VCH volunteers recording and photographing a parish church


Archive Service

A small research group formed at the Staffordshire Record Office under the guidance of Matthew Blake, Participation and Engagement Officer, has built up expertise in the history of mainly rural settlements in the county, particularly in the interpretation of the landscape using maps and other original sources. The group has done excellent work in connection with village ‘road shows’ organised by the Archive Service, recently at Clifton Campville and Gnosall, and some if its findings have been mounted on the VCH Explore website. The group is now spending time on the area to be covered by the next VCH volume: Tamworth and its hinterland.

Some existing historical research skills are an advantage for joining this group, which meets on a regular basis on Fridays. For more information please contact: Matthew Blake (matthew.blake@staffordshire.gov.uk)

Poor Law Correspondence

As part of a project supported by the British Association for Local History and the Heritage Lottery Fund (West Midlands), a group in the north of the county is now reading and making detailed catalogue entries (from digital images) of the voluminous correspondence between the central Poor Law Commissioners and the guardians of two unions in North Staffordshire. This fascinating correspondence, full of local detail, is at present buried in uncatalogued volumes in the National Archives (class MH 12). Stage I of the project ended in the 1850s, and Stage II will take the work up to the early 1870s.

For further details contact the project manager:

Natalie Whistance (nataliewhistance1834@hotmail.co.uk)


Of special need for the next volume on Tamworth are high-quality photographic images of buildings for illustration in the printed book (i.e. better quality than can be taken with just a digital camera).

The county’s own website is also in need of development and maintenance, in order to publicise the work of the VCH, both past and present. One new feature might be a regular item relating to a place or building treated in a published VCH volume (image with text), in order to show how much work has already been done and to encourage readers to consult the printed volumes.

In order to sustain work in the county beyond the next few years it will be necessary to raise more funds and help in this respect is also needed. The money would be used for paying specialist authors and investigators, purchasing historic images, and paying for travel to out-county archives.

For more information please contact the County Editor, Dr Nigel Tringham (n.j.tringham@keele.ac.uk).


There is a particular need for helping the Staffordshire Record Society maintain and increase its membership across the county and beyond. The Society manages to publish volumes regularly but the falling away and death of members is a matter of concern, and a Membership Secretary could help reverse this trend. The Society also has its own website (http://www.s-h-c.org.uk/) which would benefit from more activity. For more information please contact the General Editor, Dr Nigel Tringham (n.j.tringham@keele.ac.uk).