a good cake and cuppa at the end of a day's work! And what happens to this research? Some CGTs produce beautiful books, others impressive gazetteers, and increasingly they are feeding their work into the Historic Environment Records held by local authorities as a crucial tool for understanding and protecting our heritage assets within the planning system.

Increasingly, many CGTs are working with statutory consultee The Garden History Society to ensure that historic parks and gardens are conserved for the future by being protected in the planning system, and in many cases their own research work is crucial to backing up the arguments in favour of conservation. Norfolk Gardens Trust is fighting hard to see off a barrage of wind farm applications that would devastate important historic gardens on its scenic coast, whilst Cheshire Gardens Trust has been arguing against an intrusive new play area in the parkland of a well-known visitor attraction.

Currently, CGTs are gearing up to research First World War memorial gardens in their counties, as a commemoration of the Great War, and the results of these surveys will be made available via an impressive online database atwww.parksandgardens.org.

Other CGTs, such as Dorset, do vital work with schools, helping to create and run new gardens within the playground, especially in those schools where enthusiasm may be outstripped by a shortage of skills or resources.

The next few years are particularly busy ones, and particularly exciting is CGTs' role in celebrating the legacy of the great 18th century designer Capability Brown, whose 300th birthday falls in 2016 (details atwww.capabilitybrown.org ). For this, CGTs are spearheading national efforts to research and record Brownian landscapes in their counties, to open lesser-known Brown parkland across the country, and to attract widespread attention to this great national figure and our nation's rich heritage of historic parks and gardens, to which he contributed so much.

CGTs are a lively bunch, filled with intelligent, energetic and friendly people. But they all work on the principle of the more the merrier! Do please make contact with your local County Gardens Trust, be it Cornwall or Cumbria, and see what they're up to … they'd love you to get involved!

More about the County Gardens Trusts, and a list of their individual contact details, can be found at the website of the Association of Gardens Trusts - www.gardenstrusts.org.uk

Linden Groves works on the Historic Landscape Project, a shared initiative between the Association of Gardens Trusts and The Garden History Society to support County Gardens Trusts in their work conserving historic parks and gardens. She can be contacted at lindengroves@agt.org.uk

5. England's Immigrants Project Show more → Show less ↓

Help Needed

Help needed

'A Stranger in your Midst?

The England's Immigrants Project, with which BALH is a co-partner, has demonstrated that in the later middle ages immigrants settled all over England in remote areas as well as towns and cities. To see how many immigrants were residing in your area go to www.englandsimmigrants.com

The organisers of the project would very much appreciate input from local historians, and in the first instance would be grateful to receive information on

1. The names of places they have so far been unable to identify [high-lighted in capitals in the text]

2. Additions to the biographies of immigrants already on the database

Details of how to forward information is given on the website.

Claire Cross

6. Nostell Priory and World War I Show more → Show less ↓

A National Trust project

A National Trust project described by Sarah Burnage

Nostell Priory, near Wakefield, has been working with community groups, schools, visitors and volunteers to discover the small stories of the Great War. Through events, workshops and collaborative activities we have established a network of project partners and a strong sense of community ownership. Indeed, we have been staggered by the enthusiasm and interest shown for this Heritage Lottery Funded local history project. And overwhelmed by the poignant and powerful stories shared.

Stories like that of local miner John Turton, an Acting Bombardier with the R.F.A who, before the war, worked at Nostell Colliery. Surviving letters, kept by his family, reveal that he acted with great heroism saving several comrades from a gas attack by 'putting his body in the doorway' of their dug out - a deed which the army chaplain reported back to his family as worthy of the V.C.. Or that of Eva White, one of many young women from the Nostell area who was collected early each morning by a charabanc to take her to Barnbow munitions factory, East Leeds.

Alongside our work with visitors and local people we have undertaken new and extensive research on the Winns of Nostell Priory. Using newly accessible archives we have uncovered a family rocked during WW1 by scandal, heartbreak and debt. This includes the story of Rowland George Winn (the future 3 rd Baron St Oswald) who, whilst on leave from the army, secretly married a chorus girl: his mortified family only learnt of the match months later whenThe Daily Mirror sensationally exposed the couple in a centre-page spread. And the story of his brother Charles who, after losing an eye in battle, worked as an aide-de-camp for a senior British intelligence officer who was ordered to secretly assess General Foch's suitability to lead. In contrast, on the domestic front, the archives reveal Lady St Oswald's extravagant wartime life style, including shopping, socialising and the theatre. Between 1914 and 1918 she racked up considerable debts, her spending apparently a 'disease' which was 'in the blood'.

Their stories, along with those shared by visitors, will form the centrepiece to our community-focused commemorative events. By using letters, photographs, stories and memories we aim to develop a programme of events that personalises the nature of the conflict, and resonates with the local community.

Read some of our WW1 stories and learn more about the project by visiting our website and follow the links to 'Red Poppies and White Butterflies':www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nostell-priory

Dr Sarah Burnage is Project Officer, Nostell Priory, National Trust.

