Monthly Archives: April 2013

A new job for volunteers!

Linking images to the catalogue 

Having made such good progress with the cataloguing of the photograph collection we are now moving on to linking images to the catalogue entries. A group of volunteers are busy digitizing and processing the photographs and, as these are completed, we need a new group of volunteers to make the links.

This will also give us the opportunity to revisit the catalogue entries and proof read them for errors before ensuring that the right images are attached. If you have an eye for detail and good grammar and fancy having a go at this let us know! As ever full instructions will be given and Volunteer Coordinator Alison has done a crib sheet.


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Dr Barbara Moore, dietician, vegetarian activist, walker and Russian émigré.

James Link is a volunteer both with Shropshire Archives and Ludlow Museum Resource Centre. 

 While going through archival photographs of the village of Hodnet near Market Drayton, I stumbled across a set of pictures of a mysterious yet charismatic woman in a headscarf and white mac greeting the locals, circa 1960. It soon transpired that this was a record of a forgotten celebrity of the mid-20th century, who not only presaged the dietary fads of recent decades but also many of the dubious beliefs that have accompanied them.

 Dr. Barbara Moore was a dietician and vegetarian activist who, in 1960, walked from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in just 23 days, stopping en route in the sleepy Shropshire village of Hodnet. She apparently believed that “neither energy nor body heat come from food” and gradually reduced her diet to nothing more than lemon juice and water, though her epic hikes were fuelled by nuts, honey, raw fruit and vegetablesBarbara Moore. Born Anya Cherkasova in Russia in 1903, she trained as an engineer after the revolution, and was the 1932 long-distance motorcycling champion of the Soviet Union (according to one obituary).

 Following her journey through Britain via Shropshire, she crossed the United States from New York to LA, becoming the first woman to do so, in an equally remarkable 86 days, despite being struck by a car in Indiana. She made other trans- American journeys, such as from Key West, Florida  to Boston, where she misplaced her wallet 6 miles south of Miami and insisted on walking back, disgruntled, to recover it. She set multiple world records for walking throughout the 1950s and ‘60s.

 The views she developed on nutrition could be charitably described as unorthodox. She claimed that older people’s bodies were more harmed than helped by eating due to ‘impure’ foods, and to be free of disease as her body lacked ‘toxins’. People could live to be 200 if they gave up smoking, drinking and sex, and she planned on being pregnant at 100 and living to 150 herself. Onlookers remarked how youthful she looked as she undertook her walks in her late 50s, appearing at least 20 years younger.

She successfully sued the Daily Mail in 1961 after it ran advertisements suggesting that her feats of endurance were solely for financial gain. In 1964, she fought Surrey council when it threatened to build a road across the back garden of her home in Camberley, comparing it to the sort of ‘violation’ of her rights she would expect in her country of birth. This and other lawsuits over both neighbourly disputes and encroachment by local government (leading to spells in prison due to contempt of court) evidently impacted on both her physical and financial health. In 1969, bankruptcy proceedings brought against her were delayed when she was allegedly attacked by a leopard in Barcelona during a charity event. She passed away in a London hospital in 1977, aged 73, after a life seemingly furnished by a wealth of colourful stories.


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Crime and punishment: Shrewsbury 1766

Jan Lloyd is a volunteer at Shropshire Archives: here Jan relates a sorry tale of petty crime and punishment  in 18th century Shrewsbury

 The Mayor of Shrewsbury’s  Accounts from 1766 are by and large a routine list of payments consisting, for example of receipts for ironmongery, maintenance of the conduit pipes, tolls for the gates of the town and materials for coats for the Bellman and Swineherds.  Whilst cataloguing these, however, I came across the following items (Shropshire Archives 3365/666/393) which piqued my interest.

‘Pay to Edward Mansell, Beadle, three shillings for whipping Mary Roberts at the Cart’s Tail.

Pay to Joseph Bevan, five shillings for the use of his cart and horse at the whipping of Mary Roberts.

Pay to John Upton, two shillings for holding the horse’s bridle at the whipping of Mary Roberts at the Cart’s Tail. 30th January 1766’

The word ‘Beadle’ refers to a parish constable of the Anglican Church, one often charged with duties of charity. A famous fictional constabulary beadle is Mr. Bumble from Charles Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist, who oversees the parish workhouse and orphanage. To be whipped at the Cart’s Tail involved the miscreant being tied to the back of the cart, sometimes naked, and paraded through the streets whilst being whipped, giving both physical and mental punishment for their crime.

Image reproduced by permission of the British Museum

Image reproduced by permission of the British Museum

Unfortunately we do not know what Mary’s crime was but, to warrant such a penalty, one would  imagine it was fairly serious.

 The second document is as follows,

‘Pay to Edward Howells, Edward Morgan and Edward Mansell for their trouble in apprehending Mary Lloyd, a strolling woman and a shoplifter, the sum of seven shillings and six pence out of the money arising from the sale of the felon’s goods. 1st April 1766’

 This could be the same Edward Mansell, the Beadle and his cohorts. The term “strolling” woman suggests Mary was of no fixed abode and wandered around the town although she must have had some possessions worth selling to pay the reward to her captors. We tend to think of the word “shoplifter” in a modern context but there is documented proof that shoplifting took place in the sixteenth century, it being carried out by groups of men called “lifters”. There is no mention of further punishment other than losing her goods so perhaps we can presume that the crime Mary Roberts committed was far more serious than Mary Lloyd’s, in order to warrant a whipping.

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