BALH e-Newsletter      September 2015
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September 2015

A ‘new’ manuscript and a day out in summer - Gill Draper

The summer vacation arrived which- as everybody who does not work in a university knows- consists of three months’ rest and recreation, so I awarded myself a day at the seaside and a chance to see a medieval manuscript which had been discovered in a church vestry at Bexhill, Sussex. My mother had alerted me to a piece in her local newspaper, The Bexhill Observer, which was then published online

In her round-up of archive news, Margaret O’Sullivan had also drawn the attention of the management committee to this find, so with a background in the medieval history of East Sussex, half a day’s prior research using the sort of websites listed in BALH’s Internet Sites for Local Historians, and help from my mother with arrangements to view the manuscript, I set off for Bexhill.

Bexhill-on-Sea is a nineteenth-century seaside resort but the ‘old town’ of Bexhill sits on a large knoll about a mile behind the seafront. It lies midway between Pevensey and Hastings, both members of the medieval Cinque Ports confederation. In very brief summary, Bexhill has an ancient minster church, allegedly founded by Offa in 772, and indeed the church displays a photograph and translation of the charter. The charter purports to record the grant by Offa of eight hides (a measure of land) at Bexhill to Oswald, bishop of Selsey, for the building of a minster, with reversion after his death to the church of Selsey.  Although the charter is a complex forgery of eleventh-century date, ‘there does seem to be very good reason to think that the forger based his text ultimately on a genuine diploma of King Offa of Mercia, issued soon after his conquest of Sussex in c. 771’ (Brooks and Kelly 2013, 380). The final ‘forged’ version of the charter includes the bounds of Bexhill ‘inlands’, possibly as they existed in the second half of the ninth century. This is where the minster lay. There were also the outlands of the tenants, making up a large estate. Soon after the Conquest Bexhill was granted to Count of Eu as part of the rape of Hastings, a subdivision of Sussex containing thirteen hundreds, and the church representing the former minster was annexed to Hastings College. The bishops of Chichester, replacing Selsey, did not recover Bexhill church till 1148, at which time they had a manor house built next to the church in Bexhill old town, near the easternmost point of their diocese.

Little survives from the earliest church apart from a stone lid of an eighth-century reliquary. The church was largely rebuilt and extended within twenty years of the Conquest, including the addition of a massive western tower, which was a typical landmark and ‘seamark’ on this coast at this period. North and south aisles were added in about 1150 and the small Norman chancel was extended in the mid-thirteenth century. Much of the medieval church is still visible despite a thoroughgoing Victorian ‘restoration’.  

An early fifteenth-century chapel in the north aisle became, in 1453, a chantry chapel by the will of Lady Joan Brenchesle (Brenchley in west Kent). In 1597 this chapel was repaired and turned into the ‘Schole House’ (Parish Church of St Peter; 5th Rpt Hist. MSS. Comm, pt 1, 460). It is likely that it was the location of teaching by the chaplain before the Reformation.

Lady Joan was a substantial heiress in her own right, and the wife of Sir William Brenchley, justice of the King’s Bench. Sir William, also a justice of the Common Pleas, died ‘in Holborne, in the suburb of London’ in 1446. He was buried in Canterbury Cathedral where Lady Joan and his executors established a chantry in addition to the one in Bexhill church. Sir William and Lady Joan were commemorated in the nave of the cathedral by a monument ‘long since defaced and the brasses purloined from them’ but which included an inscription in Latin with the figures of a man in long robes, a woman and shields of arms (Cal. Pat. Rolls HVI, 5, 21-22; Anon. 1807, 64; Hasted 1800, 383).

The antiquarian Edward Hasted also recorded adjacent inscriptions to Kentish gentry families with whom the Brenchleys fraternised, the Septvans and Fogges. These families, and most notably Lady Joan, are remarkable for the survival of accounts and allied documents from their manors in south-west Kent and east Sussex. This led me to consider the likelihood that Joan herself was actively involved in the management of the estate of her husband and herself by literate means, not least because her husband would often have been away in London in his role of justice (Draper 2004, 127-130). This possibility is further suggested by an account of William Mot, beadle of the manor of Buckholt in Bexhill, dated 1426-27, which includes payments made to the Lady [Joan Brenchley] at Buckholt. This manor had come to Lady Joan in 1423 and there is a similar account from John Holstok, the rent-collector, for rents of assize, farm rents and profits of court, and for a £9 annuity granted to Joan Brenchley, from 1445-45 (East Sussex Record Office NOR/18/5,6). A Joan Brenchisle, possibly the mother of Lady Joan, held Buckholt and Bexhill manors by 1412 (Herbert Noyes 1858,

