Derbyshire Record Office

In the penultimate post in this series exploring the different Midlands collection holders involved in the UOSH project, Elizabeth Gray examines the first of two institutions based in the county of Derbyshire. Derbyshire Record Office was one of the larger collection holders the UOSH Midlands team worked with, providing us with over 20 different collections of varying sizes. 

A photo of the exterior of Derbyshire Record Office.
Derbyshire Record Office © Quest Media Network

One of the highlights from the Record Office is the Derbyshire Dialect collection, a series of recordings highlighting the Derbyshire accent and local dialect. The recordings includes performances of sketches and folk songs, and oral history interviews with local residents from the county. Previous posts have highlighted dialect focused collections from other collection holders, such as Shropshire Archives, and Keele University. It would definitely be interesting to compare the recordings and see the diversity of dialects across the Midland counties! 

Examples of the Derbyshire dialect are also present in the Derbyshire Oral History Project collection. This collection includes 23 oral history interviews undertaken with residents of Derbyshire between 1980 and 1985. The interviews discuss a range of topics including: education, employment, and life during the two World Wars. 

The Delph, Eyam, Derbyshire c.1900 © UK Photo And Social History Archive

Another highlight are the recollections of George Sherriff, a Romani from Derbyshire, recorded in 1996. Sherriff discusses his life and the traveller communities in both Derbyshire and in Leicester, where he relocated to. The Romani community is not often represented in archives and museums, and hence this recording is an important addition to the archival record.

A photo of Romani people sitting around a caravan.
People from the Derbyshire Romani community (Reproduced by courtesy of the Robert Dawson Romany Collection)

The other collections from Derbyshire Record Office that the Midlands hub worked with were: 

  • Norman Gratton of Tideswell- recording of an interview undertaken in 1974 with Norman Gratton, Councillor, Alderman, and founding member of the West Derbyshire Labour Party. 
  • Norman Gratton In Conversation with Cliff Tucker- recording discussing the life and political career of Norman Gratton following his death in 1982. Includes a pre-recorded interview undertaken in 1975 between Gratton and Cliff Tucker. 
  • Derbyshire Museum Service Oral History Archive- oral history interviews undertaken with residents of Derbyshire between 1970 and 1981. Interviewees recall memories of life in the county during the early 20th century. 
  • BBC Radio Derby- recordings of programmes from BBC Radio Derby broadcast during the 1970s and 1980s. 
  • Ashton on Trent Parish Council Civic Service- recordings from the first and second civic services of Aston on Trent Parish Council in 1966 and 1967. 
  • Low Sunday in Winshill- recording of the Low Sunday service at St Mark’s Church, Winshill, copied from the original ferrograph record. 
  • Walter Green BBC Interview- copy of a recording made for the BBC of an interview with Walter Green of Bamford, founder of the Bamford sheep dog trials. 
  • Marjorie Blount- recordings of radio broadcasts from the 1960s featuring writer Marjorie Blount reading her articles on local history. The articles were originally published in ‘The Derbyshire Countryside’ magazine. 
  • Holmesfield Parish Council- recordings of the programme ‘Our Village: Holmesfield in 1958’, illustrating life in the village through interviews with local residents and music. 
  • Mrs W Shepherd Life Story- recording of an oral history interview with Mrs Hilda Shepherd recalling her childhood in Holloway, Derbyshire. 
  • History of Joseph Bourne and Son Ltd. by J.C. Dale- recordings discussing the history of the pottery company Joseph Bourne and Son Ltd., now known as Denby Pottery, made in 1979. 
  • Western on Trent Local History Society- recordings of oral history interviews featuring reminiscences of village life, conducted by the Weston on Trent History Society between the 1980s and 1990s. 
  • Matlock Bath Holy Trinity Primary School- Hot Stuff! – recordings of songs performed by pupils of Matlock Bath Holy Trinity Primary School for the album ‘Hot Stuff’, which was produced in 1989. 
  • Mr Ghent of Aldwark- recording of an interview with Mr Ghent, undertaken in 1982, discussing the Methodist chapel in Aldwark. 
  • Memories of Stanton by Dale- reading of ‘Memories of Life in a Derbyshire Village- Stanton by Dale’ by Julia Saville, recorded in 1980. 
  • Longstone Local History Group- recordings of oral history interviews conducted with local residents of Great Longstone and Hassop in the 1990s, discussing village life. 
  • Eyam Oral History Group – recordings of oral history interviews conducted with residents of Eyam in the 1997, discussing life in the village. 
  • Lilian Yates Harlow Glossop Reminiscences- Lilian Yates Harlow’s memories of her childhood and life in Glossop, recorded in 1992. 
  • Edwina Currie and the Toyota Plant- recording of an interview with Edwina Currie MP regarding the Toyota car assembly plant at Burnaston, broadcast on BBC Radio Derby in 1989. 
  • Winster Oral History Project- recordings of oral history interviews conducted with local residents of Winster between 1997 and 1998, discussing memories of life in the village. 
  • Derby Sketching Club- recording of an interview undertaken with members of Derby Sketching Club discussing the club’s history and activities, broadcast on BBC Radio Derby. 
  • Stonebroom Remembered- recording of an oral history interview conducted with a local Stonebroom resident in 2001, discussing village life during the 1930s. 
  • Restoration of Heage Windmill- recordings of extracts from BBC Radio Derby broadcasts in 1997 and 1998, discussing the Heage Windmill restoration project and its award of Heritage Lottery Funding. 
  • Derbyshire and Bishop Lonsdale College- recordings of a religious service held at Bishop Lonsdale in 1977, and a carol service held at Derbyshire College of Education in 1983. 
  • Hannah Maria Mitchell- recordings of interviews undertaken with family members of the Derbyshire born suffragette and socialist Hannah Maria Mitchell. 
  • Riddings Story- documentary narrating the history of the village of Riddings through music, interviews, and acted excerpts, recorded in 1978. 

For more information about Derbyshire Record Office 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 currently managing the Sounds for the Future project, which is based in Special Collections. He has run the East Midlands Oral History Archive for many years.

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