Newsletter – January 2008

Introducing Historical Highlights

This winter we introduced Historical Highlights – a selection of historical information, maps and old documents representing the history of a building, presented as a printed montage for wall display. Available in a range of colours to suit different tastes and décor, Historical Highlights provide an attractive and easy to read summary of a property’s history for visitors and guests to enjoy.

Our first Historical Highlights was for a bar and restaurant in Tenbury Wells called Whites@The Clockhouse. As well as providing a focal point the display has prompted some their customers to recollect earlier occupants of the property and stories about its recent past to add to its history. For more information about Historical Highlights, see the Products page of our website.

A dream come true

It’s nice to make someone’s day – and even nicer to be told ‘you are amazingly clever’. Such was the response of one very satisfied client who asked me to find the plans of his house and its architect. Generally speaking this is a long shot for most domestic buildings; however one exception to this is church property because new buildings or alterations required diocesan approval and supporting documents were archived. Nevertheless even I was taken aback by the beautiful coloured plans that I tracked down, revealing floor plans and elevations of a vicarage built in 1909 with extensive accommodation, servants quarters, a day nursery, night nursery and a safe under the stairs. And yes, the architect’s name was included on the drawing.

Farming yesterday

Farms are fascinating to research. Usually situated at a distance from other properties, they are relatively easy to identify on old maps and, over a period of time the development of the farmhouse and farm buildings can be traced. Fields were named, some conjuring up bizarre or gruesome images: Tumpy Piece, Hanging Grove, Bloody Croft Orchard. Best of all though are the people. One farm I researched recently had formerly been owned by the same family for almost eighty years and my client had a collection of photographs depicting aspects of their life at the farm during the 20th century and some spirited anecdotes relating to the consumption of cider brewed on the premises. Another farm I researched had formerly been owned by Bryant & May who had grown 17 different kinds of poplar trees on the estate for the production of matches.

Tourism business events

This winter we were again invited to participate in a series of events organised by Quality at Heart for tourism businesses in Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and, Staffordshire. Quality at Heart provides support to West Midlands tourism businesses and their ‘business advice days’ offer opportunities for people working in the industry to find out about the latest legislation, what help is available and ideas for promoting their business. This last item is where we feature and our new Historical Highlights attracted a good deal of interest. We were also able to contribute to the planning of future similar events by offering our feedback on the quality of the coffee and the availability or otherwise of chocolate biscuits…

From the archives

For those of you who haven’t yet organised a diary for this year, here’s one that was announced in Berrows Worcester Journal on Thursday Dec 6, 1770 that you could consider:

‘This day is published price 1s:

The Ladies Most Elegant and Convenient Pocket Book for the year 1771

Containing, among the greatest variety of useful, ornamental and instructive articles, the following:

  • The necessary pages for engagements, memorandums and expenses
  • An address on female excellence
  • A list of the births, marriages and issues of all the Sovereign Crown Princes of Europe, including our own illustrious Royal Family
  • The favourite songs sung at the public gardens
  • Twenty-four country dances for 1771
  • The laws of whist and quadrille
  • The necessary rates of coachmen, chairmen, etc.

Compiled under the immediate inspection of the Right Hon Lady Dorothea du Bois’

For ‘pocket book’ read ‘pocket PC’ and you have the essential content of a Georgian PDA.

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