In 2016 the Alfred Gillett Trust secured external funding from the Emily in Somerset Trust to catalogue one of the family collections held at the Grange following the successful and generous transfer of ownership of the collection from the creator’s heirs.
The funding has enabled the Trust to employ an experienced cataloguing archivist, two days a week, for one year to catalogue and digitise material held in the Margaret Clark Gillett (MCG) collection.
The project will primarily focus on Margaret, and her time spent working alongside Emily Hobhouse, who was outspoken about the poor treatment of women and children in concentration camps following the Boer War in South Africa. Margaret was a key figure in helping Emily Hobhouse raise awareness of the plight of the Boer people, and helped establish a spinning and weaving school in South Africa to help women affected by the war develop employable skills.
A team of volunteers are working alongside the cataloguing archivist to catalogue the complete collection. Elements of the collection demonstrating Margaret’s connections with relief work in South Africa, including letters and photographs, will be identified and catalogued to individual item level before being scanned making access and future research of this collection easier.
Having just completed the transcription of a number of Margaret’s diaries the volunteers are now sorting letters between Margaret and various members of her family and close friends, into date order in advance of the Project Archivist cataloguing the items. These items illustrate the personal lives of Margaret and her close family, demonstrating their interests and provide information about the Clarks factory at the time, the activities of various family members and friends as well as commenting on local, national and international events at the turn of the twentieth century.
Volunteer Lauren has said about the project, “It is fascinating looking into the life of Margaret, she was a loving and caring woman who enjoyed socialising with friends and spending time with her beloved family but she was also an independent woman with strong political views on women’s suffrage and looking out for those less fortunate than her. Despite severe bouts of home sickness, Margaret travelled all over South Africa, to school those in need, a remarkable lady and a great account of social history at the time.”
For more details about the MCG Digitisation Project, contact us.