Thursday, 18 September 2014

Upcoming House History workshop at The Hive

"Who lives in a house like this?" was the question in Through the Keyhole, but a similar question is also asked by many people who wonder about the history of their house. On Saturday 4th October we'll be re-running a popular workshop to help guide you in how to trace the history of a house or building.

We'll look at the various sources we have here which can help, such as maps, photos, historic environment record, building plans, electoral registers, census and trade directories, and how to search the indexes and catalogues.

The workshop runs 10am-1pm on Saturday 4th October in The Hive, and costs £8. Booking is required, and you can do so by emailing, phoning 01905 766352 or visiting the Explore the Desk when it is open.

Upcoming Family History workshops at The Hive

At Worcestershire Archive Service September and October traditionally sees an increase in people coming in and asking staff for advice on how to begin tracing their family history. Therefore we are running our workshops again to help you make a start, or to help you get the most out of the resources we hold. Many key family history sources are held here, and we are experienced in helping people get started, so we are the ideal place to make a start.

There are different options, whether you just a one hour guide to the resources here, a 3 hour workshop on how to begin and the main sources and techniques, or whether you just want to focus on the Ancestry website. All workshops will take place at The Hive, Worcester. You can book for just one of these or more. If you would like to book please email or ring 01905 766352.

Starting Family History

Thu 9th Oct 10am-1pm or Sat 11th Oct 10am-1pm
Want to know how to begin tracing your ancestors and building your family tree? This workshop, will explain how to get started, key tips and the main sources you will need, including census and civil registration records, parish registers and wills.


Ancestry is one of the best family history websites, but how do you get started on it, how do you make the most of it, and what information is available? Our workshops focus on researching family history using the website and participants should already be familiar with computers and the internet.
All Ancestry workshops are £6 and must be booked in advance.

Starting Ancestry – The Census     Wed 8th Oct 2-4pm
Beginners guide to the website focusing on the census records, one of the most important sources for family historians.

Further Ancestry- Beyond the Census     Wed 15th Oct 2-4pm
Find out what else can be found on the website. This is a follow up to Starting Ancestry.

What's new on      Wed 22nd Oct 2-4pm
Ideal if you already use the website but want to keep up to date with sources that have been added over the past couple of years.

First steps in Family History

First Saturdays in Month 10am – 4th Oct, 1st Nov, 6th Dec
&  First Wednesdays 2pm – 1st Oct, 5th Nov, 3rd Dec
These 1 hour introductions will guide you round the most useful family history resources we hold on the Explore the Past floor and give you some tips on getting started. The sessions take up to 5 people and are £5 per person. Contact us to confirm dates and reserve your place. 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Treasures from Worcestershire's Past: ~42~ Bromsgrove People and Places

This week's 'Treasure' has been chosen by Justin Hughes, Project Officer, Outreach; with the second in a series of the stories we have recorded from our oral history projects which are available for loan or purchase at the Hive. This week he describes 'Bromsgrove People & Places':

WAAS has been commissioned by Bromsgrove District Council to deliver a number of community programmes for the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).  The THI is working closely with High Street retailers to refurbish priority shop fronts to celebrate the rich architectural styles which have adorned frontages of the main street for several centuries. WAAS has re-assessed the heritage of the buildings; we have coordinated a community excavation in St John St (click here for the report); and we are currently supporting the THI with the 'High Street parade' (a series of posters will be visible along a number of the streets historic shops from 11th to 26th September). This will be complemented by an exhibition at Bromsgrove Library.

Running alongside these archaeological explorations, we have completed an oral history project working with students from Bromsgrove School and with Bromsgrove Library. Fifteen hours of interviews were recorded with 19 local people who kindly gave us their reflections about the town and the High Street in particular, from the 1940s onwards. The major themes which arose, related to specific shops, cafes, pubs, cinemas, fairs, markets and to changes in the town brought about, for example, by pedestrianisation in the early 1980s.

An audio CD narrative of these stories 'Bromsgrove: People & Places', with the voices of Sam Adamson and Katie Leather, students at Bromsgrove School in 2013-14, will soon be available for purchase for £4.99 at Bromsgrove Library and it is also available for loan at the Hive.

