Change and Continuity in Maps of Norwich

Living in a vibrant, busy and ever-changing city like Norwich can distract us from noticing the changes around us. The streets we live on, the places we work, the pubs in which we drink (responsibly of course) have drastically changed through the centuries, or have they? By using several maps and town plans, that are easily accessible from the Norfolk Record Office, we can see just how our beloved city has changed. Continue reading

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Carrying Coals to King’s Lynn

Before I wrote off my last motorbike and became an ex-biker, I frequently enjoyed cruising on my Harleys along certain sections of the A47 and A10, where, to my fascination, my head seemed to be below the level of the river alongside. The waterway had obviously been straightened and embanked at some stage, and of course, I had heard of Cornelius Vermuyden, but I had no idea of the vastness of the project of which this was part until I researched in Hall Book (KLBA, KL/C 7/13), which covers the years 1731-81.

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From Victorian Corsetry to 50s fashions: The life of Annie Hardy

In a brown non-descript cardboard box in the Norfolk Record Office, I discovered the uncatalogued accumulated photos and papers of Annie Hardy (NRO, ACC 2001/120) . In 2001, these physical memories were handed in for preservation, and as the first person in 16 years to look at is contents, I wondered about the person they represented.Annie was born on 7th September 1871 in Norwich, Norfolk. Her Father, Henry, was 31 and her mother, Ann, 26. She had three brothers and five sisters, and died on 27th February 1962, exactly 16 years to the day before I was born.

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Portrait of Annie Hardy. NRO, ACC 2001/120

However, what interested me most in Annie, was that she was a women who straddled the Victorian and Modern era. The first photo, portrays a typical Victorian women: formal and held upright by her corset and starched collar. In the second, she enjoys a visit to the beach (Annie sits on the left next to her nephew), and again epitomises the formal Victorian women in her ankle length skirt, long sleeved jacket and large rimmed hat. Although her nephew has his shorts on, it is reassuring to note his jumper, and therefore, the Norfolk summer beach weather remains somewhat similar to that today.

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Annie and family members on the beach. NRO, ACC 2001/120

In other photos, we see the same Victorian women standing beside a 1950s bus, dressed in far more familiar clothing, and we can but wonder at the change she experienced during her life; not only in the changes to material culture, as shown by the clothes she wore, but also radical changes in attitudes towards women, and by women of themselves, and the environmental changes of living through two World Wars and post war Britain.

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Posing before a bus trip. NRO, ACC 2001/120

Born in 1871, during the reign of Queen Victoria, Annie started teaching aged 14 at St Peters Parmentergate, Wymondham, and remained in education until her retirement 56 years later as the Head Teacher at Barnham Broom school in 1927.

As a working class child (her father was a fitter and two of her sisters became draper assistants), Annie is likely to have benefited from the 1870 Education Act, which was the first piece of legislation to commit to the provision of a national education. She would also, have remained in education until she was at least 10 years old, due to the 1880 Education Act which made school attendance compulsory for children aged between 5-10 years old.

In 1888, Annie qualified as a pupil teacher in Religious Knowledge with the Diocese of Norwich, and aged 18, gained teaching qualifications in ‘Elementary Knowledge of Musical Memory in Time and Sight Singing’. Over the next 5 years, Annie continued to develop her teaching practice and gained qualifications including; ‘Hygiene’, and ‘Domestic Economy’, ‘Paper and Cardboard Work’, and ‘Practical and Solid Geometry’.

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One of Annie’s teaching certificates. NRO, ACC 2001/120

Aged 29, and earning £80 per year, she was appointed Head Teacher of Barnham Broom School where she remained for the next 27 years.

Within the documents were a number of Norfolk Education Board inspection reports which all spoke highly of Annie’s teaching and leadership. It is interesting to read the school inspection reports, showing that they haven’t changed all that much in the last 100 years; is the lesson teacher or pupil led?, is there an appropriate curriculum?, and is behaviour acceptable? A significant difference is the length of the inspection report!

 

Annie was obviously dedicated to her teaching and her students, and as an unmarried career women she didn’t fit the Victorian stereotype. Dying at the Norfolk and Norwich hospital in 1962 aged 90, she left the sum of £2,688 (approx. £40,000 today) to her nephew, having not had any of her own children. She also, left a legacy of Norfolk educated children, and a box at the Norfolk Record Office to be discovered 50+ years later by another Norfolk teacher.

