Thursday, 30 July 2015

Shedding new 'Lite' on Atkinson Brierley

Understanding the condition of an item is the first concern of a conservator when faced with a new object. A range of tools can be utilised to compliment the conservator’s knowledge of materials and degradation in this undertaking. Historically, microscopes, magnifying glasses and loupes have been used to take a closer look at the surface layers and media of an item. Today, USB digital microscopes are becoming an ever more common tool in the modern conservation tool kit, as the fast pace of technological development sweeps us along into the future.

Such devices offer an increased flexibility for microscopic analysis; these highly portable, hand held devices can work on both vertical and horizontal surfaces, and allow us to take images and video of an item at the touch of a button. This technological shift allows us to take, use and share images with far greater ease. In the conservation studio at the Borthwick Institute for Archives we have been trialling the use of the Dino-Lite digital microscope in a number of projects and on a range of archive items.

AB 7/33B - Barclay's Bank, Norwich, 1925
The Dino-Lite can be an excellent educational tool and we are currently using it to help our new intake of conservation volunteers observe the material they will be working with on a microscopic scale. Our conservation-volunteering programme has entered its fourth year, and our new volunteers will join our established group to clean the plans of the Atkinson Brierley Architectural Archive. With six new recruits to train, the conservation team is harnessing the power of the Dino-Lite to help the new volunteers understand both the condition of the plans prior to cleaning and the problems that interventive conservation treatments such as cleaning, can cause.

The pictures below show a cleaned plan, dirt on the surface, and ingrained dirt.

The condition and material of the plans within the Atkinson Brierley Architectural Archive is varied; it is consequently vital to establish an appreciation of how abrasion and damage can occur on a microscopic level before our new volunteers get started. The connection between media and the substrate of the plan can be illustrated using a Dino-Lite to show the mottled, tangled surface of fibres which make up its surface, and how inks flow and penetrate the substrate of paper whilst graphite pencil lie on its top; such phenomena allow us to properly appreciate the consequences of cleaning and how it may disturb the material and media in a way which isn’t immediately noticeable with the naked eye.

Pictures above show damage to fibers, fragile pencil and ink penetrating the substrate of paper. Pictures below show pigment displacement due to water damage, abraided pen and fabric fibers at risk of further loss and staining both in and on the surface of the fabric fibers.

The Dino-Lite images will help the volunteers understand the damage the plans have already endured, and how they will affect them as they carry out cleaning treatments. It will also allow the volunteers to understand the different materials they will encounter. Some plans are on a waxed fabric paper, designed to go on site during building works: whilst others are late nineteenth or early twenty century watercolour paper, covered in graphite pencil, pen and watercolour paints, the volunteers will shift between these very different materials suddenly, and it will stretch their analytical skills and judgement as they decide how to proceed. They will need to appreciate how the strength of the paper can be understood through the length and flexibility of the fibres which comprise it – the Dino-Lite will allow us to show that and hopefully allow them to act appropriately. The dirt on the plans is also varied, with all the dust, soot and dirt of a building site and coal heated rooms settling on them, with our Dino-Lite we can see how this dirt can be sharp and abrasive or comprised of soft, fine particles and show how one may scratch the surface whilst another settles deep into the substrate of the paper.

We have a variety of methods for surface cleaning the plans, which allow us to minimise the risk of damage to the plans during treatment. We have undertaken this programme of cleaning as part of our ongoing work to care for and preserve the archives held at the Borthwick Institute. Dust and dirt on the surface of plans and documents can increase the rate of chemical deterioration, the continued presence of dirt also allows it to become ingrained and increasingly difficult to remove. Further to this, dirt obscures the information the plans provide for the readers who use our archive. As we are committed to providing access for research it is important to us that our holdings are preserved in the most healthy state possible, the preservation measures we are undertaking for the Atkinson-Brierley project is no small feat, the collection contains 6,324 plans and almost all will require cleaning.

Paint sitting on top of the fabric fibers at risk of further loss
AB 7/33B - Barclay's Bank Norwich, 1925

The conservation volunteers will spend three weeks sessions training in the handling of architectural plans, condition checking and conservation cleaning. Their training will focus on the cleaning of 115 plans of former Barclay's Bank building in Norwich, built in 1929-31 by E. Boardman & Son and Brierley & Rutherford. Now a grade II listed building built of Portland stone, red brick and slate, it stands as an important architectural landmark in the heart of Norwich. The plans show every level of the buildings construction from its Doric columned doorways to its plumbing and clerestory windows. These plans have survived in varying condition depending on the paper used in their creation, the conditions in which they have been stored and the time they have spent on site. They provide the ideal examples of differing conditions and materials within the collection at large.

