We have a large and growing archive which is available for both academic researchers and more general interest. We would be delighted to welcome you at any mutually convenient time.
This is a very large collection of newspaper cuttings, handbills, pamphlets, posters, and letters, kept in acid-free boxes under the following main Search Fields:
Agriculture, Arts, Ashbeians, Ashby General, Blackfordby, Breedon, Businesses, Calke, Castle, Celebrations, Coleorton, Communication, Education, Grace Dieu, Health, Industries, Inns and Pubs, Law and Order, Military, Museum, National Forest, Packington, Recreation, Religion, Smisby, Spa Town, Sport, Staunton Harold and Lount, Transport, Twinning, Willesley, Workhouse, Zouche.
We also store near complete runs of church magazines for the Baptist, Church of England (Holy Trinity, Packington and St. Helen’s), Congregational, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches.
We have a near-complete stock of Brown’s Annuals from 1900 - 1927; and copies of all the issues of Ashby Life (from November 2005) and the Packington Post (from Summer 2003).
We have newspaper runs of the Ashby Echo (2002 - 2009); the Ashby Herald (2006 - 2009); the Ashby Messenger (2008 - 2009); and the Ashby Mail (from November 2009).
The Museum has over 600 books in its Library, mostly relating to the local areas of Leicestershire and Derbyshire. There are also handbooks on aspects of Local History, such as Palaeography, Folklore, Geology, Timber-framed buildings, Place Names, Field Names, Parish Boundaries, Villages, Brass Rubbing and Oral History. There is a considerable collection of reference books on Ecclesiastical buildings (abbeys, priories, cathedrals, parish churches), Castles and Country Houses.
Rarer, but very useful books include:
The Description of Leicestershire – William Burton (1622)
The Supplementary Volume to the Leicestershire Views – John Throsby (1790)
The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester – John Nichols (1795-1815; facsimile) Vol I, Part I; Vol II, Part I; Vol III, Parts I and II; Vol iv, Part II.
The Huntingdon Peerage – Henry Nugent Bell (1821)
A Collection of Geological Facts and Practical Observations…of the Ashby Coal-Field – Edward Mammatt (1833)
Charnwood Forest – T.R. Potter (1842)
The Victoria History of the County of Leicester – Volumes I – III (1907, 1954, 1955)
Report on the Manuscripts of the late Reginald Rawdon Hastings 2 vols. (1928; 1930)
Charnwood Forest and its Historians – George Farnham (1930)
We have a nearly complete set of The Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and History Society from the 1860s
We also have 19th and early 20thc century Directories for Leicestershire and Derbyshire, as well as photocopies of Directories on Ashby from the 1791 to 1958.
Our earliest document dates from the 14th century, and is part of a small selection of indentures and deeds involving the Hastings Family up to the 18th century.
Hastings/Huntingdon/Donington Estate Chief Rental Books (1750-1881)
Lord Donington Estate Papers (including Sales Catalogues and Maps) – 19th and early 20th centuries
Ashby Court Leet Papers (1709 – 1881); 19th century Netherseal Court Leet Papers
Beaumont Family Papers and Estate Books relating to their Coleorton holdings – mainly early and mid-19th century (John and Marcene Crocker Collection)
51 ring-binders relating to Staunton Harold from 1952 to 2006, made up of newspaper cutting, brochures, posters and articles (Dorothy Watson Collection)
The Dolly Shepherd (Edwardian Parachutist) Papers and original photographs
The Bowyers’ Company Papers relating to their property at Isley Walton (1703 – 1904)
The William Langley Papers (1695 - 1960s) – mainly the Langley Schools in Diseworth and Ashby
The Pilkington Papers (1623 – 1850); the Hussey Papers (1898 – 1973)
Ashby Congregational Church Papers
The Ashby Girls’ Grammar School Archive (1889 – 1972)
The Ashby Boys’ Grammar School Archive - admission registers, photographs, papers relating to the 20th century
Maps and Plans
Maps and the larger Plans are kept in a Map Cabinet. They include:
A copy of the 1735 Hastings Estate Map of Ashby and Packington
A copy of the 1837 Wood’s Plan of Ashby
Copies of the 1841 Sanitation plans of Ashby
O/S Maps 25” and 6” for Ashby and many villages within a twenty mile radius
Audio Recordings and Film
We have a collection of vintage films which are being converted to digital formats. We also have oral history recordings made by the Museum and modern films made by our own Film Unit.