The manuscript under discussion was on display in the chantry chapel of Bexhill church together with a wealth of information gathered by Stuart Hughes, a member of the congregation, who had also received advice from the British Library and Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, including a suggested date of early to mid-fifteenth century. I was fortunate enough to meet Deacon Olivia Werrett who had rediscovered the manuscript recently and described it being donated many years ago to the church, and already in a frame. It had been put on top of a cupboard in the vestry and subsequently covered with many strata of increasingly dusty papers. At the moment, then, the manuscript lacks a firm provenance. Deacon Olivia kindly gave permission for me to photograph and write about the manuscript here, through whom further comment had also been provided to Stuart Hughes by the University of Amsterdam.
The manuscript consists of a single sheet of vellum written on both sides in Latin, mainly in black ink, and with distinctive marginal decoration. On one side of the folio, at the top left, there is a representation of an elegant lady, in a headdress and green dress, apparently a laywoman with decoration extending down the left margin. The third line of text has a heading in red ink, Dominica in passione domini Officium, i.e. the office for Passion Sunday, with the
psalm, collect and lessons from Hebrews and St John’s gospel which continues onto the second side. On the lower part of the second side there is an illuminated, or historiated, letter D. There is also striking illumination in the left and lower margins consisting of stylised flowers, foliage, animals and fish, in gold and shades of green, blue, brown, pink and red. The letter D looked a likely candidate for the first letter of Domine, O Lord,and the image shows Jesus entering Jerusalem, his hand raised in blessing, and sitting on a donkeyon which, with the eye of faith perhaps, you can see the cloaks of the disciples, and even thebranches cut from trees (Matthew 21: 2, 6-8).
This image usually accompanied the introit for theoffice for Palm Sunday, and you can see a much larger and splendid one in a Book of Hours, Les TrèsRiches Heures du Duc de Berry, f.173v,

The introit begins Domine and continues ne longe facias auxilium tuum a me ad defensionem meamaspice leonis et a cornibus unicornium humilitatem meam. That is, ‘Lord, keep not thy Help far fromme; look to my Defence: Deliver me from the Lion’s Mouth, and my low Condition from the Horns ofUnicorns’ (cf. Psalm 35, 22b, 23; Psalm 22: 21; The Office for Holy Week, 1738, 22). The heading forPalm Sunday is marked out in red ink to the right of the D: Dominica in Palmis Introitus, then thepsalm and collect (marked by Sequitur Collecta in red), of which there are three lines at the bottomof the text on this page.

The folio at Bexhill is just one surviving from a whole missal whose origins we do not know. It mightperhaps have been for monastic use, say at Lewes Priory, or for parish or private use.  It seems tohave been carefully looked after and not heavily used. After the Reformation parts of such bookswere sometimes for the covers, flyleaves, etc, of parish or civic records, notably in the Cinque Ports,and this might account for the survival of the Bexhill fragment. However this folio has beenpreserved with care rather than re-used, perhaps because of the representation of the lady in green.The quality of the illumination suggests the missal had a gentry patron or owner- is it too temptingto suggest that this might have been the founder of the chantry, Lady Joan Brenchley, or at leastsomeone of her status?  Determining this depends partly on whether a provenance can beestablished beyond what is already known.

On the train home I mused on how electronic sources have transformed research over the past tenyears. For this piece I used many, from online record office catalogues to web-based discussionforums, digitised books and county journals with searchable articles, now including the SussexArchaeological Collections and Archaeologia Cantiana from the Kent Archaeological Society, andCambridge’s Wren Digital Library (, where one can view, for instance,images of other late medieval missals, among much else. Of course books as well as websitesprovide reliable well-researched background information, many of both kinds being the products ofthe activities and publications of local historians, academics and collaborative projects which I haverecently been reviewing for Historic England’s assessment of the value of community-generatedresearch (see Local History News 116). Reflecting on BALH’s part in publishing studies based onlocalities, I noted the significance of Local History News as a treasure trove of information abouthistorical investigations originating with local groups, and importance of The Local Historian inpublishing local history and reviews across the spectrum of published material from popular toacademic. Pretty much all of them, it seems to me, have changed the way we work now.

N. Brooks and S. Kelly, 2013. Charters of Christ Church Canterbury, 2 vols (Anglo-Saxon Charters 17,

18, The British Academy/Oxford University Press.