I would like to welcome our new volunteers to the conservation department and the Atkinson-Brierley project and to thank all of our volunteers whose ongoing dedication and commitment have allowed us to clean over 2300 plans in the collection so far.

AB 7/33B - Picture of Barclay's Bank, Norwich

-- Tracy Wilcockson, Conservation Volunteering Co-ordinator

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Sextoness of Goodramgate

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Project Genesis are the personal stories that emerge from the many and varied archives held here at the Institute. Most recently the addition of the Borthwick’s charity records to the online catalogue revealed the story of Grace Green and, through her, a rather unexpected female occupation.

Grace appears in the records of Lady Conyngham’s Charity, a trust established in 1816 to provide yearly pensions for ten poor clergymen, twelve ‘poor and distressed’ widows of clergymen, and six poor women of York aged over 50.

Many early applications for these pensions survive in the archive and the applications of poor women of York make particularly interesting, if poignant, reading, chronicling as they do bereavements, illness, and misfortune and the limited and too often inadequate means of employment open to women in the early nineteenth century.

Grace’s application is part of the earliest bundle, dated 1816-1817. She describes herself as a 67 year old widow living in Goodramgate and, in contrast to the usual occupations of washerwoman, seamstress, nurse and teacher listed in the various applications, states that her existing financial support ‘arises from the office of Sexton of the Parish Church of the Holy Trinity… which she has held upwards of Thirty Years now last past.’ The Church of the Holy Trinity was Holy Trinity Goodramgate, York, and her application was endorsed by James Dallin, then rector of that parish. 

Grace Green’s application to Lady Conyngham’s charitable trust.

A sexton is a parish officer, usually responsible for the maintenance of the church buildings and churchyard and for the digging of graves. At a time when women were barred from most public offices, Grace’s occupation was somewhat surprising but, as research proved, she was not the first woman to hold this office, nor even the first one in York.

The existence of ‘sextonesses’ can be traced back to at least 1671 when a female sexton was recorded at Islington in Middlesex. A sextoness was also employed at nearby Hackney in 1690 and 1730. It is not yet clear how common this practice was, but in 1739 it proved controversial enough to prompt a court case when Sarah Bly, the widow of the sexton of St Botolph without Aldersgate in London, was elected to succeed her late husband to the post.

Mrs Bly had polled 209 votes to her opponent’s 196; crucially, forty of her votes came from female householders in the parish. Her opponent, John Olive, took the matter to the Court of King’s Bench, requiring judges to decide not only whether a woman could hold the position of sexton, but whether women could vote in such elections at all.

Fortunately for Sarah Bly and those who came after her, after five months of deliberations the court ruled that as women had held higher offices (Anne, Countess of Pembroke and hereditary Sheriff of Westmoreland was used as an example), and as ‘the office of sexton was no publick office, nor a matter of skill or judgement, but only a private office of trust,’ it was perfectly legal for any woman who paid her church rates to hold the office and to vote in the elections for it.

The first known sextoness in York died just twenty years later in 1759 at the exceptional age of a century or more. She was described in The Gentleman’s Magazine of that year as ‘Mary Hall, sexton of Bishop-Hill, York City, aged 105, she walked about and retained her senses till within three days of her death.’ The London Evening Post adds that Mary had succeeded her husband to the office and that, between them, they had ‘enjoyed that Place 69 years.’

Burial record of ‘Mary Hall saxton aged 100 years’ in the burial register of St Mary Bishophill Senior, York, in 1759.

It would seem that widows succeeding their husbands to office was a common factor in the election of sextonesses, perhaps as a means of continuing financial support for the family. This was certainly true of Grace Green who succeeded her husband Thomas, a weaver, to the post at his death in 1802.