7. BALH Awards 2013 Show more → Show less ↓

Profile of Peter Keene


Profile of BALH Award winner Peter Keene

Peter Keene was nominated for a BALH Personal Achievement award by Longworth & District History Society, in Oxfordshire. Professionally he was a geomorphologist, teaching first geography in London, and then geomorphology at what would become Oxford Brookes University. As he was particularly interested in the landscape, and how and why it changes over time, fieldwork was a core element of his teaching, an approach shared by his wife Janet, an ecologist. He admits to being able to trace various strands of interest in history back through his life. For example, looking at buildings began with an art course at school on the history of architecture. His specialist option in his geography degree was political geography, with a focus on the European settlement at the end of the First World War; work that informed his subsequent view on international history.

Peter and Janet Keene pooled their interests in landscape interpretation and, in 1985, founded an educational publishing charity called Thematic Trails. The enterprise blossomed and has produced interpretive booklets covering a wide variety of disciplines - history, townscapes, architecture, archaeology, ecology, geology and landscapes, relating to areas across the south and west of England. The publications succeed at the difficult task of being both relevant to the interested non-specialist and to those who require a basis for more extensive or formal academic interpretation.

Publishing experience is valuable, and Peter's was exploited by the local society when, shortly before his retirement, he was invited to join the committee. He was soon appointed Publications Officer and in that role has had responsibility for developing the output from the society, which took various forms. Longworth Rambler informs members about the programme and society details. The journal Longworth Rosewas started in 1998 and has been published three times a year since; it attracts contributions 'from university lecturers to local farmers, school teachers, rose growers, school children and others, from here and abroad'. One of Peter Keene's initiatives has been a series of History Occasional Papers, new books written by members of the society, some commissioned by the society, plus facsimile reprints of older local publications that were no longer available. The total list is impressive.

All this has had the effect of greatly expanding the information available about the history of the locality, and ensuring it is shared increasingly further afield. Peter Keene's skills and enthusiasm have supported and encouraged people to participate in the society, and he has inspired many to write for its publications. He admits to taking great pleasure in his involvement with Longworth & District History Society, and they certainly appreciate their 'creative and dynamic' Publications Officer.

With thanks to Peter Keene, Kathy Fletcher, Nigel Shaw and Roger Mentz.

8. Motoring and the Local Historian Show more → Show less ↓

Come to hear more on Local History Day

John Minnis introduces his LHD lecture - come to hear more in June

Carscapes: the Motor Car, Architecture and Landscape in England (Yale University Press) by Kathryn Morrison and myself, was published in 2012. It marked the culmination of an English Heritage project in which we looked at the impact of the car since its arrival in England in 1895 on the built and natural environments and at the various building types that had evolved with the car: filling stations, garages, car parks, etc.

During the course of the project, it became clear that this was a subject that had failed to capture the imagination of many local historians. There is only one account of motoring as it affected a county, one on its impact on a town, and three useful pictorial volumes in the Tempus series covering Surrey, Sussex and Kent. This is in stark contrast to the field of public transport where there are a growing number of studies of local bus operators and a great many railway branch line histories. Yet there is a great deal of scope for local enquiry that could add much to our understanding of the national picture. Much could be gathered through the memories of relatives of people who had run village garages, and through the examination of source material such as photographs in their possession. Motor cars have played a role in our lives for over 100 years and the period of their widespread introduction into rural life in the 1920s is rapidly passing beyond living memory.

To give just some instances where local research could help, we could gain a much clearer idea of what sort of people started rural garages. Popular wisdom has it that many of them were blacksmiths or bicycle dealers - to what extent was this in fact the case? What sort of people bought cars - again the popular view has long been that motoring was the preserve of the rich until after World War One. Recent research using published local authority records of car licensing suggests that a rather wider group of people such as shopkeepers, engineers and doctors were motoring by 1910. Additional local research would help to confirm the extent to which this pattern was repeated on a national basis. Again, many of them had ancillary businesses, hiring out cars with or without drivers, running taxis, undertaking haulage, or operating local bus and coach services. Did most need to do this to bring in enough income on which to live comfortably or could many survive just by selling petrol and repairing, maintaining and selling cars?

My lecture on Local History Day will focus on the impact of the car during the 1920s and 30s, perhaps the most interesting period of all, as the era of mass motoring was inaugurated by the introduction of cheap and reliable cars such as the Austin 7 and the Morris Oxford. It is the time of the 'roadside eyesore', the roadhouse and of ribbon development. In the lecture, I will consider the tensions between modernity and tradition implicit in much of the promotion of motoring and the extent to which the car changed the face of England during this time, as evidenced in aerial photography. Hopefully, it will inspire some local historians to take over where we left off in looking at the impact of the car in their locality.

John F. Bridges, Early Country Motoring: Cars and Motorcycles in Suffolk 1896-1940, Little Waldingfield, 1995.