Compiled by Melissa Marfleet, NRO Research Blogger

 

 

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Analysing documents as part of the Extended Project Qualification

In May 2019 we ran a session for pupils from Notre Dame High School as part of their Extended Project Qualification.

Part of the provision schools are required to provide for pupils taking an EPQ are 30 hours teaching, focusing on research, project management and other relevant skills. Which is where we come in. Many of the sessions we offer for both adults and pupils include using research skills.

The session at Notre Dame, was tailor made in consultation with the led teacher. During our correspondence it was suggested that we focus on OPVL analysis, looking at the Origin of source, Purpose for its creation, its Value for the historian and its Limitation based on the accuracy and reliability of the document. Staff initially talked thought these main areas and how they could be applied in researching archive material. Next the pupils were asked to put these skills to the test with a practical session in which they were asked to apply each of the areas to facsimiles of original documents. These documents were carefully chosen to be challenging and to encourage the pupils to work hard when analysing the usefulness of the material in carrying out research.

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Petition to Sir John Fenn, sheriff of Norfolk, 1791. NRO, COL 8/104/74

Finally, there was time for the pupils to think about how this could be applied to their own research.

If your pupils have the option of taking an EPQ and you would like our input or for us to run a session, please do contact us.

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Researching Norwich Road Workhouse: Norwich Primary Academy History Club

In early July we were joined by the members of Norwich Primary Academy History club as part of their special project looking at the history of Norwich Road Workhouse. The pupils had been researching the Haze family who were in the workhouse from 1877. The family included Rebecca Haze and her children Philip, Elizabeth, Robert, John and Rosanna.

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Extract from the Admission and Discharge Register of Norwich Road Workhouse. NRO, N/GP 2/5

The highlights of the trip to the Record Office were the tour of the building and the chance to see original documents containing the names of the Haze family themselves.

On the tour the pupils visited the Strongroom, to see where the documents are kept. They learnt why we keep the documents in cold conditions and had fun trying their hand at moving the mobile shelving units. They even got to spot our largest map on our map tree (over 4 metres in length!). After leaving the strongroom we headed for the box making room. Our technician Dylan explained how he programmes the measurements of each document into the computer, which then tells the machine which size box to make. This means that each document fits in the box perfectly. The pupils got a noisy demonstration of the machine in action.

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Looking at the maps in the Strongroom

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Seeing the box making machine in action

For the last part of the session the pupils studied a range of archives relating to the workhouse. These documents included plans from the early 1900s showing how the building was being extended and punishment books, showing how poor behaviour was dealt with within the workhouse. They also looked at admission and discharge registers enabling them to see when people first entered the workhouse, how long they were there and how frequently they returned. One of the documents on display incorporated two embossing dies: one with a raised image and one with a recessed image. The pupils learnt that the the manager of the workhouse used these to create a mark of authenticity on official paperwork. The dies would have been attached to a machine so that when paper was pressed between them, the raised die forced the paper into the recessed die, creating the impression. The pupils had a go at using a hand operated embossing tool machine to create an impression on their own piece of paper.

During this part of the session pupils had a go at using a microfilm reader to search through six admission and discharge registers, dating from 1867 to 1885. The pupils found this a challenging way to look at documents but were interested in how this technology was, and still is, used as a way of preserving the documents. They discovered that digital images aren’t always the best solution for copying documents, as people need to still be able to open the technology even when it is outdated. For example, not many people these days still have a floppy disk drive.

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Using a microfilm reader

However, the most exciting discovery was made on the register of births, which gave details of all the children born in the workhouse. Whilst looking at this document we noticed that Rebecca had another child, born in 1879, who didn’t appear on the census and therefore not discovered by the pupils during their previous research.

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Carrying out research into the original documents

The pupils returned to school to complete their research online and have created their very own website. After the session the teacher organising the project stated ‘Thank you so much for today’s workshop! Truly one of the best trips I’ve taken the children on. They were so engaged!’

If you would like to know more about the project in general, their findings, and their thoughts on the trip to the Record Office, please see https://sites.google.com/inspirationtrust.org/npahistoryclub/the-haze-family

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Francis Joseph Lambert: A Georgian Dancing Master of Norwich

Written by Christine Shackell.

Norwich’s economic prosperity in the eighteenth century gave rise to increasing numbers of middle ranks who sought to stake their claim to polite society by demonstrating their culture, knowledge and social skills. A network of institutions arose, such as the Assembly House, Theatre, Museums, schools and libraries which attracted such audiences. These genteel folk aspired to be both well mannered and well dressed in order to impress.