Thomas had been sexton of Holy Trinity Goodramgate since at least 1795, the year that Grace appeared as a witness in a case brought before the church courts for sexual defamation as the 42 year old ‘wife of the sexton.’ Thomas died aged 81 and in the following year the churchwardens’ accounts of Holy Trinity Goodramgate list the ‘sexton’s salary 24s, her bill 8s 2d.’ Thereafter there are yearly references to payments made to Grace Green for her sexton’s salary and for additional work such as cleaning the church, washing, and cooking.

It is not clear what else her duties entailed and whether she did in fact ever dig any graves or whether this job was delegated to another. Certainly there is evidence that sextonesses could and did carry out the more physical aspects of the job. In Kingston upon Thames, near London, the redoubtable Hester Hammerton rang the church bell and dug all the graves in the churchyard herself from 1730, when she succeeded her father in the role of sexton, until her death in 1746. Hester, who wore a loose gown and a man’s waistcoat and hat on every day but Sunday, ‘possessed great bodily strength,’ according to an 1820 memorial of her, and on one occasion was said to have confronted two would-be thieves in the church and ‘resolutely seized one of them by the collar and threw him over the reading desk into the pew below.’

Hester, or Esther, Hammerton of Kingston Upon Thames in James Caulfield’s ‘Portaits, memoirs, and characters, of remarkable persons: from the revolution in 1688 to the end of the reign of George II (1820).   Image used with kind permission of Digital Library@ Villanova University.

Sadly the parish records for Holy Trinity Goodramgate offer no such stories for Grace. Her sexton’s salary of £2 a year, rising to £4 and 4 shillings by the 1820s, provided her with a very small income, small enough that she was moved to apply to Lady Conyngham’s Charity for additional help in 1816. Unfortunately her application was unsuccessful and the parish records show that Grace continued as sexton until around 1834, two years before her death in 1836 at the age of 90.

Grace was not the last of her family to hold the office however. In the same year that Grace’s name ceases to appear, a ‘Mary Green’ begins to be paid the sexton’s salary instead. Mary was the daughter of Grace and Thomas, born in 1782, and she continued in the role of sexton until 1863 when ‘thro’ old age & infirmity’ she was finally succeeded by the parish clerk, Isaac Barker, bringing to an end 61 years of Green family sextonesses at Holy Trinity Church.


James Caulfield, ‘Portraits, Memoirs, and Characters, of Remarkable Persons : From the Revolution in 1688 to the End of the Reign of George II,’ Volume III (London, 1820)

Sarah Richardson, ‘The Political Worlds of Women: Gender and Politics in Nineteenth Century Britain’ (Oxford, 2013)

Hilda L. Smith, ‘Women writers and the early modern British political tradition’ (Cambridge, 1998)

Friday, 5 June 2015

Sledmere House - Rising from the Ashes

Sledmere House today (picture courtesy of Sledmere House) 
One of the largest and most interesting sets of plans in the Atkinson-Brierley collection is that relating to the rebuilding of Sledmere, a country house in East Yorkshire. The house was built in the 1751, and in the 1780s and 1790s underwent significant renovations. Like many grand Yorkshire houses in the period, it was updated with fashionable Adam-style interiors by Joseph Rose, a specialist in fine plasterwork, and the gardens were landscaped by the famous Capability Brown.

The Library at Sledmere House today (picture courtesy of Sledmere House)
However, disaster struck in 1911, when fire gutted the building. Though estate workers and local people did their best to rescue Sledmere’s treasures, the building required extensive repair. This is where Walter Brierley came in. Using Rose’s original plans and surviving photographs and drawings, Brierley and his team worked to restore the house to its previous glory, as required by the then owner Sir Tatton Sykes. The plans reveal the intricate detail of this work, including beautiful coloured  ketches of the parquet flooring and plasterwork which decorated the celebrated long library.

AB 7/1a Detail of  proposed design for parquet floor in
library, Borthwick Institute for Archives 
AB 7/1a Details of proposed design for parquet floor in library,
Borthwick Institute for Archives 

Meanwhile, the plans of the house exterior show how it was rebuilt and extended in sympathy with Georgian architectural fashions. Rebuilding continued through World War One, and by the late 1920s, Sledmere was once again a vibrant country estate. Thanks to the careful restoration of Brierley and his team, Sledmere survives today for visitors to discover elements of both Georgian and Edwardian aristocratic life. Here at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, the 181 Sledmere plans and archived correspondence tell the story behind his massive and marvellous restoration, newly cleaned and available for all to enjoy!