Richard Wildman & Alan Crawley, Bedford's Motoring Heritage, Stroud, 2003.

Bryan Goodman, Motoring around Surrey, Stroud 2001, Tim Harding, Motoring around Sussex: The First Fifty Years, Stroud, 2004, Tim Harding & Bryan Goodman, Motoring around Kent: The First Fifty Years, Stroud, 2009.

9. All in an Archivist's Day Show more → Show less ↓

Pleasant surprises found by Steven Hobbs

Notwithstanding the confines of the world of archives and local history I have always found my work varied, rewarding and fascinating. Its serendipitous nature means that one can be dealing with enquiries about a medieval court roll and a modern planning application in quick succession: the archivist as time traveller is a concept that I am all too aware of.

The variety and content of archives never fail to surprise and intrigue me. While looking through the records of the Marlborough market court of Pie Powder (from the FrenchPied Poudre, literally meaning Dusty Feet) of 1543-1544, I came across a record of the marks that bakers made on their loaves to identify them, presumably in order that the source of any deficiencies in weight and quality could be easily traced. In capturing such an incidental, and transitory detail, the document increases our understanding of the application of trading standards in the mid 16th century. Archives rarely provide the complete story but often sufficient for historians to extrapolate from such scintilla. In this way the past can be seen as a dark place lit by many small pinpoints of light.

The variety is not confined to the search room dealing with enquiries from members of the public, but extends to all aspects of our work including the acquisition of archives. While we follow up leads to encourage the arrival at the History Centre of new collections of records, the groundwork of determined and patient contacts over the last 65 years means that much new material comes from existing depositors aware of the value of our service. However, we are continually surprised at what appears out of the blue and unsolicited. While we might reasonably imagine that the whereabouts of most pre 1800 material is known, with the very large exception of property deeds, nevertheless, we continue to be pleasantly surprised.

A good example of this occurred last week when a local resident brought in some documents at the request of the family of an elderly neighbour. The small collection of about 50 items could be easily separated into two piles; one of Wiltshire documents and the other of out of county material, which having no clear Wiltshire connection will be transferred to the appropriate place. The former almost undoubtedly originated from the office of a firm of Devizes solicitors which had deposited its archives with us in 1961; confirmed by two items relating directly with material in the original deposit.

However the real gem of the collection was in the out-county section, and consists of a series of court rolls of the manor of Shirley, in Millbrook, Southampton, for the years, 1377-1479. It is quite exceptional for such a series to have been unknown to archivists and historians, and not to have been picked up by the radar of either group at all. The earliest court sat seven days after the death of Edward III, and the clerk, unsure of the correct form of expressing the regnal year of the new monarch, wrote ' in the first year of Richard, son of Edward, Prince of Wales', instead of the subsequent convention describing the monarch as Richard II. At the first court of John Whithede, son of Robert Whithede, in 1464, he tenants all paid homage and the roll is in effect a survey of the manor. Feelings of frustration that it was not a Wiltshire manor were swept away by the satisfaction of directing the rolls to the most appropriate repository and the warmth of the response of the Southampton archivist on learning of the find.

This is a revised version of an article which appeared in Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre newsletter Intelligencer Nov 2013

10. Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project Show more → Show less ↓

Community action in Northumberland

The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers project is a two year long conservation and heritage project centred on the remains of what may have been in the mid 17th century the largest lead smelting mill in Europe, and is now just a picturesque and enigmatic ruin in quiet woodlands in Northumberland. Led by the Friends of the North Pennines charity in conjunction with the parish councils of Hexhamshire and Slaley, and chiefly funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, this project has already galvanised a great deal of community support and involvement along the line of the lead routes which once connected the mines of the high Pennine dales, through the smelt mills en-route to the markets of Tyneside.

Two archaeological digs have already taken place, which revealed potentially unique early lead fume condensing chambers in front of a pair of chimneys. Once research is complete these might show Dukesfield to have been even more important to the development of the national lead industry than hitherto appreciated. The local Young Farmers Club came along to help dig the adjacent millrace. These digs were greatly enjoyed by volunteers, for some of whom this was their first such activity, and also by the professional archaeologist, Richard Carlton of Newcastle-based 'The Archaeological Practice'. To complement this fieldwork a documentary transcription project has recently been launched by team member Greg Finch, bringing together, amongst others, members of the Hexham, Ryton, Stocksfield and Winlaton Local History Societies and individuals who have not previously been involved in this kind of research . More than 30 people are now reading and transcribing archive material to contribute to an online research resource of letters and business accounts from the 17th to the 19thcenturies. This will be of immense value to the project and to future researchers.

The project therefore investigates the region's lead industry heritage from a number of perspectives. It provides, in the words of Ian Forbes, chair of the Friends of the North Pennines, "an excellent model of a community heritage project by combining volunteer archaeology, building conservation and documentary research. I'm not aware of many other such projects that have been tackled quite so much 'in the round' as this one."

For further information on progress and how to get involved go to www.dukesfield.wordpress.com or to DukesfieldSmeltersAndCarriers on facebook.