Calendar of Patent Rolls

G. Draper, 2004. ‘Literacy and its transmission in the Romney Marsh area c.1150-1550’, University of Kent Ph.D. thesis.

The Parish Church of St Peter, Bexhill: a guide for visitors [n.d.], drawing ‘on research by the late Clifford Earwaker, rector, 1953-59 and published in his booklet, The Story of St Peter’s, Bexhill’

J. Harthan, 1978. Books of Hours and their Owners, Thames and Hudson.

E. Hasted, 1800, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, vol. 11.

Anon. [Edward Hasted] 1807. The Canterbury guide; or Travellers pocket companion. By an inhabitant.

Stuart Hughes, 2015. ‘An unpublished note and translation’.

K. Leslie, B. Short and S. Rowland, 1999. An Historical Atlas of Sussex, Philimore.

T. Herbert Noyes, 1858. ‘Roll of a Subsidy levied in Thirteenth Henry IV, 1411, 1412, so far as relate to the county of Sussex’, Sussex Archeological Collections 10.

The Office of the Holy Week, According to the Roman Missal and Breviary ... in Latin and English ...

The Third Edition, Corrected. 1738 (printed for T. Meighan, London)

5th Report of the Historical Manuscripts Commission (1876)

NOTE: BALH’s Internet Sites for Local Historians: a directory, compiled by J.Fillmore and ed. by A.Crosby (2014 edition) is available to members via The price for members is just £5.
First World War Tea Cosies - Joanna Mattingly

Following an item about historic tea cosies in the BALH e-newsletter 2013, I received a very interesting email from Barbara Smith, Publications Curator of the Knitting & Crochet Guild. In an article ‘Re knitting’ posted September 2013 Barbara wrote about the Welcome Home crochet design.  This has a central design of a battle ship flanked by flags and I have a large example in my collection purchased after a visit to the Pensilva Antique Fair.  The design first appeared in ‘Fancy Needlework Illustrated’ as early as 1915.  As Barbara wrote:
‘I am surprised that it was so early – I had thought that the “Welcome Home” message would date from the end of the war.  The design is an odd mixture altogether – the French and U.K. flags, the “UNITED” slogan, and the name “L’Entente” all seem to be celebrating the alliance with France.  ButI suspect that for many people … it was the “Welcome Home” message that was more significant’.
It is likely that another crocheted cosy cover (the padded actual cover is missing in this case) in my collection, which has the message ‘For King and Country’ may be of slightly later date.  (There is another similar one at the Imperial War Museum).  This cover shows a cannon with gun carriage flanked by crossed rifles and Union Jack flags with a bi-plane overhead. In style it is similar to ‘Woman’s Own’ journal illustrations for 1916.  My example has blue and red ribbon threaded through the side and top edges and bows at the top corners.  More significantly it has its original price tag of £1 5s and a printed yellow competition ticket filled in in ink which reads ‘300, Class 299’ and ‘No. 1541’. The ticket also says: ‘Please be careful to fasten this Ticket on the right article.  See prospectus for proper Class of Work before fastening in order to prevent disqualification’. It seems likely that this comes from one of the fund-raising bazaars that were held to support the war effort, but further information on this would be much appreciated.

Such incidental evidence coming from a, possibly, unsold tea cosy seems to make more sense of what Barbara Smith wrote in ‘Re-Knitting: War Crochet’ posted Sunday 9 December 2012:

‘Given our current view of the horrors of the First World War, it seems callously frivolous to spend hours on fine crochet work rather than something more useful…’

Alongside a handful of war-inspired designs, traditional designs of flowers and animals continued to be produced in crochet and some were probably sold to raise money for the troops.  For instance in ‘Artistic Crochet’ by Flora Klickman there is a design for ‘A Bramble Rose Tea Set’.  My example of  this design is stitched onto its pink undercosy.
Another tea cosy that appears to have been made during the war, too, appeared on ebay in October 2014. This green velvet cosy depicted Allied flags and the date 1914-15 on one side and a British bulldog with Union Jack and inscription ‘A Scrap of Paper’ on the other side. The inscription is a clear reference to the German chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg’s description of Briain’s treaty guaranteeing Belgium’s neutrality as ‘a scrap of paper’.

Another possible context for some First World War tea cosies is suggested by an article in ‘Fancy Needlework Illustrated’ dating from 1916.  Page 9 illustrates French wounded soldiers doing macrame work and there is an illustration on the same page of a tea cosy embroidered by Sergeant Bosie at Brookdale MA. Hospital (presumably meaning America).  This suggests that tea cosies were among the items made by recuperating soldiers, just as in the Second World War.

