Suffolk Archives, Bury St Edmunds
Suffolk Archives holds an amazing range of information about the history of Suffolk and its people.
Some of the records go back to the 12th century, but not everything is old. You'll also find items from recent times relating to individuals and a wide range of organisations, such as churches, chapels, schools, hospitals, clubs and societies.
Each branch has a substantial collection of Local Studies material.
Open 9.30am-4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Closed Wednesday and Sunday
There are 3 branches of Suffolk Archives- one in Ipswich, one in Bury St Edmunds and one in Lowestoft. Please visit our website for branch locations and contact details (www.suffolkarchives.co.uk)
Charles Dickens and Suffolk by Clive Paine
- 21 September 2019 10-11:30am *on now
Dickens drew on personal experiences and observations of visits to Ipswich, Bury and Sudbury to provide background and characters for both the Pickwick Papers and his novels. This talk investigates Dickens’ links with Suffolk and how the county and its people influenced his writing as we follow Mr Pickwick and the Pickwickians from the Election and Breakfast Party at Eatons will, to the Angel Hotel and Ladies Boarding School in Bury and finally to the wrong bedroom at the Great White Horse at Ipswich. In real life Dickens gave public readings of his works in the 1850s and 1860s at both Bury and Ipswich.
10 Week Course: Victorian Suffolk by Clive Paine
- 23 September 2019 2-3:30pm
This course will investigate the major social, economic and religious changes in 19th century Suffolk. The themes will include: rural discontent, workhouses, railways, industry, housing, education, seaside resorts, churches and chapels and crime and punishment
10 Week Course: Beginners/intermediate Palaeography by Clive Paine
- 26 September 2019 10-11:30am
Learn how to read 16th and 17th century English wills, inventories and parish documents, essential sources for the family and local historian, in a friendly, relaxed and fun class.
This is a continuation of the five week course run in Jan/Feb 2019. If you missed that course you are welcome to come to the first class as a ‘taster session’ and decide if this is for you.
Trade Directories and Gazetteers: Time and Place by Gill Blanchard
- 28 September 2019 10-11:30am
Discover how they can be used by family and local historians to find people; track movements; how to use them in conjunction with other genealogical sources to develop research skills and learn more about the areas our ancestors lived and worked.
Suffolk Folk Tales by Clive Paine
- 5 October 2019 10-11:30am
The folk tales of Suffolk, although few in number, have parallels with other English and Continental examples. ‘Tom Tit Tot’, is a version of the well known ‘Rumpelstiltzchen’ story. ‘Cape of Rusher’ is a version of King Lear and Cinderella combined. The ‘Suffolk Wonder’ has the supernatural appearance of a dead lover, while ‘Brother Mike’ is based on the moral of always entertaining strangers in case they may be angels. A different strand of folk tales are based on actual events such as the Green Children of Woolpit, the Wildman of Orford and Black Shuck, the hound of Hell.
Women in Trade and Business by Gill Blanchard
- 12 October 2019 10-11:30am
Discover how to find details of women’s working lives. Including some case studies.
Law and order in rural Suffolk in the early Victorian period by Clive Paine
- 19 October 2019 10-11:30am
Until 1839 only Boroughs had police forces. In the countryside, the medieval system of a Parish Constable elected each year was the only means of law enforcement. In 1839 Parliament gave counties the option of establishing a structured and uniformed county police force. East Suffolk adopted the scheme in 1839 but West Suffolk deferred until 1845. This talk compares law enforcement in the countryside under the parish and county systems; the reactions to the new Act and its eventual adoption in West Suffolk.
A Sign of the Times by Sarah Doig
- 26 October 2019 10-11:30am
Almost every community in Suffolk and Norfolk proudly displays a village sign. But what of the origins of these signs? And how and what do they tell us about the history of those villages? Why is a pig so prominent on the Redgrave village sign? And which famous resident do the sun and clouds on the Thwaite village sign commemorate? In this talk, Sarah Doig explores this fascinating aspect of our local history, drawing on examples from across the region.
Plague in 17th century Suffolk by Clive Paine
- 2 November 2019 10-11:30am
Plague was the killer disease of the 17th century. It struck communities in Suffolk at different times throughout the century. For example, Ixworth and Long Melford were infected in 1604, Bury in 1637, Hartest, Cockfield, Woodbridge and Ipswich in 1665. In the latter year all 12 Ipswich parishes suffered, over 500 people dying in three months in St Margaret’s parish alone.
This talk, illustrated by contemporary woodcuts, burial registers and public health regulations from London, Ipswich and Bury, shows how the local authorities tried to cope with the problem. Parish registers will be used to present case studies of individual families from rural and urban parishes.
5 Week Course: Publishing Local History by Sarah Doig
- 4 November 2019 10-11:30am
This course is a must for all those individuals, groups or societies wanting to research, write and publish local history. Concentrating mainly on the process of publishing local history books and pamphlets, but also covering websites and social media, this course will guide participants through the whole process, from the development of an idea through to publication.
Using case studies and examples from across the region, but also allowing ample time to talk about participants’ own projects, Sarah Doig will cover all aspects of the process including deciding on the scope of the publication, different approaches to research and writing, structuring the publication, copyright issues, self-publishing and printing, as well as distribution and publicity.
5 Week Course: Writing Your Family History by Gill Blanchard
- 5 November 2019 10-11:30am
Learn how to bring the story of your ancestors to life. When and how to stop researching and start writing, choosing a format and what to include. What to do with family stories, missing pieces and anomalies
Using Wills and Administrations in Family and Local History Research by Gill Blanchard
- 9 November 2019 10-11:30am
Learn where to find probate records and how to use them to discover secrets, scandals and insights into how people lived and worshipped and their attitudes.
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, 1536-1539 by Clive Paine
- 16 November 2019 10-11:30am
Next year we celebrate 1,000 years since King Canute ‘founded’ the monastery in honour of St Edmund in our town. This year marks the 480th anniversary of its dissolution in November 1539. This talk examines the precedents for the closure and confiscation of monastic property before the 1530s. Using examples from Bury, Eye and Ipswich we will follow the processes used by Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell to confiscate monastic land and property and disband religious communities between 1536 and 1539 as part of the ‘break with Rome’.
The Spanton-Jarman Collection by Clive Paine
- 30 November 2019 10-11:30am
This collection of over 4000 glass plate negatives is one of the largest in East Anglia. The plates belonged to Oswald Jarman, the well known Bury photographer, and includes the ‘back catalogue’ of the firms of Clarke, Spanton and Jarman dating from the 1850s to the 1920s. The collection was bequeathed to the Bury Past and Present Society, is housed in the Bury branch of Suffolk Archives and is available to view online.
In this talk Clive will use photographs of street scenes and important buildings in Bury, the Abbeygate Street fire, rural life, country houses and parks, churches before and after restoration and early road accidents to show the importance of these images to local historians and researches.
Suffolk Archives, Bury St Edmunds
77 Raingate Street
Bury St Edmunds