11. Society for One-Place Studies Show more → Show less ↓


Introduced by Kirsty Gray

Genealogical organisations, family history societies and local historical associations have been on the landscape for decades. In September this year, a new society was launched - the Society for One-Place Studies. A 'not-for-profit' organisation for individuals and societies with an interest in family history and local history, the group was founded by six trustees situated in New Zealand, USA and England and has already attracted nearly seventy members with studies in eight countries of the world.

The aims of the Society are to encourage and assist those involved in one-place studies and to advance the education of the general public in these types of research methods. The newly designed website shares good practice, ideas and methodology, promoting the research principles and problem solving techniques required in historical and genealogical research on a particular locality.

What is a one-place study?

A one-place study (OPS) considers people and families in their physical and social context in any location across the globe. Studying the geography, history, economy, travel and migration patterns and events which occurred, as well as learning about the individuals who lived in a particular place through the centuries, helps to gain a greater understanding of the community. An OPS researches the residents of a particular place by gathering a full range of historical records, memorabilia and stories that mention those individuals, and analyse them to gain insights into the social and economic workings of that place.

Which places have been registered with the Society?

On the Society's website - www.one-place-studies.org - there is a map of the world with pins marking the location of registered studies. The search can be narrowed to continent, country and then county/state level with a historical and geographical introduction to each region. Study registrants are encouraged to provide a brief profile about their place and its population, as well as contact details and any online resources and/or websites for the one-place study.

Membership of the Society

The cost of membership to the Society is just £10 per annum with the option of registering your place of interest for a further (one-off) £10 fee per study. This can be a road, hamlet, village, town ....whatever! The Society provides an online study profile, In-Depth report and dedicated email address for registered studies, along with a plethora of resources including a fascinating quarterly newsletter in the Members' area of the website. There have already been many new developments since the launch and the Society's Trustees are dedicated to continually expanding the service they offer to their members.

So, what are you waiting for? Take a look at the website (www.one-place-studies.org) and if you are interested, join and become a member of this exciting new community!

12. Remembering Basque Refugees Children Show more → Show less ↓


David Griffiths on remembering the arrival of Basque children

Children offered refuge from the Spanish Civil War were remembered on Friday 29 November, when a commemorative plaque was unveiled at the Huddersfield building that became their home.

After the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica in April 1937 - subject of the renowned painting by Pablo Picasso - the British Government reluctantly allowed the evacuation of almost 4000 Basque children to the UK, together with accompanying teachers, priests and other helpers. First housed in a campsite near Southampton, they were soon distributed to about 100 'colonies' throughout England and Wales, established by local voluntary efforts.

One such colony was at the Old Clergy House, Almondbury, Huddersfield, where a commemorative plaque was unveiled on 29 November 2013. The plaque was sponsored jointly by Huddersfield Local History Society (HLHS) and the Basque Children of '37 Association (BCA'37), one of whose trustees, Carmen Kilner had given a talk to the Society last year on the home's 75th anniversary, stirring local memories of this long-forgotten episode.

The plaque was unveiled by the son and grandson of the late Amador Diaz, one of 20 boys housed at Almondbury from 1937-39; his brother Giordano, now aged 90 and also housed there, had hoped to attend but was unable to travel from south London. However Maria Luisa Toole, who had been housed at the Cambridge colony, and others with family ties to the evacuees were among over 50 guests.

Speakers at the ceremony, as well as Carmen Kilner, included Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, HLHS chairman Cyril Pearce, and the Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr Martyn Bolt, who recalled the leading part played by his predecessor Joseph Barlow, Mayor of Huddersfield, in finding a suitable home for the children. The latter had worked closely with the local branch of the National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief, which drew together a broadly-based 'popular front' of political parties, trade unions, churches, women's groups and others to welcome and support the evacuees.

With the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, the colony was dispersed, with most of the children returning to Spain while others, including some whose parents had been killed or imprisoned, settled in this country.

The dispersal of the Basque children gave their story an intensely local dimension, which may repay investigation by other societies. Eight colonies now have commemorative plaques, and a full list of all the known colonies (and much more besides) can be found at www.basquechildren.org

13. World War I Records at Wirral Archives Service Show more → Show less ↓

A typical local collection described by William Meredith

There are many records of the First World War to be found in local archives, whether county or city archives or smaller borough archives, such as Wirral Archives Service.

In common with most local authority archives Wirral Archives holds many personal records of soldiers who fought in the War, such as letters and postcards sent home from the trenches, diaries, military documents, photographs and even medals. In particular we hold the Roll of Honour, giving information on the men who fell in the War in order for their names to be included on the Birkenhead War Memorial. This is particularly useful as it gives the Regimental Number, which is crucial when looking for the Service Records of the men who fought in the War, which are held (where they survive, because many were destroyed in the Blitz during the Second World War) at the National Archives:


Information on the soldiers who were killed during the War can also be found on the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

http://www.cwgc.org/ .

