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 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 primarily focused 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 worked alongside the cataloguing archivist to catalogue the complete collection which, following detailed cataloguing, has been more appropriately retitled the Gillett collection. Pertinent elements of the collection demonstrating Margaret’s connections with relief work in South Africa, including letters and photographs, have been catalogued to individual item level and digitised improving access and future research of this aspect of the collection.
Further to the South African content material held in this collection illustrates the personal lives of Margaret and her close family, demonstrating their interests and provides information about the Clarks factory at the turn of the twentieth century, the activities of various family members and friends as well as commenting on local, national and international events at this time.
Completed in May 2018 the Gillett collection has drawn interest from researchers across the country, including the project team behind the Emily Hobhouse letters project. This project concluded with a touring exhibition that was hosted by the Alfred Gillett Trust in October 2019.