It’s now been over a year since some of our volunteers first started and a lot has been achieved in that time. Richard has been with us for nearly the entire length of the project, and is likely to finish working on the leases in the next few weeks. He has so far examined substantially over 150 documents for us!
Meanwhile Ann has finished the Burton mill accounts and has started on the Stafford mill accounts. The handwriting is much worse in the Stafford accounts, but she’s focusing on the sales of grain (which are more readable than the expenses). From the accounts from Burton-upon-Trent that Ann has transcribed, Helen has been able to reconstruct the volumes and prices of grain sold every week for five years.
Helen recently attended a gathering for researchers interested in histories of rivers, which included speakers on the subjects of watery place-names, reconstructing chronologies of flood events from sediment, weirs, river transport and many other topics.
Alice’s volunteers, meanwhile, have collected the equivalent of over 45 years worth of daily weather recording. In the next few months, we hope to fill in some of the gaps, where possible.
We expect the volunteer project to end in September 2018, by which time we will hopefully have looked at pretty much everything the Staffordshire Record Office has to offer in terms of early weather recording and mills documentation!
We have just had our annual progress review interviews and conference at Liverpool. We have an exciting summer of conference presentations and attendance planned; we will be giving a talk about the project to a gathering of water historians in Newcastle in June, Alice is talking at the International Conference of Human Geographers in Poland in July, and we will be finishing of the summer by both presenting (separately this time) in a historical geography work in progress session at the Royal Geographic Society’s conference in August.
As ever, please contact us if you’d like to know more about the project, or would like to join our volunteer group for the last few months of the project.