The War may be mentioned in school records, for example in the Head Teachers' Log Books which survive well for many schools, and also in school magazines. Records of old boys of the school who fought in the War may also be preserved, and there may be photographs of them. There may also be records concerning the establishment of war memorials in the school.

The war poet Wilfred Owen lived in Birkenhead from 1897 to 1907, between the ages of 4 to 14. He went to school at the Birkenhead Institute, and his name appears in the Pupil Registers of Birkenhead Institute between 1900 and 1907 (ref B/320/6/2-3)

The War may also feature in business records. Wirral Archives Service holds the records of Cammell Laird shipbuilders, including plans, contracts and photographs of warships and merchant ships built in this Birkenhead shipyard which served in the War (although warship plans were returned to the Admiralty and are at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich).

A very different sort of business was the popular music hall of the period, and Wirral Archives holds many playbills for the Argyle Theatre of Varieties in Birkenhead (ref ZAR); among the acts advertised was the 'Bioscope', an early kind of travelling cinema showing the 'latest war pictures'.

Newspapers are a very valuable and accessible source for various articles from the War, and especially for obituaries of soldiers, which very often include a photograph. TheBirkenhead News also produced a 'Victory Souvenir of the Great War, 1914-1919', which is full of local information concerning the War.

Other records from the period are useful for background information, for example those of local government and of county and magistrates courts. Also maps, especially Ordnance Survey maps, show what Britain looked like during the period - for example see the digitized maps of Cheshire (including the Wirral) for 1910 on the website of Cheshire Archives and Local Studieshttp://maps.cheshire.gov.uk/tithemaps/

Finally, you may wish to consider depositing any original records you have concerning the First World War with your local archives service. The ownership will remain with you, while the documents and photographs will be preserved for the future in acid-free boxes in a temperature- and humidity-controlled strong room, and made available to researchers.

For more information about Wirral Archives Service please feel free to e-mail me on williammeredith@wirral.gov.uk. The address of Wirral Archives Service is Lower Ground Floor, Cheshire Lines Building, Canning Street, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41 1ND (tel. 0151 606 2922).

14. Open Forum on New TNA Catalogue 'Discovery' Show more → Show less ↓


Dr Nick Barratt on TNA's new Discovery catalogue

The primary purpose of the new catalogue is to provide a seamless search engine for the 10m items held at TNA which would be a more robust and integrated system, geared towards the way people would interact with the collections in the future. At the moment the interface offers a single box for a free text search, and the search results can be structured and sorted by document reference, or ascending/descending date, to improve the experience for users.

An 'Advanced Search' button is under the free box text, and users are encouraged to click on it to bring up a series of structured search boxes.

Some of the current issues being raised by users should be improved when the platform changes, from December onwards.

A second major development will be the integration of other databases into the TNA system, including A2A which covers a wide sweep of catalogues outside TNA, National Monuments Record, Manorial Documents Register. When that is complete it will be possible to search either just TNA or across all the options. Negotiations with relevant repositories are ongoing.

The Discovery Enhancement Board is looking 5 -10 -15 years ahead, not just at the search functions but also at how data is stored and interlinked. There are also implications from the change from 30 years to 20 years release.

A third element is the objective of encouraging users to search more widely and more deeply; and to encourage them to understand more about the nature of the archives and their administrative background. This will build on the Research Guides under the former system, and could include flow-charts to display the way records are inter-related, and case studies to illustrate their use. This educational objective has a high priority.

Current 'Discovery' is only the first step, and the staff have only just begun to explore how it can be developed.

(From notes by JEH)

15. Representing BALH Show more → Show less ↓

Kate Thompson attended two events on our behalf

I was recently fortunate to represent BALH at two events. The first was the English Heritage 'Angel awards', given in recognition of the work by individuals in saving an historical property. It was held in the Palace Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue (not the one recently in the news!), courtesy of Andrew Lloyd-Webber, and hosted by Paul Martin, the presenter of Flog It. It was the first - and doubtless the only - occasion on which I walked on a red carpet, and I wasn't the only one who wondered if I should.

The awards are divided into four categories: an historic industrial building or site; a heritage site; rescue or repair of an historic place of worship; the best craftsmanship employed on a heritage rescue. All but one had four entrants, the other having five. Each property was introduced by a short film and there were some truly inspiring stories of winning against adversity. I was especially pleased when a church from my native Leicestershire won in its category.

The second event was a 'Flanders Remembers Concert' at the invitation of a representative of the Flemish government in the UK; did anyone know such an organisation existed? It was held in the chapel of the Royal Hospital Chelsea on 7 November, and was given by a string trio (violin, viola and cello). It was wonderful to see inside the chapel, which I hadn't done before, and the concert was followed by a very lavish buffet provided by Belgian catering students.

I was delighted to fly the flag for BALH and it is good that we are invited to such prestigious events.

