Window on the West Riding…… We’re Back!

We are delighted to announce that work has resumed once more on the John Goodchild Collection. Work ground to a halt due to the struggles and confinements of the pandemic and the decision was made to put the project on hold in order to safeguard the funding allocated to it.

The box listing is in full swing and discoveries of the weird and wonderful are once again being made…….

How many of you have visited Mother Shipton’s Cave in Knaresborough and marvelled at the petrifying well? You may even have hung a thing or two in there yourself.

Within the John Goodchild Collection is the fabulous Knaresborough Wishing Well Collection which includes visitor’s books, 1899 – 1977. These little gems contain signatures including the Bradford Football team and the actress Margaret Rutherford, famed among other things for her portrayal of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.

Upon opening one box from the Wishing Well Collection there was a perfect example of the weird! Believed to be a petrified woven donkey’s head, this is what we were greeted by!

As archivists we do on occasion need to brace ourselves for such surprises!

Another discovery has been records relating to Aspdin & Son of Kirkgate, Wakefield containing a memorandum of articles of association of Aspdin & Son Limited, 1874 as well as a delightful little plan showing part of the cement works needed for Kirkgate Station in 1837.

We saved the best ‘til last…..

Within the John Goodchild Collection are records of the Penistone Union Workhouse* and Wakefield Union Workhouse* and whilst not a complete series, they have certainly caused excitement here at WYAS as many workhouse records were lost over time when Union Workhouses were altered or demolished, so this discovery truly is a gem for researchers.

Penistone Union records include admission and discharge register, 1926 – 1931, Register of births, 1914 – 1935, Master’s report books, 1926 – 1945.

Wakefield Union Workhouse records include admission register, 1885 – 1910 and register of deaths, 1934 – 1937.

We’ve contacted Peter Higginbotham of the www.workhouses.org.uk website and he has updated the section on Penistone and Wakefield Unions to list the location of these records.

*Please note some records may be subject to access restrictions, staff at WYAS can advise you further*

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