A Lymington gentleman’s shopping

What do the contents of your shopping basket (physical or digital) say about you? They are probably quite revealing about your tastes and your daily life. Just occasionally, we see a glimpse of day-to-day lives of previous generations thanks to the survival of a series of household bills, and one particularly interesting set held at Hampshire Record Office was preserved by Thomas J D Rawlins of Lymington, between 1905 and 1915 (73M81), each year’s bills being originally kept on a metal spike. In this post I will focus on a single year, 1907, to investigate what the Rawlins family was buying 110 years ago.

Bill fan shot Continue reading “A Lymington gentleman’s shopping”

Africa to Cuba and Africa again!

“On the 20th of the 7th month; a party of Negroes, consisting of 14 men, 12 women and 22 children (including one youth  of 18), arrived by the steamer from London, and were located in the inner Court of our old workhouse; having reached Plymouth too late for the Packet by which they had hoped to proceed to Lagos.  It was afterwards ascertained that they were self-emancipated Slaves from Havan[n]a on their way back to their mother country.” Continue reading “Africa to Cuba and Africa again!”

Meeting Austin and Gladys: The work of our external digitisation service

Hampshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) has provided a digitisation service for external clients since 2013.

One of our first very significant commissions was from the Austin 7 Clubs’ Association.  The added value we could provide was behind our selection for this commission. During the first contact from the group, we identified that, as well as digitisation, the group was looking for other support with its archive. We run regular Archive Ambassadors workshops, mentioned in another blog and, as a result of our making that connection, a delegation from the Association came along to one of these workshops to find out more. Continue reading “Meeting Austin and Gladys: The work of our external digitisation service”

Postcard Crazy

Picture postcards are an unparalleled resource for local and social historians. The varied collections at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies include thousands of cards depicting local scenes and events in early 20th century Hampshire. The written messages on the reverse can contain fascinating snippets which illustrate the busy lives of our ancestors – everything from ‘Wish you were here!’ to ‘Tell mother I’ll be round at 7’.

Opening day at Kingsworthy Station, 1909, by Charles Beloe (HRO 41M93-26-2) - Copy

Opening day at Kingsworthy Station, 1909, by Charles Beloe (Ref: 41M93/26/2) Continue reading “Postcard Crazy”

Desperate Romantics in Hampshire

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) was a group of English artists, poets and critics, founded in 1848 by John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The first meeting of the PRB was held at the home of Millais at Gower Street in London.  However, Millais was born in Southampton and his circle did have links with Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Continue reading “Desperate Romantics in Hampshire”


As we approach high summer, with the start of the Test series between England and South Africa and the Women’s World Cup in progress, it seems appropriate to look through some of the sources available at Hampshire Record Office for the history of cricket.

Hampshire is of course known as ‘the birthplace of cricket’, as Hambledon Cricket Club, founded in 1750 was once the most powerful club in the country. It took on responsibility for developing many laws of modern day cricket, such as the addition of a third stump. The Record Office holds a number of records from the club, including a minute book, 1772-1796, which has the following entry for July 1791 where the umpire said ‘I really think the ball hit the ground, but I cannot be positive’.

4M85/1ref 4M85/1Hambledon Cricket Club  minute book 1772-1796 ref 4M85/1 Continue reading “Howzat!”

Archive Ambassador Training Days

“Great to learn from experts amongst others with the same enthusiasm.”

Freshwater and Totland Archive Group

“It was an informative day that lived up to expectations and beyond and the value of the course was excellent.”

Prior’s Field School


Hampshire Archives and Local Studies has been running a unique training day for the past nine years, offering members of the public the opportunity to learn valuable practical archival skills.

Continue reading “Archive Ambassador Training Days”

Hampshire’s maps: sea serpents and trains

Beware the sea serpent which prowls the Solent Strait and preys on unusually large ships featured on Norden’s magnificent map of Hampshire dating from 1595. His highly decorative map contains referenced symbols indicating market towns, hamlets and castles and also reveals the dangerous beasts which lurked in the sea.  Norden was the first English mapmaker to publish triangular tables indicating the distances between places and to show administrative boundaries within Hampshire.

Norden's Map

Continue reading “Hampshire’s maps: sea serpents and trains”

Musings of a millennial #WFSAselfie

Hold the phone! Millennials in the archives? Surely not? What place is there for youths and their smartphones in a dusty deluge of ancient documents and film stock? Little did you know that my handy dandy smartphone, amongst other gizmos and gadgets, is revolutionising how we do things here at Hampshire Record Office, with social media coming to the forefront of how we communicate with you. So join me and my smartphone on an insta-worthy little tour in pictures of the nooks and crannies of the Wessex Film and Sound Archive.

Ashleigh selfie
#WFSAselfies, #lovearchivefilm

Continue reading “Musings of a millennial #WFSAselfie”

Into the light: behind the scenes at the archives

One of the things archivists love about cataloguing is the thrill of discovery: that feeling you get when you lift the lid on an untouched box, or remove the original string from a bundle of documents, knowing you’re probably the first to do so in decades – possibly even centuries. You never know what you might find!


Continue reading “Into the light: behind the scenes at the archives”

We’re all going on a summer holiday!

Not long after I started working at Hampshire Record Office, I was sorting documents for customers in the search room and amongst them were a number of travel diaries.  I remember looking through them and being captivated by the amount of detail and impressive sketches included within.   The longer, lighter days, warmer weather and recent bank holiday weekends have got me thinking about holidays, travel and in particular these diaries.   Continue reading “We’re all going on a summer holiday!”