Cigarette silks were also popular in this period and pre First World War silks may have been made up into tea cosies.  A good example loosely dated 1900-15 is in the Quilt Museum at York.  Cigarette silks were also used to decorate at least one child’s dress at the time of the 1918 Armistice (see Birmingham Museums collections).   Another First World War period Belgian tea cosy was made from an old flour sack depicting a bee hive (The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum collections), while Saskatchewen museum in Canada has a floral quillwork on leather cosy dated 1917 made by one Melanie Blondeau.

Finally there are a sizeable group of tea cosies which appear to be souvenirs of the Great War and in some cases these date from after its conclusion.  One example in my collection that clearly was made at the time the War Memorials were going up (see Kate Tiller, Remembrance and Community: War Memorials and Local History) is a yellow silk cosy with (shattering) orange silk trim and colourful embroidery.  (Another example of the same design was embroidered in brighter colours on cream silk).  This includes the inscription ‘Souvenir of the Great War, while the dates ‘1914, 1915, 16, 17, 1918, 1919’ are set in a roundel of embroidery - flags, roses and pansies - with orange silk trim.  My example also has a machine embroidered panel on the back of Peronne in flames in 1917.  Fabric tea
cosies in blues, purples and greens with colourful chain stitch embroidery of swirls, sometimes incorporate First World War silk embroidered postcards.  In other cases cream coloured fabrics are embroidered with the flags of allies or badges of individual companies paralleling the commemorative china that was also being churned out during and after the war.  Two cream- coloured tea cosies with blue cotton linings and heavy embroidery in my collection were bought together in 2014 from a Truro shop called ‘Enjoy Clothing’.  These examples depict, respectively, the badge of the Royal Artillery, and the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces. Some of these First World War tea cosies have been mistakenly described as dating from the Second World War.

However, many Second World War tea cosies were made of rayon in garish colour combinations. Instead of silk or wool embroidery, their badges are cruder and generally machine embroidered. Second World War tea cosies include a number of Royal Air Force tea cosies; the Royal Air Force being, of course, a post First World War creation.
Local History Society News
Cornwall Association of Local Historians is having another busy year.  The February weekend conference at Newquay was a great success with some very good speakers giving a real flavour of life in Elizabethan Cornwall.  Many of the speakers also kindly contributed articles to the 2015 Journal, so those who were unable to attend the conference didn't miss out altogether.  So far we have had three outdoor meetings this year.  The first, the chairman's annual meeting based in Pelynt parish visited a newly restored lime kiln on the bank of the West Looe river.  This was followed by a visit to the site of Sir Harry Trelawny's salmon trap, where discussions took place as to how the trap had worked and what it must have looked like in the early 19th century.  The afternoon was spent at Hall Barton, site of the Domesday manor of Pelynt.  Firstly we had a look at the 18th century farm house and out-buildings before we set off across the fields to look at the Iron Age hill fort known as Hall Rings.  The sun shone, so the views were fantastic and, although only about one fifth of the double bank and ditch remain, everyone was very impressed with the labour involved in constructing it, and also the work involved in removing so much of it in the early 20th century.  

In June, a wonderful day was spent in Camborne with Cornwall Record Office Archivist, and local boy, David Thomas.  Before walking round a part of the town we were told the story of the development of the church from its Norman foundations. Much new evidence was revealed a few years ago when some of the plaster had to be removed, and David explained how the new evidence fitted in to the story of early Christianity in Cornwall.  In the after noon we visited the site of one of the many mines in the area and, as we stood and surveyed the silent desolation, David vividly brought to life what the area would have looked like in the mid 19th century, when this was one of the richest square miles in the world.

The sun also shone on our July meeting which was held at the Institute of Local Studies at Tremough, on the Penryn Campus of the University of Cornwall.  Dr Garry Tregidga hosted us for what was a fascinating day hearing about the work both of the Institute and also of the University.  We also had a conducted tour of Tremough House, which was built in c1720 for a wealthy local merchant.  A stroll round the beautifully maintained gardens, and a look at some of the modern buildings ended what had been a most informative day.

Our next meeting, in September, will be based at Bude in North Cornwall, and this will be followed by the Autumn indoor meeting at Newquay.
Joanna Mattingly

Rhuddlan local history society

We recently told you about a project we had embarked on which was a lottery funded project.
If you remember it was to produce a booklet about life in Rhuddlan before, during and after the first world war, as you would imagine it would have made a big difference to this parish.Over 220 people went to the war and 22 never came back. In addition to the booklet we also set about creating a roll of honour of all who went to war because we felt that every year we remember the fallen, every November and rightly so but who remembered the ones who came back with very little, so that was the motivation.
Well we managed to create the roll of honour and that was presented to the Mayor of Rhuddlan on July 13th also we were able to produce a pamphlet not only with their names,rank,regiment andnumber on it but we managed to record there address on it as well.
The launch of the booklet will take place on the 12th September 2015 so it's a success story all round. 

