Staffordshire Archives and Heritage

Previously, we have discussed the collections from Keele University that the UOSH Midlands hub has worked with. These have given us a glimpse into the history of Staffordshire. In today’s post, by Elizabeth Gray, we explore the region further by examining collections from Staffordshire Archives and Heritage. 

Staffordshire Archives and Heritage was established in 2012 to manage both the Archive Service and the Staffordshire County Museum Service, and is responsible for the preservation and promotion of archival material relating to life in both Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. The UOSH Midlands team worked with several oral history collections covering a wide range of topics and time periods. Two of the highlights are the Case Histories Project and the Staffordshire Domestic and Rural Life collection, which we will explore in more detail below. 

A photo of the exterior of Staffordshire Record Office
Staffordshire Record Office (Credit: Robin Stott CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Case Histories Project consists of interviews undertaken with people who moved to Staffordshire from outside the United Kingdom in the 1960s. The interviews were recorded in 1999 and recount individuals’ experiences of immigration and community life. The interviewees emigrated from countries including Mauritius, Malaysia, and India, and their stories offer an important perspective that is not present in the majority of the other collections from the region which focus on the traditional white, rural community. 

A photo of cassette boxes from the case Histories Collection.
Cassettes from the Case Histories project.

The Staffordshire Domestic and Rural Life collection focuses on reminiscences of everyday life in the county. What is significant about this collection is the extensive time period it covers, as the interviews were recorded between the 1960s and 2000s. Due to this, the interviews explore rural life in Staffordshire throughout the late 19th and the 20th century. All aspects of life are covered including childhood, employment, and leisure, enabling listeners to have a thorough understanding of the county’s social history. 

Mill Dale, Staffordshire 1930s (Credit: UK Photo and Social History Archive)

The other collections from Staffordshire Archives and Heritage the UOSH Midlands hub worked with were: 

  • BBC Radio Stoke ‘Speaking Up’ Broadcasts – a series of programmes produced by BBC Radio Stoke between 1980 and 1983 where Staffordshire children discuss a number of topics. 
  • Biddulph East Oral History Project – recordings of interviews with Biddulph residents undertaken by local school children in 2003. 
  • Birth Rights Oral History Project – recordings of oral history interviews with midwives, health visitors, and nurses undertaken in 2000. 
  • Cheddleton Flint Mill Oral History Archive – oral history interviews recalling memories of working at Cheddleton Flint Mill during the early 20th century, recorded in 1998. 
  • Christchurch Primary School Reminiscences – recording of a history reminiscence session undertaken at Christchurch Primary School, Stone between current and former pupils in 2004. 
  • Lasting Impressions’ Stafford Shoemaking Oral History Project – oral history interviews recalling Stafford’s shoe manufacturing industry, undertaken in 2006. 
  • ‘Pastures New’ Oral History Project – oral history interviews exploring agricultural and rural life in Staffordshire, recorded in 2003. 
  • Shire Hall Courts Oral History Archive – oral history interviews with former employees of the county courtrooms at Shire Hall undertaken in 2004.  
  • Shugborough Estate Oral History Archive – oral history interviews exploring life on the Shugborough Estate undertaken with former employees and farm tenants between 1996 and 2008. 
  • ‘Voices from the Edge’ Oral History Project – oral history interviews discussing life in the rural communities of Alstonefield, Audley, and Tutbury, recorded between 2007 and 2008. 
  • Walhouse School Oral History Archive – oral history interviews undertaken with former pupils and teachers from the Walhouse School, Cannock, recorded in 2004 before its amalgamation into St Luke’s Primary School. 

If you are interested in finding out more about Staffordshire Archives and Heritage visit their website. You can also use the British Library SAMI catalogue to explore the sound collections further. 

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Colin Hyde

About Colin Hyde

Colin Hyde is the manager of the Midlands hub for the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project, based in Special Collections at the University of Leicester.

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