Here are just a few of the stories:

Jo Collings – the pleasure of biscuits at John B Wilson's Click here to listen to the audio clip

Jean Sleigh - cosy fireplace at Morris' Click here to listen to the audio clip

Rosamund Bateman – delightful toy shop Click here to listen to the audio clip


Dorothy Tabberer & Robert Kendall – fast food & delicious faggots Click here to listen to the audio clip

Pete Lammas - at the Silver Grill Click here to listen to the audio clip

Phil Nokes – rehearsal for a date Click here to listen to the audio clip

Roy Gibson – the Roebuck alehouse Click here to listen to the audio clip

Friday, 5 September 2014

Treasures from Worcestershire's Past: ~41~ Before the Hive

This week's 'Treasure' has been chosen by Justin Hughes, Project Officer, Outreach, who has selected the first in a series of the stories we have recorded from our oral history projects which are available for loan or purchase at the Hive. Here, Justin tells us more:

Prior to the construction of the Hive, WAAS carried out full archaeological excavations of the site via a community project involving 90 local people who volunteered and received training throughout the 10 weeks of the community dig: click here for the community report. As a second phase we also interviewed people who have lived and worked in this area of the city and the edited story is encapsulated in an audio CD called 'Before the Hive. Below you can listen to a snapshot of 4 of the interviews, with Cyril Cale who worked as the cattle market foreman from 1930 to 1962, with Heather Stone whose father Reg, would often take her to the market as a treat in the 1960s, and with Elsie and Josie who lived in Netherton Lane in the late 1920s.


Elsie and Josie


The Roundhouse – Cyril describes the Roundhouse in the middle of the Cattle Market which housed the auctioneers’ offices. Cyril took on the job of winding the clock at the top of the clock tower. Sometimes he had to put a penny on the pendulum to get the right time.
Click here to listen to the audio clip.

The Ewe and Lamb – Cyril had to close the Cattle market at 5pm so he’d go over to the Ewe and Lamb to get the marketers out of the pub. He’d never go in, as he was a teetotaller, but would holler to the hauliers from the doorway to get the men to come out and move their wagons and stock so he could close up. 
Cattle Market – Heather describes being taken to the cattle market with her father. She used to walk around the wooden railings holding her father’s hand, and then have tea in a cabin on stilts. In the shed her father encouraged her to let the calves suck her fingers.
Netherton Lane – Twins, Elsie & Josie, moved to Netherton Lane aged 2. There were fourteen houses in the lane and 4 more up an alleyway. They describe the houses and the communal lavatory which had 3 adult holes and a children’s one.
Click here to listen to the audio clip.

The neighbourhood – The twins describe the area around Netherton Lane, firstly Mrs Carmichael’s garden, then the ‘Lane’ with the Corporation, Joseph Woods, the Almshouses and the Cattle Market.  

Please ask for more information relating to our oral histories at the Explore the Past desk and we will return later this year with other stories from 'Engineering the Past' in Redditch, 'People and Places' in Bromsgrove, and 'Generations Together' across Worcestershire.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Treasures from Worcestershire's Past: ~40~ A Court Roll from the Reign of Richard III

22 August 2014 is the 529th anniversary of the Battle Bosworth, where Richard III was killed.  It is also two years on from the discovery in Leicester of the remains later identified as those of the king, so we have decided to explore our collections to see what they could tell us about Worcestershire's experience during Richard III's reign.  Although the Archive Service holds nothing directly related to the king, we do have plenty of documents providing a glimpse into ordinary life in the late 15th century.

One example is a manor court roll from Kempsey, near Worcester, dating from 20th May, 1485, just a few months before Richard's death at Bosworth Field.

This is a typical medieval court roll, illustrating how the court could regulate life on the manor.  Courts Baron were held every three weeks, and dealt with land transactions, enforcement of the customs or rules which governed the manor, and disputes between tenants.  The functions of this court were combined with another type of court, the Court Leet or View of Frankpledge.  This was associated with a policing system in which groups of local men were responsible for overseeing the behaviour of group members and reporting infractions to the court.  This court also dealt with petty crime and those who fell foul of the regulations governing the price and quality of bread and ale. 

Below are a few examples of the proceedings of this court.

The roll tells us that a Thomas Forster took two 'wegges' (wedges or pegs) of iron from Thomas Herdman, and that Joan Forster took some rye and malt from the house of Thomas Pendesham.

Thomas Salter and Thomas Lee assaulted one another, and both were fined by the court.

We also hear that a Thomas Peres had recently died, and Joan his widow, after paying a heriot (tax payable to the lord of the manor on the death of a tenant), and paying fealty (swearing an oath of allegiance to the lord), was able to claim the property for the remainder of her life.  Interestingly, by the time of the court held on 13th July, Joan had found a new husband, one Richard Thomas, who paid ten shillings for a license to marry her—and share property she had recently claimed.

There seems to be little direct indication here of national conflict, discontent with Richard's rule or the encroaching threat of Henry Tudor, but manorial documents provide a wealth of information about the lives and deaths of people in Worcestershire.

Other sources for the history of late 15th-century Worcestershire held here include title deeds recording the transfer of land, bishop's registers and wills.

This document can be viewed in the Original Archive Area at The Hive by using reference b705:4/BA54B.