3878/5 Detail from the cover of a school magazine from Burderop Park Training College
Since our last acquisitions update the shelves of our archives have continued to swell with new archives. Here is a brief overview of just a few of the new collections deposited between July and September.
Burderop Emergency Training College was established in Chiseldon in1946 by the County Council’s Education Committee. This was one of a number of colleges providing one-year teacher training courses principally to ex-service personnel (exclusively men) to address the shortfall in teachers following the Second World War. Burderop had the capacity to train over 200 men a year. The college proved highly effective, and the principal’s files detail the names of many students and the posts they were subsequently appointed to. As with all Emergency Training Colleges, Burdeop was comparatively short-lived, closing its’ doors in 1950. Nonetheless their archive (collection reference 3678) gives us a vivid account of their activities through a series of Principal’s Reports, college magazines and newspaper articles. The collection also includes programmes from open days, and from the college’s Dramatic Society. There is even the typescript from a broadcast on Norwegian radio, plus group photographs of students and staff.
The Wilton Floral Society (collection reference 3678C) was established in 1969 as a breakaway group from the successful Salisbury Floral Arrangement Society, enabling members to meet closer to home. The group was set up by the then Mayoress of Wilton Irene Hudson, and Lady Pembroke of Wilton House agreed to be their President. The society took part in a series of instruction workshops, not just on flower arranging but also related skills such as creating corn dollies. Their scrapbooks contain many of their prize certificates as well as local newspaper articles featuring their displays. The collection also includes photograph albums focusing on two of their major projects; In September 1986 the Society held a Harvest Flower Festival at the redundant Church of St Mary, in aid of the Wilton Church Appeal. The second album concerns their displays at St Peter’s Church, Fugglestone. This album is undated (perhaps mid-1980s) and includes details of which members were responsible for each display.
The North Wiltshire Centre of the National Trust was established in 1971 to arrange lectures and visits for members, as well as working to recruit new members for the Trust at a local level. One of its earliest projects was to fundraise for restoration work at Lacock Abbey. The group later spread geographically to become the North and West Wiltshire National Trust Association. Their archive (reference 3678B) includes meeting minutes and correspondence which document their range of activities. The accompanying series of newsletters are also of interest to local historians as they collate updates on local Trust projects, such as landscaping and property conservation.
Our considerable collection from Devizes Town Council has been further enhanced with a broad range of papers. One file details the redevelopment of the Brittox area of the town in the 1980s (3332/68). Elsewhere there’s a programme from an event to mark the presentation of New Colours to the Wiltshire Regiment in Bangalore in 1939 (3332/71). There are also files on a series of events giving the Freedom of the Borough of Devizes to various former mayors, councillors and local worthies. These files provide biographical information on each honouree as well as highlighting the research and consideration given to the festivities, such as invitees, speeches and ceremonial gifts (3332/72-76).
In July we received a substantial addition to our collection of records of the Freemason Lodge of Friendship and Unity 1271, Bradford-on-Avon (reference 2592a). This accrual consists of over a hundred years of meeting minutes (1884-2017) and financial and membership ledgers (1869-1988), plus administration files (1920s-2010) and ceremonial certificates. This collection complements our other freemasons collections from lodges across the county. As well as providing much information on the activities of the lodge, the collection also includes a file of historical notes on masonic ceremonies and rituals.
We have also recently received a single ledger relating to Slade's Brewery, which was located on Union St here in Chippenham. The ledger (reference 3571B) is a beer and mineral day book, covering the years 1924 to 1926. It records of the names of pubs supplied by Slade’s and the names of licensees, and as such supplies the researcher with much local information.
The West Lavington branch of the British Legion have deposited a set of their minutes and accounts covering the dates 1953 to 2009 (collection reference 3558D). The minutes record the various good works undertaken by the group, such as visiting the sick and allocating funds to those in need. The collection complements numerous other British Legion collections deposited here from across the county.
Swindon Borough Council’s Highway Record Department have donated a series of ledgers concerning the apportionment of the cost of making up private streets. These 5 volumes list the owners of properties on each street and the monies they contributed to upgrade their road. In many cases these improvements led to the street becoming a designated highway. The volumes (reference numbers G24/701/287 to G24/701/291) cover the years 1895 to 1972. Our collection of poor law records for the county has been enhanced by the acquisition of three out-door relief lists covering the parishes of Collingbourne and Netheravon, part of Pewsey Union. These volumes (reference H13/170/1H) cover 1905 and 1906, and record the names of individuals receiving relief from the parish (referred to as ‘paupers’) plus the amounts paid each week. Similarly we have received a parochial poor rate valuation book for the parish of Enford, which was also part of the Pewsey Union. This volume (H13/130/2B) is broad in scope, covering the period 1891 to 1914. It was used to record the name of the owner and occupier for each property or area of land plus its rateable value, and an estimate of its size. These additions are therefore useful tools not just for family historians, but also those interested in the history of these parishes. It is heartening that such acquisitions come our way over a hundred years since they ceased to serve their original purpose.
