Powlett family – a colonial story

In the midst of winter, as we celebrate Christmas and New Year, thoughts of cricket may be far away. This year though, is an Ashes winter.  Despite their already sad loss, many will still be anticipating the Boxing Day Test match, held at the famous Melbourne cricket ground, home of the Melbourne Cricket Club. Few will be aware however, that Frederick Powlett, a member of a well known Hampshire family was one of the founder members of the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1838.


MCG city shot lg_jpg_MG_7809Then and Now of Melbourne Cricket Club. Credit Melbourne Cricket Club library.

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Mysteries in the archives

In most of our blog posts, we take the opportunity to introduce you to documents held at Hampshire Record Office that we know something about. The main qualification for items to appear this week, by contrast, is that we don’t know much about them, or at any rate not as much as we should like to.

When we catalogue documents, we do try to work out the places and people that they relate to, although this can take a little detective work: sometimes, for instance, we can identify the location of a building shown in a photograph by comparing it with other photographs of a likely building. Most of the photographs that we receive arrive as part of the archive of a family, an estate or an organisation, and that can give us a clue to the likely location.

There are times, however, when there are no clues that give us any idea of the likely area to look in. It’s frustrating to think that a photograph we are struggling to identify may be the only illustration we hold of a particular scene, but if we cannot work out where it was taken, future researchers will be unable to make use of it.

f 79a01-G1-05Can you identify this pub?

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Hampshire Constabulary Archive

As a historian and former serving member of the Hampshire Constabulary, I am now preforming a voluntary role in the police dealing with history enquiries and archives. Over the years police forces around the country have disposed of thousands of documents and files. This was necessary for lack of space and storage, and (especially in the past) because few saw any need to keep old files. Personnel files however were usually kept, as these might be required for pension purposes. Thus today we have good records of past police officers, and this delights many people searching for ancestors who were police officers. They hold a lot of detail,such as physical appearance and past occupation (200M86 H36 series). Continue reading “Hampshire Constabulary Archive”

These are a few of my favourite things…..

With Hampshire Record Office’s 70th anniversary fast approaching I thought it would be nice to share with you some of my favourite items from the archives.  This was no easy feat as there are so many interesting documents in our collection; however, I have kept it short and sweet and managed to narrow it down to my top three.


A page from a World War I autograph book. Continue reading “These are a few of my favourite things…..”

Muniments and memories: 70 years of Hampshire Archives

‘… So what does the ‘M’ stand for…?’

I was asked this question at a recent Archive Ambassadors training session at the Record Office, and had to confess I wasn’t quite sure.

The session was aimed at helping non-professional record-keepers think about ways to organise, reference and catalogue their own archive collections, and we started by looking at the various approaches adopted at the Record Office. I explained that, like car number plates, all our archive collections have unique finding numbers to identify them, and that those deposited before 2000 include the letter M. Continue reading “Muniments and memories: 70 years of Hampshire Archives”

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!”


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!”

The Parish Pump: community insights from parish magazines

Imagine a source of information, available for many (although not all) parishes in Hampshire from the late 19th century down to the present day, giving information about baptisms, weddings and funerals; obituaries of local people; details of activities of local churches, schools and clubs; advertisements for local shops; and clues to local people’s concerns over the years. An ideal source for local and family historians – so it’s perhaps surprising that more people don’t consult the parish magazines we hold. Continue reading “The Parish Pump: community insights from parish magazines”

Are you being served?

The public house has been an important social institution since the Romans in this country. No doubt, many of us like to enjoy a glass or two in a local pub! But have you ever thought about the history of the establishment that you may be visiting?  We know that the comment made frequently is “there is nothing quite like the English Pub!” So if you are interested in delving into the history of a pub then sources here at Hampshire Record Office may help you investigate further.

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Reflections of a volunteer

I enjoy my Friday mornings volunteering at the Record Office, where I used to work.  I find it relaxing in the search room with its atmosphere of hushed but busy studiousness.  The glass walls frame a tranquil garden with wisteria and cherry and the occasional cat amongst the hebes, overlooked by the serene Mother and Child statue on the lawn.

It is a privilege for me to have been given the task of doing some tidying to the catalogue of the treasure trove that is The Royal Green Jackets collection (general reference 170A12W).  The regiment and its antecedents had a base in Winchester and travelled to all parts of the empire leaving a wide variety of documents giving views on world history from the 18th century to present times.

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