Dai Thomas [ Chairman ] Rhuddlan local history society

Lickey Hills Local History Society

2015: A Year to Remember

Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th September
11am - 4pm at Visitor Centre, Warren Lane, Lickey B45 8ER

This year Lickey Hills Local History Society commemorate several special anniversaries: Magna Carta, the opening of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, the Battle of Waterloo, Galipolli, the founding of the W.I., Dunkirk and VE Day.  We will have displays on the significance of all these for our local area, with guided walks to the WW1 and WW2 sites in the Country Park.  Plus the Worcestershire World War One Bell Tent and re-enactors to bring it all to life!

Free and open to all.
BALH  Events & News
BALH Events

Archaeological Studies in and around East Yorkshire

Study Day in Beverley: Saturday 17th October 2015
Peter Harrison Room, Beverley Minster, Minster Yard North, HU17 0DP
10am - 4.30pm approx.

Run by East Yorkshire Local History Society and promoted by BALH this Society is holding an archaeological study day in Beverley. Situatied some 8 miles north of Hull, Beverley is a delightful market town still retaining its provincial identity. It is one of the many hidden gems of the East Riding of Yorkshire and is home to two large churches, Beverley Minster and St Mary's, the remains of a Dominican Friary, a Guildhall of medieval origina and the Fifteenth Century North Bar, the only remaining one of four tollgates. Beverley has three common pastures of Medieval origin, Westwood being notable for its Pasture Masters and grazing right existing today. There is a Georgian Quarter in the town and a number of original timber framed buildings are now hidden behind more modern facades.

Rodney Mackey - 'Archaeological Evidence for the Changing Setting of Beverley Minster'
Dr Peter Halkon - 'The Parisi - Britons and Romans in Eastern Yorkshire'
Ed Dennison - 'Not all Archaeology is below ground - Recent Building Recording in East Yorkshire'
Dr Dave Evans - 'Wealth and Poverty in Hull from c.1300 to c.1700: an archaeological view of lifestyles'

Cost £25 per person (includes buffet lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments) Max No. 40

Applications to East Yorkshire Local History Society
C/o 85 Ancaster Avenue, Hull, HU5 4QR
or from the BALH website
Community, Family and Kin: current themes and approaches

Conference to be held at the University of Leicester 7th November 2015

This conference is organised by the British Association for Local History, the Local Population Studies Society, and the Friends of the Centre for English Local History at the University of Leicester. Family, household and community reconstitution has played a major part in local, social and population history since the 1960s. Now fresh possibilities and techniques have opened up with the growing availablity of sources, developments in digitisation, and new debates and analysis. This day conference will bring together varying perspectives and examples of current local studies examining the value of this approach, particularly for the long nineteenth century.

Venue address: Fraser Noble Building, 2 University Rd, Leicester LE1 7RB (on the central campus, Leicester)

For further information and to book visit


Website Manager - Paul Carter

Following our advert for a Website Manager in the June issue of the Newsletter, we are pleased to welcome Paul Carter who joined us on 1st September.  Paul is well-versed in computer matters and websites so we know the BALH website will be in good hands. 

Paul takes over from Jane Howells, and we thank her for all her time and hard work over the years. Jane will still be very much involved with BALH especially as editor of Local History News.
Conferences / Courses / Talks
Landscape Narratives: Creating stories from archaeological survey
­The Gateway Education and Arts Centre, Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
Friday 18th and Saturday 19th September 2015.

A day of papers and discussion exploring the role of archaeological field survey and investigation in analysing and contextualising our sense of place, combined with a day of field visits to local landscapes led by the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust.

Registration is open for the full programme (£25 members, £30 non-members), Friday conference only, including lunch (£20 members, £25 non-members) or Saturday fi­eld trip only (£15 members, £20 non-members). Registration forms and membership forms are available from the Landscape Survey Group website.

Conference details can also be found on the LSG website -

Work, Rest and Play:
Exploring the Extended Railway Family

A joint National Railway Museum and Your Fair Ladies day conference at the

National Railway Museum
19 September 2015

The Work, Rest and Play conference will examine the life of the railway worker beyond the traditional driver’s cab. It will seek to define what ‘The Railway Family’ was and how it can be uncovered.

