Members of Age UK in Hope, Bakewell and Hulland Ward have all taken part in The Art of Letter Writing project.

Archivist Karen Millhouse, from the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock visited all three venues and brought along some fascinating historic letters from the collection for members to look at. In particular, those written by a Chatsworth Ladies Maid in 1820, to her Mother about her visit to Paris really captured people’s imagination.

For the following session members brought along their own letters to look at and talked about why we kept them and what they mean to us. Then they wrote a letter of their own, to a family member, neighbour or friend. Some members suffer from dementia and needed help with this element of the project and staff and volunteers were on hand to support them by writing the letter as dictated by the members. Within a week of posting, and in time for the next session, some people had already received their replies, the arrival of which brought much joy!

The final workshop was to make an illuminated letter of their initial. This was a totally new experience for everyone, and of particular interest was the gilding process, using flakes of gold. They looked amazing and each member now has a beautiful piece of artwork to display on their mantelpiece.


Hope Age UK Day Centre manager Nicola Mansell saidThank you so much for your visits to us, our members really enjoyed the letter writing project and seeing the old letters, I think it was really beneficial for them as the art of writing letters is getting forgotten now in our modern age’.


We would like to thank Derbyshire County Council Councillors Judith Twigg and Jim Perkins and Derbyshire Dales District Councillor Richard Bright for funding the delivery of the project with Age UK.

Funded by the peoples health trust though money raised by health Calm, The health Lottery.