Doncaster Archives and the National Curriculum

Materials available to help with teaching the National Curriculum

The aim of these webpages is to give you some information about the materials available at Doncaster Archives which you may find useful in teaching the National Curriculum.

Doncaster Archives is the place to find historic documents such as:

  • minute books,
  • maps,
  • plans,
  • deeds,
  • files,
  • registers,
  • log books,
  • ledgers,
  • photographs and letters,

Virtually all of them are unique and irreplaceable, relating to the Doncaster Metropolitan District.

They range in date from 1194 to the present decade and include church registers and records, the archives of schools, colleges, local authorities, political parties, trade unions, voluntary societies, businesses and courts.

A general leaflet about the department is available from Doncaster Archives on request. 

How can archives be used by teachers?

Using archives to study local history can be a valuable means of making general historical themes more relevant to pupils by helping them to relate to large-scale issues through examples drawn from their own locality.

Teachers have also drawn on the resources of Doncaster Archives for documents to use in the 'A' Level course in English Language.

Teachers making use of the archives have found sources to use relating to subjects such as:

  • Doncaster Mansion House
  • The Victorian workhouse
  • World War II
  • Georgian and Victorian family letters
  • Family History               

What kinds of records are available?

In these webpages we cannot convey the full scope of records which may be available for a specific place. Doncaster Archives has a wide range of sources which are common to virtually all parts of the area. Briefly three kinds of records which are found to be particularly useful are:

1. Parish Records

There are the records of over eighty long-established parishes in the area from Hatfield to Mexborough and Campsall to Tickhill. The parish registers contain unique information about the people who have lived there over many centuries. The value of parish registers for studying family history is well-known. However, parish records often contain much more than the registers. They sometimes include information about how communities governed themselves and provided for their old, poor and ill through the 'poor law' in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

2. School Records

The records of around 150 schools from the mid-nineteenth century onwards are to be found at Doncaster Archives. They generally include log books which in some cases can give an picture not only of school life but of the community in which they were situated. There may also be admission registers and Her Majesty's Inspectorate (HMI) reports and, in a very few cases, examples of pupils' work and photographs.

3. Maps and plans

Maps are invaluable for discovering how a locality has changed over time. Various editions of the Ordnance Survey (OS) are available from 1854 to the 1940s for most parts of the area on six-inch and 25-inch scales. Earlier but far less detailed maps include the OS one-inch scale of 1841 and of Jeffreys' Yorkshire map of 1772. There are also others, from the early eighteenth century onwards, made for specific purposes, such as estate, enclosure and tithe maps, which often give the names of landowners and tenants.

How Can Doncaster Archives Help?

Doncaster Archives is not able to undertake work on your behalf but we are able to:

  • Offer advice on the types of records available, the information they contain and how they may be linked to other records to illuminate the history of a place or a topic,
  • Give you all the help you may need to use our catalogues and place, subject and other indexes to find all the sources you may need,
  • Provide photocopies of original documents if their size, condition and copyright allow,
  • Provide support and facilities for research for any teacher who obtains a placement to work on the use of archives in school.               

Before you Start

Two things are very important to bear in mind before deciding to make use of archives in the classroom. One is that it is best to discover what documents are available before finally settling on a subject. The simple reason for this is that, for a number of causes, there may be little or no documentation to be found on one subject, while for another there may be more than enough.

The other is to recognise that preparing projects from archives can be time-consuming. It may be more rewarding than taking your information at second-hand from a book, but assembling your own resources will not be the work of an afternoon, or a single day.

How to Contact Doncaster Archives

Doncaster Archives is located at King Edward Road, Balby, Doncaster, DN4 0NA. Telephone (01302) 859811.


Contact Details

eMail: Archives

Tel: 01302 859811

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