Historians, National Railway Museum staff and experienced genealogists will use an extensive variety of sources and practical case studies to reveal some little-known facets of the wider railway community.  Plus screenings of some rare railway footage showing what the life of a railway worker was really like.  Places are limited so book soon to guarantee your place!
Price: £35 (£30 to Friends of the NRM) – includes lunch and refreshments.
Book on-line and download the full programme at
Telephone 01904 621261, or book in person at the National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ

The “Know Your Place” Project

A talk by Anne Lovejoy of the KYP Project team
Wednesday 21 October at 7:30pm for 8:00pm
in the Miners Institute (aka Coalpit Heath Village Hall),
214 Badminton Road, Coalpit Heath, BS36 2QB

KNOW YOUR PLACE is a web-based local history project allowing the comparison of new and historic maps of the area on-line. Photos can be attached where they relate to and anyone can add their own. The project will be administered and extended partly by volunteers.

Anne Lovejoy, a leading member of the project team responsible for extending Know Your Place, will give an illustrated talk on the features available and how these will be added over the coming months for the new parts of the region. She will also describe how volunteers can help with with this project and how anyone can submit information which they believe will be of interest to others.

This talk will be of interest to anyone concerned with local history.
Non members welcome - £2 (Membership is £15 per year)
Project Information

The project details are at…/planning-and-bu…/know-your-placeand the actual tool itself is at Just google "know your place" and there is quite a bit more to read.
Heritage Lottery Funding has been granted to extend the Bristol Know Your Place web site to include the old  Avon Unity Authorities, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.  A Lottery spokesperson has said this extension is a significant development in community mapping projects.
Users will be able to see together various historic maps and the current map of a selected area at various scales. In addition picture information such as old post card collections, ancient monuments and WW2 bomb damage are directly available for the selected area. Users are encouraged to submit their own information about places of interest for others to see.
All this information is being made available on PC's, laptops, tablets and smart phones, which enables the user to either work at home to study an area, or with a mobile devise to visit places of interest to them and be able to see the historic information that is available and compare it with the actual place.
When this project is complete, it will provide a very valuable entry into all sorts of local historic information.
Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society (
William Worcester 1415-2015: the Legacy of an Early English Topographer
This conference will celebrate the major contribution of William Worcester (often spelled Worcestre) to early topography and particularly the study of late medieval Bristol. His Itineraries, ed. J.H.Harvey and excluding Bristol, appeared in 1969 and his Topography of Bristol, ed. F.Neale, was published by Bristol Record Society in 2000.  Papers will look at the society, culture and landscape that existed in Bristol in Worcester’s time, at his contribution to English topography and to the influence that his work had upon subsequent topographical studies and his place within the antiquarian and historical writing following his death.
Professor Peter Fleming: 'Politics, Society and Culture in William Worcestre's Bristol’
Frances Neale: ‘William Worcestre: the man and his methods'
Professor Roger Leech: ‘Town houses in William Worcestre’s Bristol’
Professor Nicholas Orme: ‘William Worcester and the Beginnings of English Topography’
Dr Jan Broadway: ‘The Afterlife of William Worcestre’
The conference will be at M Shed in Bristol on Saturday 31st October 2015, 10am to 4.45pm. Further details from; William Evans, 5 Parrys Grove, Bristol BS9 1TT;
South Bank Stories: The Way We Worked 1980 to Now  

Exploring the history of workers in the South Bank and greater Southwark area, South Bank Stories will incorporate photographic portraits, archival imagery, and written interviews to bring to life the memories of the area’s workforce from the 1980’s to the present day. The project has been made possible thanks to a grant of £34,700 to Pascal Theatre Company from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a series of community focused events will run throughout the duration of the exhibition.

In recent years the South Bank area has undergone extensive regeneration due to its close proximity to the City of London. As an area that is becoming increasingly popular with professional workers and commuters, the South Bank is a rapidly evolving environment. This exciting project will celebrate the industrious and cultural heritage of Southwark through the telling of stories from local artists, artisans and traders who are still working in the area today.

Café owner Maria Moruzzi spent most her life growing up in the Borough Market and has witnessed many changes over the years. “This used to be a working man’s area, full of warehouses. Now the City has moved over to this side of the river. You would never see a suit growing up.”

The South Bank is the culturally diverse area that it is today thanks to its rich history of theatre, literature and trade. Many locales are featured in Charles Dickens’s novels. Borough Market still stands in its original site since the 11th Century and is the workplace of traders and artisans alike. This is a heritage deserving of recognition and celebration in the midst of the modern-day challenges that these traditional trades now face.