Kate Thompson is a BALH Vice President

16. BALH Guided Visits Show more → Show less ↓


An afternoon visit has been arranged to the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service which is now housed in the newly opened modern building in the centre of Worcester called the 'HIVE' - postcode WR1 3PB.

The conducted tour will last about two hours and covers the work and contents of the Service, the Historic Environment Record, and including the 'behind the scenes' look at the workshops, conservation rooms, and storage systems away from the public. There will be a sighting of original documents and objects discovered by the archaeology team. The highlight will be the viewing of the William Shakespeare marriage bond of 1582 when he required a licence from the Bishop to permit only one reading of the Banns so to marry Anne Hathaway who was pregnant.

There are car parks in the vicinity including the Crowngate shopping centre and a 'pay and display' car park, but members may wish to use the Park and Ride system which drops off at the nearby bus station.


There is a well-known photograph of Admiral Ramsay and General Eisenhower outside Southwick House. Southwick Estate and Southwick House, built in late Georgian style in 1800, are just north of Portsmouth on the road to Wickham (PO7 5SB). Its proximity to the naval dockyards in Portsmouth has had a great influence on the House's modern history. In 1940 after heavy bombing on the dockyard, the Royal Navy used the house to accommodate the pupils of the RN School of Navigation, HNS Dryad. With continuing excessive bombing, the house was requisitioned from the Thistlethwayte family and became the permanent home for HMS Dryad. The planning for DDay was underway by 1943 and the house was chosen for the Advance Command Post of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. From 1944 it became the headquarters of the Allied Commanders; Admiral Ramsay (C in C for Operation Neptune, the naval assault phase of Overlord) General Eisenhower and General Montgomery. One whole wall of the old library was taken over by the map of the assault and it is still in place with pins and markers to show how it looked as the landing began. One of the most momentous decisions of the war was taken in this room. The invasion was set for June 5th but poor the weather forced a postponement until later in the day when the chief meteorologist announced there would be a 'window of opportunity' the next day. Eisenhower agreed, 'OK, let's go'.

Next year will the 70th anniversary of Overlord and we will be given a guided tour of the map room, a visit to the Royal Military Police Museum, a chance for lunch at the Golden Lion in the village (used by the commanders for their relaxation) and to view the Overlord Embroidery in the Southsea museum. A busy day but hopefully one members will enjoy and the city of Portsmouth has much to offer, the new Mary Rose museum for example. As the house is still on MOD land we will be required to bring some ID, driving licence for example, there is plenty of parking but no public transport available.

Jan Shephard


William Ewart Gladstone's Library (formerly St Deiniol's Library) at Hawarden, not far from Chester, is the most important research library and collection in Wales after the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and the only residential library in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1889 by Gladstone, whose heirs inherited the Glynne family's Hawarden Castle estate, the library was intended for the pursuit of divine learning; and theology and Victorian studies remain its core subjects. The present Library - a Grade I listed building - was erected as a national memorial to Gladstone and to house his huge collection of books, correspondence and speeches. As its founder intended, his library provides comfortable study space and accommodation for readers and overnight guests alike. (Accommodation, if desired, can be booked on-line athttp://www.gladstoneslibrary.org/).

Our guided visit affords an opportunity to explore the library and its collections, dip into the latter and experience the peace and ambience of the building and its extensive grounds. In May these are generally at their best. After lunch, which can be bought at the library's 'fair trade' café/restaurant 'Food for Thought', a short (100-150 metre) walk via St. Deiniol's church, a Grade II listed building, restored by James Harrison in 1856 and Sir George Gilbert Scott (1857-9) and where Gladstone and his wife Catherine (née Glynne) are entombed in effigy in a memorial chapel, will take us to the Old Rectory. Since the 1950s, this magnificent early Georgian listed building (Grade II) has been the home of Flintshire Record Office, whose staff also administer Gladstone's family papers and the Glynne Gladstone manuscripts. Here there will be opportunities to view the building, learn about and see items from the collections deposited there and discover how Flintshire plan to commemorate the First World War. Visits to Hawarden War Memorial, and a walk through the village past the walled gardens and gates of Hawarden Castle and the estate cottages, are tempting 'fine weather' possibilities.

17. Constance Mary Fraser 1928-2013 Show more → Show less ↓

Remembered by Win Stokes

Remembered by Win Stokes

Constance Mary Fraser PhD, FSA, FRHistS 27 May1928- 4 June2013

With the death of Constance Fraser the North East has lost a scholarly and dedicated local historian. A mediaevalist and palaeographer by training her first academic appointment as Staff Tutor in Local History in the Department of Extramural Studies at Kings College Newcastle then still part of Durham University. In that capacity she ran classes in research techniques for groups around Tyneside and Northumberland. She was a founding member in 1966 of the Association of Northumberland Local History Societies and for many years its president and editor of its journal Tyne and Tweed. In this role she continued to follow the fortunes of groups she had tutored in her extra mural days, most notably in the Fawdon and Coxlodge Society which invited her to become its president and participating member.

