Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Help Save the Hulton Archive

The Friends of Lancashire Archives need assistance to help save the valuable Hulton Archive.
The major archive of the Hulton family near Bolton was deposited at the Lancashire Record Office in 1943 for safekeeping. It is a well catalogued and preserved family and estate archive of local and national significance.
The current owner of the Hulton Archive wishes to sell it and the Friends of Lancashire Archives aim to raise the £95,000 purchase price by the end of November 2014 see Friends of Lancashire Archives appeal.
The ways in which you can support the appeal are here.
I hope that the appeal which I support will succeed in retaining the archive in Lancashire where in the 70 years of conservation and preservation effort lancashire County Council have worked well to keep the Archive in Lancashire.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Darwin Wild Pursuits Around Downe

On 17 September 1842 Charles Darwin and his pregnant wife moved into Down House and resided in the village until his death.
To coincide with the date author Ewa Prokop publishes Darwin's Wild Pursuits around Downe; 14 short stories each based on a conversation between Darwin and an animal. For further detail on Ewa's book read the mad about Charles Darwin blog
Ewa has previously written about Downe in Shropshire and Downe:Two Landscapes Darwin held Dear Amazon page and spent 18 years living in the village and serving as a conservation officer involved in the world heritage site bids in 2007 and 2010. I enjoyed Ewa's earlier work and although her new book is imed at a younger readership value her local knowledge of the village.
My Downe parish register transcripts are online at Kent Online Parish Clerks  Downe page. The delayed Baptismal register from 1812 will be published in future. I had hoped that this register would receive the support of Family Search but they withdrew from a cooperative Indexing agreement and I have now reworked material.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Kent Online Parish Clerks Bromley page

The concept of a single page for all parishes in Bromley Kent and transcripts for all registers is simple to say but has involved a great deal of effort to achieve.
Complete transcripts for Bromley Holy Trinity were completed in 2013 and as I begin proof reading the marriage registers for the last years of the nineteenth century in September 2014 the transcripts for Saints Peter and Saint Paul from 1558-1900's are on target to be completed by December 2014.
In addition the rare 1801 census and the growing "other records" links to the practice prescription and accounts ledger of Doctor Thomas Ilott 1809-1814 followed by the index to Doctor Ilott's day book of visits and consultations into the 1830's will be added in the year ahead.
I am about to begin to transcribe the Dunn and Company Funeral Directors Accounts ledgers from the early 1800s onwards.
Other parishes formed from the Ancient parish will then be transcribed and added.
Over time the Bromley page Kent Online Parish Clerks Bromley will offer researchers a comprehensive series of records from the early history of the town and parish to the twentieth century.
I echo the expression of the rumbustious actor Brian Blessed who said "You can feel them. It starts sinking into your DNA molecules.You can feel them growing within you". I believe that feeling is common to many who research their own family members but it certainly has been my experience as I have tried to decipher the witness signatures on marriage register entries or read other register volumes.
I am grateful to the staff at Bromley Archives and Local Studies Library for their support in undertaking work on dozens of volumes of registers and other records to produce the transcripts available online to a worldwide audience.
Now in my 45th year of transcribing records I am grateful to achieve this collection and receive emails from so many research organisations.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Prescription:Orange peas

As I complete the transcription of the prescription ledger of Doctor Thomas Ilott I came upon a Hayes Kent household where for several months alongside other treatments Orange Peas are prescribed.
Ilott was both an Apothecary and Surgeon and treats the unidentified "Miss" for most of 1810 in a number of visits.
When this blog first appeared I was contacted by someone who informed me that local pea growing included an old heritage seed variety of local pea which could be made into a soup or broth similar to lentils. They also offered to provide further information which did not arrive;nor has any response been forthcoming on subsequent enquiry. I have now discounted their suggestion.
The original and tantalising find lead me to question what medicinal prpoerties were in mind when this repeated prescription was made in 1810  along with other treatments?
I am indebted to Carol Westway Librarian at the Lindley Library of the Royal Horticultural Society for providing partial answers to these questions.
We are in 1810 referring to Citrus aurantium which is described in the Lexicon Pharmacetium as The Seville Orange Tree here. There is also an entry in the 1846 A Cyclopedia of Domestic Medicine and Surgery about the Seville Orange Tree here.
Carol also points that a modern title in the RHS Lindley Library Medicinal Plants of the World by Ben-Erik van Wyk (2004) says that parts of the Citrus aurantium (including fruits) come under the therapeutic category of  "appetite stimulant,aromatic,stomachic" and this appears to match other items prescribed by Ilott.
There remains no precise knowledge of the condition that Ilott was treating from entries in the ledger although each item is priced if supplied or prepared. There is also a puzzle as this female "Miss" (which Ilott applies to females 8 years and up in 1142 accounts)  is unique in having such a prescription.
Certainly the description of the phrase Orange Pea contained in one recent publication  referring to Orange Peas with an Oxford English Dictionary earliest reference in 1857 provides evidence that the knowledge of therapeutic or medicinal properties was not common and suggests that Ilott was using skills he had acquired in training to treat the young Hayes woman.