AB 7/1a: South West Elevation of Sledmere House, Borthwick Institute for Archives
Further reading:
Ruth Mather, Volunteer, Atkinson Brierley Conservation Project

You can read more about the Atkinson Brierley Project on the blog and on our website.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Who came to see the Retreat? A look through the Retreat Visitors’ Books

Queen Victoria and the Duke of Wellington didn’t visit the Retreat!
The monarch would never have signed herself “Queen Victoria” in 1856, and the signature of the Iron Duke in 1821 fails to match up with authenticated examples. Mischievous or deluded patients from the democratic Retreat “family” were probably responsible for these entries.
Queen Victoria’s name appears in the visitor’s book RET 1/4/4/2 but we don’t think it is a genuine signature
But many well-known people, from all over the country and from abroad, really did come to see the Retreat in its early days and they signed their names in the Retreat General Visitors’ Books: three volumes covering the years 1798-1822 (RET 1/4/4/1), 1822-1835 (RET 1/4/4/2) and 1837-1861 (RET 1/4/4/3).
Genuine royal visitors included the Grand Duke Nicholas, brother to the Emperor Alexander of Russia, who visited with a party of Russian notables on 12 December 1816. Important Russian visitors seem to have been a feature of the Retreat’s early years: in August 1814, the Emperor’s physician came, as did a Russian princess, and in July 1818 Grand Duke Michael, another brother of the Emperor, arrived with his suite.
On 25 August 1822, “Augustus Frederick, Kensington Palace”, signed his name in the Visitors’ Book. This was Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843), the sixth son of George III. The Duke was very interested in the arts and sciences, was involved in many charities, and had progressive political views, being a supporter of the abolition of the slave trade and of Catholic emancipation.
Augustus Frederick’s signature
Such an interest in reform characterised many Retreat visitors. The Utopian idealist Robert Owen, who developed the socially enlightened and pioneering model village of New Lanark (like the Retreat, this was a place of pilgrimage for all who were interested in progressive social ideas) visited the Retreat on 6 May 1815, remarking that “on visiting houses of this kind his feelings had been harrowed up but at this house he was not so affected”. Another well-known social reformer, who visited the Retreat several times, was the Quaker prison reformer Elizabeth Fry.