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“Old but quite fit for use” The Norfolk Survey of Schools 1903

The 1902 Education Act abolished the school board system and established Local Education Authorities (LEAs). Norfolk established LEAs for Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and Norfolk County Council (NCC). NCC, to aid this transition; carried out a survey of its county schools in 1903. This survey is held at the NRO.

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Planting the Seeds of Independence: The State of the American Colonies prior to 1776

Today marks 243 years since the signing of the ‘Declaration of Independence’, that illustrious document wherein the Thirteen Colonies asserted themselves as independent sovereign states that would no longer conform to the leadership of Great Britain. Since July 4th 1776 ‘Independence Day’ has retained a consistent significant influence over American history. Indeed, ideas of ‘freedom’, ‘liberty’ and ‘independence’ have become a fixed part of the American identity and feature prominently in popular forms of modern American media, be it box-office hits such as the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day or the recent 2015 Tony Award winning Broadway musical Hamilton.

With clear connections identified between American culture and ideas of independency, several questions begin to arise: Why did the Thirteen Colonies consider themselves to be a sovereign republic separate from the British monarchy that founded them? What sparked such vocal support for independency? But there is a document hidden away in the Norfolk Record Office that could help historians answer theses questions and enhance their understanding of the link between independency and American identity, entitled The State of the Colonies in North America and of the West India Islands (1773-1774) (NRO, WLS XVII/31).

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The State of the Colonies in North America and of the West India Islands (NRO, WLS XVII/31)

Listing noteworthy details such as the civil and military establishments of various British colonies, the document provides valuable first-hand accounts of the state of the Thirteen Colonies prior to 1776. Given that a considerable number of accounts are bound within the document, this blog will focus exclusively on governor Thomas Hutchinson’s description of the colony that arguably kick-started the American Revolution – Massachusetts.

It was at Massachusetts Bay where the famous Boston Tea Party protest commenced on December 16th 1773. Members of the Sons of Liberty high jacked ships belonging to the East India Company and threw vast quantities of tea into Boston Harbor, an act of protest against the newly introduced taxes passed by the British Parliament as part of the May 10th 1773 Tea Act. The event coined the commonly acknowledged motivation behind the American Revolution: ‘no taxation without representation’; the firm belief that the natural rights of colonists were undermined as a direct result of having to comply with financial policy being enforced by a foreign British government which the colonies received no voice to influence.

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Thomas Hutchinson’s account on state of Massachusetts in 1773.

While taxation legislation certainly played an influential role in invoking revolutionary ideas among the colonists, a close reading of Hutchinson’s account reveals interesting details about the management and maintenance of Massachusetts that would have seeded into the American desires for independence. Hutchinson notes that:

‘The governor [of each colony] is appointed by the Crown’.

Alongside being refused a voice in influencing fiscal policy, the colonists were not even able to decide who held authority to governed the overall administration of their colonies. Hence, a desire to gain electoral rights would have influenced American independency rhetoric. When identifying the official geographical boundaries of Massachusetts, Hutchinson also states that:

‘The bounds of the province are particularly described in the charter of King William and Queen Mary’.

Several noteworthy implications can be extracted from this seemingly basic statement. Not only was the management of Massachusetts based on principals established by a foreign monarch, the monarch that had introduced such boundaries had been dead for over 70 years. This detail would have fed into the mind-sets of those individuals seeking sovereignty as their freedom to expand was being restrict by the legacy of a foreign monarch which none of the current living colonists would have known directly. It was not only a lack of power to determine legislation and elect their own preferred governor that created a thirst for independence. By 1773, a brand-new generation of individuals occupied Massachusetts who had no personal recollection or experience of the foundations that their colony was built on. It is therefore only natural that feelings of individuality from Great Britain would manifest and develop into calls for independence as a substantial section of society felt they held no personal connection to a monarchy they had never met and a country they had never stepped foot on.

From this short close reading of several extracts from The State of the Colonies in North America and of the West India Islands (1773-1774), we have only just scratched the surface behind identifying how and why American colonists had developed a clear set belief of their own sovereignty from Great Britain by the year 1776. Taxation was not the sole motivation behind calls for independency and those interested in further enhancing their understanding of the ideas and history that have ultimately cemented a connection between American identity and independency may wish to consider viewing this document, located in the most unlikely of places.

Researched and compiled by Third Year UEA Student Volunteer, Anthony Maggs.

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