Exhibition Details:
South Bank Stories: The Way We Worked 1980 to Now
29 August – 27 September 2015
Unicorn Theatre
147 Tooley Street
Southwark, London
T 020 7645 0560
Results of more than 150 years’ research now on-line

The most comprehensive collection of articles and research papers on the archaeology and history of Kent ever published is now available free-on-line, following the digitization of ‘Archaeologia Cantiana,’ the annual journal of the Kent Archaeological Society.

First published 157 years ago, in 1858, the journals contain a total of more than 3,000 contributions by authorities on the county’s prehistoric settlements; archaeological ‘digs’; castles, churches, palaces and villas; genealogy; local history, and many other aspects of Kent’s past.

Printed issues of the journal are distributed to the KAS’s 1,200 individual members and affiliated local history societies, and to ‘institutional subscribers’ (public reference libraries, universities and learned societies) all over the world.

Non-members can now read and download 132 volumes, each one comprising several hundred pages, that have been posted in indexed, searchable text, that can be read by clicking on to and following the link to ‘Researching the History & Archaeology of Kent  ‘Publications 0n-line  Archaeologia Cantiana’. The project is part of the society’s on-going exercise to make its resources and databases freely accessible to the public on its website, which now receives an average of 80,000 visits a week.

Britain's past seen from the air as Bluesky brings old aerial photos online.


Thousands of aerial photographs, dating back more than seventy years, are now available online. Visitors to can now search, view and download images from the Old Aerial Photos collection, which includes some of the earliest commercial aerial survey images, military photographs as well as many national archives. Offering a record of most major UK cities and towns, transport and utility infrastructure and commercial property developments, the images are an invaluable resource for anyone with a personal or professional interest in local studies, genealogy, boundary disputes, environmental land use research or town planning.
“Our Mapshop is already established as to the ‘go to’ place for modern aerial photography, with multiple dates of imagery available for the whole of England, Scotland and Wales,” says Rachel Tidmarsh, Managing Director of Bluesky. “The addition of the Old Aerial Photos archive was therefore the next step. Complementing the modern images, as well as the other map layers available, this archive is a really interesting and valuable resource for a range of applications.”
The Old Aerial Photos archive of historic aerial images includes around 100,000 individual images dating back to the 1960s. The newly available images include archives from some of the forerunners of today’s aerial photography industry as well as photographs from the UK military. Visitors to www.blueskymapshop.comcan also access archive images from more familiar names such as Infoterra, GeoPerspectives and SCRAN (formerly BLOM).
The online archive can be searched using a postcode, street or city name, or Ordnance Survey grid reference. Once the Old Aerial Photos option has been selected the Bluesky Mapshop viewer window then displays small camera icons for each image available within the search area. Clicking on an icon displays a preview of the aerial image as well as information about the photograph including when it was taken.
By clicking through to the ‘Choose your product’ page, the visitor can get an overview of all products available within the search area before selecting the Old Aerial Photos option. Details of each image, including scale, date and price, are displayed and the visitor can choose different purchase options, such as Standard Scan or Archive Pack, accompanying Letter of Authenticity, Printed Version and Delivery Option.
Reader enquiries to Bluesky on tel +44 (0)1530 518 518
Editorial enquiries, contact Robert Peel on tel +44 (0)1666 823306
Colour separation requests to

Manorial Documents Register (MDR)

The National Archives are pleased to inform you that we have recently launched a test version of the Manorial Documents Register (MDR) advanced search within Discovery:

We would like to offer you the opportunity to become familiar with the new look tool whilst it is available as a beta service and provide feedback. This marks the beginning of a period of time where the MDR and updated Discovery service will run in parallel.

Discovery has been developed with requirements and feedback from staff, users, archives services and interest groups and we have been working on this Finding Archives<> element of Discovery since 2011.

Please note that the four counties added to the MDR in 2015 (Derbyshire, Somerset, Staffordshire and Sussex) do not appear in the 'historic county' menu at present. These will be added in due course. In the meantime, the data for all of these counties is available on Discovery and can be searched by Manor name and Parish name.

We have developed and updated existing help and guidance in order to support the use of the MDR. This can be found here:

Local History Prize - Alan Ball Award for Local History

The CILIP Local Studies Group is calling for submissions to the Alan Ball Award for Local History publishing for material, printed or digital, published in 2013 and 2014.


The Alan Ball Local History Awards were established by the Library Services Trust in 1985 to encourage local history publishing by public libraries and local authorities. The awards were named after Alan W. Ball, a former Chief Librarian of the London Borough of Harrow, and author of many local history publications.