With Kenneth Emsley of the Open University she produced two books Tyneside and Northumbria aimed at the local history enthusiast. Emsley was also her collaborator on The Courts of the County Palatine of Durham published by the Durham County Local History Society which remains the standard work on the subject.

It is fitting that an expression of gratitude for Dr Fraser's generous bequest to BALH should focus first upon her activities in the Local History sphere but her most enduring scholarly legacy must lie in her editing of North Eastern mediaeval and early modern texts for the records series of the Surtees Society of Durham, the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Yorkshire Archaeological Society making accessible material otherwise unavailable to all but the most dedicated specialist.

As recently as 2009 she contributed a chapter on the Economic Growth of Newcastle upon Tyne 1150- 1546 to a collection of essays sponsored by the North East England History Institute (NEEHI) on Newcastle before 1700. Despite failing health in recent years she remained an avid researcher and a fount of knowledge on matters relating to the region as well as one of intellectual Tyneside's most treasured 'characters'. She will be much missed.

18. Book Review Show more → Show less ↓

Bridges over the Thames


The History of Walton Bridge

Nick Pollard

Sunbury and Shepperton Local History Society

ISBN 0 905 178 327 £7 + p&p

Crossing the river Thames between Walton on the Surrey bank and Shepperton on the Middlesex side has proved a challenge to civil engineers. This book ends with the inauguration in the summer of 2013 of the sixth in a series of bridges, some more successful and long-lasting than others. It benefits from the support of construction company Costain who have been involved in a number of community projects in recent times (while they have been building the bridge) including commissioning a series of poems by Joseph Butler which are reproduced in the book.

In the beginning the author speculates about possible methods of river crossing that might have been used by the two communities before the earliest evidence of a ferry in the 17th century. To overcome the practical difficulties faced by the ferries a private Act of Parliament was promoted in1747 by Samuel Dicker, MP for Plymouth and a prominent local resident of Walton. Opened in August 1750 that first bridge was the subject of two paintings by Canaletto. Although supposedly designed so that individual timbers could be renewed indefinitely the structure began to deteriorate. A new bill was passed in 1780, the old bridge dismantled and sold off, and a ferry service returned for three years until a new stone and brick bridge was constructed - this one painted by J M W Turner.

The centre span of that second bridge collapsed in 1859, and a third was built in 1864 in the midst of debates over finance by tolls and duties, and the significance of competition between rail and road transport. 121 years later that bridge was demolished, having been duplicated half way through that period with a new 'temporary' bridge (of pre-fabricated steel components) to take the weight of motor traffic off the older structure. The fifth bridge, another functional steel-plate structure, was opened in 1999, leaving pedestrians and cyclists to use the fourth.

Surrey County Council held an exhibition in March 2003 of 5 bridge designs; visitors voted for their preferred choice - a tied arch bridge, which, subject to amendments following a Public Enquiry, is the new bridge now in use.

Throughout this story there were issues of private and public interests, methods of finance, engineering challenges, and legal disputes - problems that many communities have found themselves facing over centuries.

19. An Elevating Experience Show more → Show less ↓

Alan Crosby went to Spain

Maybe in Britain we don't take our history sufficiently seriously. We simply regard historic buildings and national monuments as places to be visited, perhaps even savoured. They are places for reflection, delight, patriotic fervour, aesthetic pleasure, or historical research. But not - in most cases I suspect - for abstract philosophical musings. Thus, we are frivolous in comparison with the intellectual aspirations of our European brethren, not only with regard to the historic treasures themselves but also in the context of the technological intrusions of the 21st century, for they too have their philosophical dimension.

In October I was wandering, with Mrs Crosby and friends, through the courtyard at the palace of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in the Alhambra in Granada. The building is a slightly chilly and austere mid-sixteenth century Catholic intrusion, plonked clumsily down among the fabulous exoticism of the palaces of the Moorish kings with their fountains, orange groves, shady bowers and exquisite filigree decoration (the palaces, not the kings). Charles V sensed, rather too late, that he was a vandal. At Cordoba he berated the archbishop and chapter for desecrating the sensational mysteries of the vast mosque by building a cathedral in the middle of the complex, but at Granada the damage was done.

It's a great circular courtyard with two tiers of colonnades, set in the perfect square of the rather dull monolithic palace. The redeeming feature is the museum on the lower floor, packed with enchanting medieval Moorish artefacts - the intricacy and delicacy of the marquetry of the pantry doors, in ebony and ivory and mother of pearl, is almost beyond imagining.

But the 21st century of course requires that we should have proper accessibility. I glanced at a sizeable signboard, tantalisingly headed in English 'Accessibility Solutions in Carlos V Palace'. The word 'solutions' is one I now associate with the vans which I pass on the motorway, on which the legend (for example) 'Lunchtime Consumable Solutions' means 'Sandwich Delivery Man'. Cynic that I am, I was not disappointed by the notice itself. The text was in fact about the installation of a lift, but that potentially dreary subject was lifted onto an alternative plane of existence by the conceptual description. The palace, I learned, was 'a faithful exponent of the long-term concept coined by historians in the twentieth century'. In case this was elusive, too slippery to grasp, an explanation was offered: 'This means to say that the long history of its final completion ... is an open process, and in a way a closed one; despite its appearance of a completed building, it is the result of the historical process that motivated its conclusion'. Baffled? Me? Yes!

