Weather in the archives

Other Archive Sources

There are many other archives which may contain incidental references to the weather over the county’s history and it is not possible to itemise them all here. These are some of the more substantial sources.

Gardeners and nurserymen were particularly concerned and affected by the state of the weather. Records produced by them can therefore be useful sources of information. The Archive Service holds very few  examples of nurserymen’s journals but this exhibition has included some extracts from those for Spotacre Nursery, near Stone, in the early 20th century. Where such records survive in a good series, they can provide useful comparative information on weather between one year and another.

Rudyard Reservoir record bookReservoir records provide a more unusual source of information. At Rudyard Lake, a reservoir constructed to support the county’s canal system, information about the daily weather, including rainfall, was recorded as part of the process of managing the feed from the reservoir into the canal system. This process has created a useful run of records between 1896 and 1951 (SRO 6783) and the level of the reservoir which is also recorded is an indicator of periods of low rainfall or drought.

Personal diaries and correspondence can also be helpful in recording information about weather. Comments usually arise as a result of extreme weather, hot or cold, or some type of a weather disaster, rather than as a general point for discussion. It is rare for weather to be discussed in such sources in any detail before the 19th century. Very occasionally a whole letter may be devoted to a single weather event, as in the example relating to the Stafford floods to be found in the February section of this exhibition. The Archive Service holds a number of examples of individual and series of diaries and letters in many of its family collections but references to weather comments will not always be noted in our catalogues.

In addition to farmers’ diaries, which are dealt with as a separate source, farm labour accounts are also useful. These were kept for some of the larger farms in the county which employed a number of farm labourers. They record the names of labourers and the daily work allotted to them with sometimes a calculation of wages. Often there is also a comment on the state of the weather each day and a series of such records will provide comparative information.

If you would like any information about how to set about locating these types of archives in our collections, then please contact us

Extracts from this archive source can be found alongside other source material in the Month by Month section, arranged chronologically to show the progression of weather through each month.