The Devizes and District U3A group have undertaken interesting research at Lacock Abbey, and kindly deposited their results with us (2664/2/2E/9). This includes biographies of each of the owners of the abbey from Ela, Countess of Salisbury in the Thirteenth Century up to the present ownership by the National Trust. There is also a file of research on Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Domestic Matters, wherein the group have uncovered many recipes and remedies from the Abbey archives. These recipes are mainly herb-based but also include liberal use of alcohol. These certainly sound more palatable than those involving worms, snails or soot from the stove. The same U3A group has also undertaken further research at Lacock Abbey, in conjunction with the National Trust. This time their efforts were focused on the Abbey’s grotto, waterway and old water gardens. The resulting reports and correspondence can be found under reference 2664/2/2H/9.
We have also received a second deposit of records regarding the noted architect Robert Townsend (collection reference 2806). This furthers our collection of company correspondence, architectural plans and project specifications. Townsend’s design skills were utilised in domestic, industrial and ecclesiastical buildings in Wiltshire and beyond. The collection also includes a scrapbook containing images from newspaper cuttings, photographs and postcards considered of interest by Townsend. Interestingly, this volume reuses a school register for 1918/19, and pupils’ progress reports are still visible on certain pages. Sadly its impossible to know which school the register came from, but we would love to find out. No acquisitions update would be complete without mention of the Women’s Institute, and yet again different groups have generously deposited their records here at the History Centre. The WIs of Christian Malford and Foxham (3467B), Broad Town (1742B) and Boxlea (3707A) have each contributed new accruals. These collections typically contain a range of meeting minutes and record books, plus programmes or scrapbooks from their numerous events. Similarly we have received numerous accruals to our collection of parish records. The parish councils of Maiden Bradley (4167), Hornhinsham (4168), Worton (4349), Potterne (3041), Castel Combe (1642), Christian Malford (4422), Southwick (1375) and Chute (4464) have all made new deposits with us.
This is just a selection of our new arrivals. As always, we are grateful to all our donors for adding their collections to our archives. Further details of these and the rest of our holdings can be found on our archive catalogue. The collections themselves are available to browse in our reading room.
Alongside our council, ecclesiastical and business archives, the History Centre also houses many collections created by individual people. These may be the holders of public office within their locale, or notable for achievements in their chosen field. We recently acquired one such personal archive, a single volume heavy leather-bound scrapbook compiled by the Reverend Sidney Meade (born Oct 1839, died Mar 1917). The scrapbook covers the years 1856 to 1914, and contains documents relating to both local and national events. The scrapbook has been given the archival reference number 1405A.
Sidney trained for the church and took his first curacy at St Mary’s Church, Reading. Between 1869 and 1882 he served as Curate for the parish of St Mary the Virgin in Wylye, and subsequently moved to the curacy of Christ Church, Bradford-on-Avon. Documents in the scrapbook tell us that Sidney was also a Canon of Salisbury Cathedral and a Justice of the Peace.
Sidney Meade was born into the nobility. He was the third and youngest son of Richard Meade, the third Earl of Clanwilliam, a prominent diplomat who became Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the Earl of Liverpool’s government. Sidney’s mother was Lady Elizabeth Herbert, daughter of the 11th Earl of Pembroke. His brother Richard (who inherited his father’s title in 1879) was by 1880 commander of the naval Flying Squadron, with his flag in the frigate HMS Inconstant. A cutting of this date gives us details of the ship’s construction and a list of the names of officers and men serving under him. Sidney also obtained a document from the Admiralty which details the Proposed Route of the Detached Squadron under Richard’s command, with the estimated speed and days at sea for each leg of the journey. A banquet seating plan of 1891 names Richard as Admiral of the Fleet, sat at the head of the high table alongside the future George V. Similarly, we can chart the career of Sidney’s brother Robert, who served as Head of the Colonial Office between 1892 and 1897, and at the time of his death the following year was the Permanent Under-Secretary for the Colonies.
Perhaps as a result of his family’s achievements, Sidney had a keen interest in national and international politics, which is reflected in his choice of documents in this volume. On one page, we find a vivid newspaper account of a Conservative Party fete held at Hedsor Park, near Maidenhead, and nearby, cartoons lampooning William Gladstone and Randolph Churchill. There is also a detailed diary of the war in South Africa printed in a newspaper from 1900, plus a copy of a newspaper letter Sidney himself wrote to the Salisbury and Winchester Journal in 1877 to campaign for the Russian Sick and Wounded Fund. One of our favourite documents is the poster notice of a forthcoming Peace Festival to mark the end of the Crimean War in 1856. The list of rural games which took place at Green Croft, Salisbury seem bizarre to modern audiences – climbing a greasy pole for a new hat and a leg of mutton, or the odd-sounding “jingling for a prize”.
Sidney’s family also often appeared in the society pages, which in themselves are rich with contextual detail. A newspaper account of the marriage of Sidney’s daughter Constance to Lieutenant-Colonel Sitwell of the Fifth Fusiliers regiment in 1902 includes a full list of the wedding gifts. These items vary from a diamond and ruby ring and ostrich feather and tortoiseshell fan from the groom, to a Chippendale looking-glass and a carved ivory Japanese umbrella handle from friends. This list gives us a wealth of detail of the family’s social circle and fashions in ornamental gifts at this time, and includes the intriguing information that the gifts of the Earl and Countess of Clanwilliam included a diamond spray of flowers which originally belonged to Queen Anne.