The three Retreat General Visitors’ Books have long been well-known to Retreat historians, and they repay close study. Yet there has been no thorough analysis of them to examine the appeal of the Retreat and to tease out the meaning of its fame among different social groupings. There is not even a complete index of the visitors’ names. But clearly, visitors flocked as a result of the publicity generated by Samuel Tuke’s Description of the Retreat, (1813). As William Brereton Grime, a visitor from Manchester, remarked on 4 July 1816, he “was confirmed in the good opinion he had formed of it by reading Mr Tuke’s book”. The model care offered by the Retreat not surprisingly attracted those who were also involved in the management of the insane.  Thomas Maynard Knight from Finsbury Square, London, for example, came on 16 and 17 April 1817 “on purpose to gain information respecting treatment etc being about immediately to open a house called The London Retreat for the reception of about 12 Persons mentally disordered”.
Looking through the names of visitors, they clearly fall into a number of often overlapping categories: the famous visitors, who came largely in the earliest years when the Retreat was such a novelty; doctors from Britain, Europe and  the USA, coming to see the Retreat regime for themselves; Quakers, coming to see the Retreat of which they must have heard so much (and perhaps because a family or friend was a patient); ordinary people, often whole families or larger parties, visiting the Retreat because it was famous (sometimes one can clearly see local people bringing their guests to see the Retreat because it was one of the tourist sights of York), and some visitors who defy these categorisations, such as the seven Seneca Red Indian warriors, who signed the visitors book on 8 May 1818 with their names in pictures: Long Horns, Beaver, Black Squirrel, etc. They had been brought to England to be toured around theatres, and they were then appearing at the York Theatre Royal. In this case, it was not the Retreat that was being shown off but the visitors themselves who were the object of interest: a number of local Quakers came up to the Retreat to meet them.
So what names in the visitors’ books have caught my eye?
Amelia Opie (1769-1853) visited on 9 December 1834. She was a novelist, poet, radical and philanthropist, the wife of the painter John Opie and the friend of the writer and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. She had become a Quaker in 1825 and must have been interested to see the famous Quaker Retreat.
Ignatius Bonomi (1787-1870) visited on 14 September 1815. He was a Durham based architect, who gained a considerable architectural practice in the north east of England. He is sometimes called “the first railway architect”, because in 1824 he designed the first railway bridge, over the River Skerne at Darlington, for the Stockton and Darlington Railway. Bonomi later had a family connection with York: his sister Mary Anne married Dr George Goldie (1784-1853), who became York’s premier physician and was also a very frequent visitor to the Retreat, often bringing guests with him.
Having studied nineteenth century doctors for my doctoral thesis, I was interested to see some old friends visiting the Retreat. On 9 September 1819 the young, recently qualified, Manchester surgeons Thomas Fawdington and John Boutflower visited the Retreat together: at that time they were junior resident doctors at the Manchester Infirmary, which was given as their address. They went on to have successful careers in Manchester and Salford respectively, and were both active as teachers in the Manchester medical schools. In June 1819, Joseph Atkinson Ransome, Honorary Surgeon to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, came to the Retreat, and in September 1822 Edward Carbutt MD, Honorary Physician to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, was a visitor. Both of these doctors were Quakers. It is not known what other connections, if any, Carbutt had with the Retreat, but in the Retreat archive (RET 8/8/2) is a copy of a handbill which was issued by Carbutt in 1815 to support his cause during a dispute he was then having with a doctor competitor for the post of physician to the Manchester Infirmary.
As my son now lives in Copenhagen, I was interested to see two Copenhagen doctors signing the visitors’ books. Dr Franz Gothard Howitz of Copenhagen came on 9 August 1818 and Dr Carl Otto, came on 9 April 1822. These men were successively Professors of Forensic Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, and Otto also succeeded Howitz as physician to the Copenhagen prison. Howitz had argued that many of the criminals in the prison were in fact mentally disordered and could thus not be responsible for their crimes. Both he and, to an even greater extent, Dr Otto, were phrenologists (phrenologists believed that the size and shape of the skull indicated mental faculties and character traits). A closer reading of the Retreat visitors’ books shows that other phrenologists visited the Retreat. On 17 March 1817, for example,“B. Donkin  London, Craniologist, Disciple of Dr Spurzheim” came. Johann Spurzheim (1776-1832), a German physician, is famous as one of the chief proponents of phrenology. And in fact he himself had visited the Retreat only two months earlier, on 30 January 1817; recorded in the visitors’ book as “Dr Spursheim (Craniologist)”.

This is one of a series of blog posts published as material from the Retreat archive is digitised and made available online. More information about the Wellcome Library funded project to digitise the Retreat archive can be found on the project pages of our website. Digital surrogates from the Retreat archive project so far are available via the Wellcome Library.
Kath Webb
Borthwick Institute
May 2015

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The school books of Thomas Skaife

A month into Project Genesis and work has progressed from the horticultural records of James Russell to the Borthwick's ‘private deposits,’ a group of some fifty archives that range in date from the 11th to the 20th century and in subject from the manors of medieval Yorkshire to Colonial America and 1950s Nigeria. 
As you might imagine such a diverse group of archives contains more than a few gems, such as these exercise books used by Thomas Skaife while he was a student at ‘Mr A. Nesbit’s Academy, Manchester’ between 1822 and 1824.  
The title page of Thomas Skaife's copy book.