At this point I might have abandoned hope, but I am made of sterner stuff. I persevered. Learning from the next paragraph that 'the evolution process of the monument reveals the museological uses that characterizes it today', I discovered that to facilitate this use, 'it is necessary to incorporate a vertical transportation system that eases its access and routes. To accommodate this function its design resorts to a curvilinear triangle that marries the square plan of the palace with the circular geometry of its patio'. In other words, they were installing a lift. At this point I realised that I was the only person actually reading the signboard. Mrs Crosby and nuestros amigos had moved on to more interesting things, but I was hooked.

For this was not just any lift. This was a VERY SPECIAL LIFT. It would not simply transport people from one level to another. Oh no. That particular lift 'aspires to become one more exhibition showcase among the others throughout the monument. From this perspective, the lift's principal mission will be to facilitate, through its vertical movement, the contemplation and enjoyment of the unique atmosphere through which it travels'. I was indeed elevated by this information!

20. Trustee Profile Show more → Show less ↓

Jane Golding

Jane Golding

My route to joining BALH as a Trustee came in 2009 when the Association of Local History Tutors (ALHT) joined forces with BALH. As a former Hon Secretary of ALHT, I was assigned to BALH's Education Advisory Committee. I am Chair of the Conference Committee and a member of Management Committee.

My background is in landscape archaeology. An interval of several very enjoyable years working for Oxfordshire Local Studies separates my experience as an undergraduate at the University of East Anglia and as a postgraduate at Reading. I then joined the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments for England (RCHME) to work for the National Library of Air Photographs in Swindon. Some twenty-four years and several roles later, I continue to work for RCHME's successor, English Heritage.

Throughout my work for English Heritage I have been fortunate to follow an ongoing commitment to teaching and learning, furthered by a PGCE (Post-compulsory Education) from Oxford Brookes. Within an arena of formal taught courses and throughout a programme of community projects (extending from Exmoor to Lancaster) I have brought together strands of local history, landscape archaeology, and community heritage. I have expertise in community archives and oral history, and I am a long standing member and former officer of the Community Archives and Heritage Group Steering Committee.

My current role within the Designation Department of English Heritage involves providing development support to, and raising awareness of, the national network of local authority Historic Environment Records and their role in the planning process. I am keen to understand ways in which digital technologies are changing behaviours of how we access information, and can offer a multitude of opportunities for sharing and participation.

I have welcomed an opportunity to help BALH trial the use of social media and to contribute to a working group to oversee a rebuild and refresh of BALH's website.

21. Notes News Issues Show more → Show less ↓


As the centenary of the beginning of the First World War draws closer, it is increasingly clear just how much work is under way by so many people around to country to mark this significant historical event, and those that will follow over the next four years. It is impossible to report all the research and other activities being carried out by our members, so a selection will be made (usually in the News from Societies section) that we hope will be of interest. In particular this will include things that are just a little different, or that might serve as inspiration to others.

In recent issues of LHN the series of articles discussing sources or themes for researching the local history of the 1914-18 War has, we trust, proved of interest and use. It has generated response and debate, as we have already noted. In this issue there is an additional article demonstrating how a small local archives service is as rich a source as large national collections. The series continues through this year. If you know of a particular article that has inspired a project, do let us know. Similarly we hope everyone involved has a copy of the BALH guide by Kate Tiller ' Remembrance and Community: War memorials and local history' (2013, £6.95 or £5 for members, + £1 p & P), and that that too has been a valuable contribution to this whole process of investigation and enlightenment.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

BALH will be at Olympia for 20-22 February. Do visit our table and introduce yourself to whoever is working there at the time. There are several contributions from BALH to the Workshop Programme.

Stalls at LHD

John Minnis has written in this issue (see p 13) about his annual lecture for us on 7 June. The topic will be of interest and relevance to many members, individuals and groups. Please get in touch with Gill Draper if your society would like to have a table at Local History Day this year. development.balh@btinternet.com


Our regular article from the Victoria County History teams around the country is taking a break this issue, but will be back before long.

Local History Day 2015

Please put the date in your diaries - Saturday 6 June. We will be in Birmingham.

Press officer and marketing

Is there anyone with appropriate skills and experience who would be interested in joining us as a voluntary press officer and/or to help with marketing the Association? We'd be delighted to hear from you, do get in touch.

Open Forum

The next Open Forum will be on Saturday 1 March 2014 1.30-2.30 pm at Senate House, University of London. There will be short presentations and discussion on social media and website development. Any member interested in joining us would be very welcome, but it is helpful if you could contact us in advance.

Contributions from members to LHN and to the e-newsletter are always welcome.