Following discussions with the Library Services Trust CILIP LSG will take on the administration, judging and promotion of the award. This has always been a prestigious award within the library and information community, especially for Local Studies services, and the LSG is honored to be involved with it. Traditionally, the award has been for printed materials, although more recently electronic information such as websites have been considered. The LSG committee has consulted with a number of stakeholders and it is clear that the award is still very popular; but as a result of the consultation we have decided to update and expand the criteria, so we are hoping for a bumper crop of submissions this year.


There will be two awards this year. One for printed material and another for digital. Printed material might include books, pamphlets and guides etc.; while digital submission might include websites, apps, video, animation and some aspects of social media, such as blogs. We are interested in both the quality and usefulness of the content, and also how it engages the reader or user, especially new users.

The award will now be open to all heritage and community organisations involved with some aspect of Local History and who receive or have received public funding. This also includes lottery funding, e.g. Heritage Lottery Fund and Awards for All.  In addition to local authority libraries, archives, museum and archaeology services; it includes small local museums, heritage centres and community history projects.

Submitting your publications

We will need submissions to be with us by 1st October 2015, for materials published in 2013 or 2014. Ideally we would like a hard copy of any printed item you submit. For digital items, please send any CDs or DVDs, or let us know how we can access websites, apps, blogs etc. Contact Terry Bracher (Chair of CILIP LSG) c/o Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham. SN15 3QN. email: , telephone: 01249 705515 for further information. You will find the submission details and entry form on our CILIP (LSG) web pages,

The Judges

This year the judges will be:
Tracey Williams, Local Studies Librarian, Solihull Library
Dr Craig Horner, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Peoples History Museum.
Dr John Chandler, Local History Publisher (Hobb Nobb Press), Editor Victoria County History of Gloucestershire and former Local Studies librarian and LSG McCulla prize winner.
Dr Diana Dixon, Hon Reviews Editor, CILIP Update and LSG Committee Member
Alice Lock, former Librarian, Tameside Local Studies and Archives, and Hon. Secretary LSG

Convener: Terry Bracher, Archives & Local Studies Manager, Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre and Hon. Chair LSG.

The Prize

Winners will be given a certificate and accorded the title of Alan Ball Award winner, which can be used on promotional material. Sadly, there is no trophy or cash prize,  but as previous award winners will confirm, it is a prestigious award that is very meaningful within Local History community
History News
Export bar placed on John Logie Baird archive in effort to keep it in UK.

Reprinted in its entirety from
The Guardian, Thursday 30 June 2015

A treasure trove of materials relating to John Logie Baird’s first-ever transmission of trans-Atlantic television pictures is at risk of being exported unless a UK buyer can be found to match the £78,750 asking price.

In order to provide a last chance to keep the archive in the UK, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has placed a temporary export bar on the items in the hope a UK buyer can be found in the time permitted.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:

Britain led the world in the development of television technology in the 1920’s, all due to the pioneering work of John Logie Baird and his colleagues. It belongs in Britain where it would be of huge importance for the study of the history of television, and I hope a UK buyer will come forward to save it for the nation.

Between November 1926 and April 1927 – John Logie Baird and his assistant, Benjamin Clapp developed the idea of rigging up a receiving station and television receiver in America and transmitting pictures over telephone lines from Baird’s laboratories in London, to Clapp’s house in Surrey and from there (where there was a powerful transmitter station), by wireless to the East Coast of the United States of America.

The archive is comprised of: Benjamin Clapp’s radio log books for the USA receiving station and his amateur radio station (GK2Z) used in the transmission, related paper ephemera, and a gramophone “Phonovision” disc (SWT515-4), containing an early video recording made on 20th September 1927. It is the only known Phonovision disc which depicts images of ‘Stookie Bill’, one of Baird’s famous ventriloquist dummies, and is the earliest Phonovision disc in existence, and thus the world’s earliest surviving video recording.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey took the decision to defer granting an export licence for the items following a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), administered by Arts Council England. The RCEWA made their recommendation on the grounds that the items are closely connected with our history and national life and that they are of outstanding significance for the study of the history of national and international television and for our wider understanding of twentieth century communications.

RCEWA Member Christopher Rowell said:

The Columbia disc and the notes connected with this world first of a transantlantic video recording represents British ingenuity and invention at the highest level. The notes contain the first ever use of the acronym ‘TV’ for television. The excitement of the achievement rests in these objects, which we hope will remain in this country as a permanent testament to Logie Baird and his team. Their departure abroad would also be a serious loss to scholarship.

The decision on the export licence application for the phonovision disc and ephemera will be deferred for a period ending on 28 September 2015 inclusive. This period may be extended until 28 December 2015 inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the items is made at the recommended price of £78,750.

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