Tuesday 6 November 2012

Archive closure countdown

We've known it's been coming and now it's nearly here.  The Barnsley Local Studies and Archives on the top floor of the library is closing on 17th November - I spotted an official poster in Cudworth library yesterday.  That was the rumoured date that's been going around for the last couple of weeks, despite a well known local historian telling us differently.

So today I get to go and do transcribing upstairs for the last but one time.  GB and I were asked last week by GN (the librarian/archivist) if we would like to continue to help out - maybe today we'll find out if this plan is a goer.  She needed to find somewhere in the building to stash us ... I must admit if we do I hope they let me transcribe something a bit more radical than the 'red folders'.  Copying out someone else's mistakes is not my idea of fun. 

Just so you know what I'm having a go about ... usually transciption would consist of reading an old document and making an copy of its content in another form, that is, these days, as an electronic document of some kind.  Then the copy can be used by visitors to the library rather than the delicate and/or valuable and/or hard to read original.  However, due to the archives being in a 'bit of a muddle' at the moment they can't find any more original non-conformist (Methodist, Independent, etc) registers for me to transcribe so they've set me on copying out some old typewritten transcriptions.  Yes, OK, this will make them electronically searchable, but I've already spotted mistakes, such as a child being supposedly born a couple of days AFTER its baptism and missing parts of dates making the data pretty worthless ... an example entry is 31 1806 - so what month is that then?

Since GB and I started there in the early summer I've done:
  1. the baptisms of the Barnsley Heelis Street chapel 1883-1967,
  2. a Barnsley Tithe Rental book from 1801,
  3. Ardsley Methodist New Connection baptisms 1868-1991 and
  4. Worsborough Common chapel baptisms 1874-1891. 
That last caused a furore I can tell you!  According to the Access to Archives website there should be 6 volumes of baptisms from 1874 to 1993, can they find any but the first?  Nope.  Last week I worked out that a volume of baptisms from the Worsborough (the second 'o' is optional incidently - if a search doesn't work with it try Worsbrough instead) Common United Methodist chapel that someone else had transcribed was probably one of the missing volumes, the young archive lads M, D and M didn't know that there was only one chapel in Worsborough so hadn't spotted the co-incidence.  I've been pouring over the old maps and the chapel in Chapel Square is the only one - and on later maps it is referred to as United Methodist.

1889 map of Worsborough Common from Old Maps, showing the chapel at the bottom

In 1889 the chapel is shown as Meth Chapel (Primitive) (seats for 100).  It lies at the northern end of Chapel Square near the top of the hill at Worsborough Common.

1931 map of Worsborough Common from Old Maps
By the 1931 map the chapel is shown as U.M. Church.  There is very little left to identify of the old Worsborough Common now.  The rows of back to backs lower down High Stone Road were replaced by council bungalows.  The Vine Tavern pub was pulled down in the last ten years, the area of Chapel Square is now the top of the much wider Warren Quarry Lane, the school has gone, even the row of shops that were built opposite the pub in the 1950s have been flattened.  There's an elderly people's complex on the recreation ground, the of the other pubs another was boarded up and may also be flat by now.  Only the church remains as a landmark at the top of the hill.

Worsborough Common from Google Maps, the grass on the left is where the Vine was, the wall on the right is the edge of the church yard.  Wider road and modern flats where Chapel Square was.
So maybe when the move to the new Archives in Barnsley Town Hall has been completed the missing baptism registers will be found - I do hope so.  GB and I have mutual ancestors (OK, so mine are the OH's, but I still care!) from Worsborough Common and we are hoping some of them appear in the records. 

Oh and a picture of the chapel would be nice - there doesn't seem to be one of those in the Archives either.

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