Such books are a rare survival among estate and family papers where you might more usually expect to find property deeds, household accounts and correspondence, making Thomas’  ‘Ciphering Book’ and beautifully penned copy books filled with mathematical tables, specimen problems and calligraphy all the more charming.
Specimen page from the copy book commemorating Admiral Nelson whose death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 was still within living memory.  The text reads 'To Heroes yet unborn shall Albion tell /How Nelson triumphed and how Nelson fell,' together with the famous signal sent from HMS Victory, 'England expects every Man to do his Duty.'
The Skaife family originated from Braisty Wood and Kirkby Malzeard in Yorkshire.  In the fifteenth century they had been keepers of the cattle for Fountains Abbey and the time of the Abbey’s dissolution in the sixteenth century Robert and William Skafe were the tenants of the Abbey’s lands in Braisty Wood.  In 1601 Thomas Skaife purchased a lease of Braisty Wood from Sir William Ingilby and the family settled there permanently, building a house there in 1656.  For the next nine generations the successive owners of the estate were named Thomas - presenting something of a challenge for the researcher – but it is possible the young Thomas Skaife who studied at Manchester was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Skaife who married in 1808.  Thomas Skaife the elder died at Manchester in 1855 and his son inherited the estate and later became a common councillor at Ripon.   The exercise books, together with other deeds and papers pertaining to the Skaife family, were donated to the Borthwick Institute in 1969.
Page from Thomas Skaife's 'Ciphering Book' showing specimen mathematical problems - in this case using measurements of wine and rum.
But what of the mysterious Mr A. Nesbit whose academy put such an emphasis on penmanship and practical arithmetic?  He was Mr Anthony Nesbit, the son of a Northumberland farmer who became a successful school teacher and was the author of several very popular textbooks on arithmetic, measurement and surveying in the nineteenth century.   His school, the ‘Classical, Commercial and Mathematical Academy’ opened in Oxford Street, Manchester around 1821 and remained there until 1841 when he moved the enterprise to London, establishing the ‘Classical, Commercial and Scientific Academy’ at Lower Kennington Lane in Lambeth.
Mr Nesbit died in 1859 but he was not the last of his family to make it into print.  His granddaughter Edith is still widely known today as the author of the bestselling novel ‘The Railway Children.’

Monday, 27 April 2015

'Who Do You Think You Are? Live!' 16-18 April 2015

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! (or WDYTYA, as it’s known) is the UKs biggest family history event. It’s estimated that over 10,000 visitors come each year to immerse themselves with everything that is on offer. For some, it’s pleasure, for others it’s a serious business. No visit is complete without a bag filled with handy leaflets, freebies and notes. Previously held at London’s Olympia until 2015, the show has been a staple of the family history calendar for some years now.

The show’s move this year to the NEC in Birmingham gave us a unique opportunity to take part. Sadly, for many archive services the costs of attending an event as large as WDYTYA are prohibitively expensive. With the event moving to Birmingham, we were able to team up with East Riding Archives and Local Studies, North Yorkshire County Record Office, West Yorkshire Archive Service and York Explore as the Consortium of Yorkshire Archives alongside and in partnership with the Yorkshire Group of Family History Societies.

The Consortium (as it became known) was able to offer leaflets, guides and general advice from each of the participating services. Staff from the Borthwick, East Riding and York Explore were able to come to the NEC and work on the stand - this would prove to be a fascinating experience, even if it was punishing on the feet!

If you haven’t been to WDYTYA, it’s hard to get a grasp of the size and scale of the show. Held in a vast hall in the NEC complex, it features stands from the major online family history providers; The National Archives, Imperial War Museum and countless local and family history societies, along with a multitude of other providers - anything from plastic wallets to full body massages seemed to be on offer.

Our home for the next three days...

I was able to be at the NEC to set up the stand and for the first two days of the event. Certainly, the setup session was unlike any other family history fair I’d seen - never have I had to dodge forklift trucks before, nor had a carpet hastily laid quite literally under my feet! After displaying our leaflets tastefully on our stand, it was time to go back to the hotel to rest up and prepare for the challenge ahead.

The walk to the hall the next morning was quite something  - note to future attendees, the NEC complex really is quite large. As the speakers boomed out that the show was open I began to get an idea of how busy the show was likely to be. Firstly, eager attendees with maps searching our particular groups they wanted to speak to; followed by others scoping out what was on offer. By 10:30am we were in full flow, a rush of friendly faces, questions and comments that didn’t seem to end until the show closed at 5:30pm

Day one!
The second day followed the same pattern as the first, though what really struck me was the variety of questions on offer. No two people were researching the same places and topics, though it was also fun to hear strangely similar queries - who knew Whitby had so many people wanting to research it? By the end of the three days, well over 1,000 people had visited the Consortium of Yorkshire Archives stand.

Thinking specifically about the Borthwick’s involvement, it was great to be there just to let people know about the amazing array of records we hold that can help them in their research. It was great to be able to highlight collections like our Parish records, Wills collection, and Cause Papers which could really enrich and flesh out the research that attendees were undertaking.

More to the point, it was just great to be able to meet so many people who were excited about the possibilities they could see in using our records, and who were just happy to see us there.

But, at the end of the third day, it was just great to have a sit down!

Next time....?