I first got hooked with historical research when I started tracing my own family tree and discovered I am descended from a niece of JMW Turner, the renowned painter. Here I am visiting my family namesake village, Willett in Somerset – perfect for future place name studies!
Ahead of enrolling on the MA in Archives and Records Management, I spent some time working with historical material in a voluntary capacity, such as transcribing census returns for the Kingston Upon Thames Historical Society, assisting with genealogical enquiries, arranging hospital records and the glass plate photographic slides of Edward Muybridge. I was most fortunate to work with Jill Craigie, the wife of Michael Foot, MP and help organise and list her collection of suffragist memorabilia.
I left Kingston University in July 1999 with a BA (Hons) History 2.1 and then studied for a Masters in Archives and Records Management at University College London. On graduating in 2000, and becoming a Registered member of the Archives and Records Association, my experience has developed thus :
- June 2000 to May 2001, Project Archivist at The British Library, London cataloguing the family papers of the Earls Spencer of Althorp.
- May 2001 to September 2004, Assistant Archivist at The Women’s Library, London Metropolitan University. I worked on collections relating to women’s history, such as the suffrage movement, professions (medicine, law, education) and child care provision.
- September 2004 to July 2015, Collections Manager with the Mountain Heritage Trust, based in Penrith, Cumbria. Whilst here I was responsible for a collection of mountaineering and climbing based archives and artefacts, as well as recording the location of other relevant items around the UK and had the fortune to work on significant collections, such as the Papers of Sir Chris Bonington.
- September 2009 to March 2015, Archive Angel freelance work, projects included the registering of mineral rights on behalf of Lord Lonsdale and the Lowther Estate and the arrangement of the records of the Edinburgh Playhouse Society and safe deposit at the National Library of Scotland.
- August 2015 – May 2017, Project Archivist at North Yorkshire County Record Office working on the estate papers of the Graham family of Norton Conyers, Ripon, which go back to the fifteenth century. Charlotte Brontë stayed here and used the property as a model for Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre.
- July 2017 – March 2018, Project Manager for Ripon Re-Viewed, a digitisation project to preserve and make accessible some 8000 historic photographs on behalf of the Ripon Civic Society. www.riponreviewed.org showcases these fabulous images.
- September -October 2017, freelance archivist working on the Squire family papers of Holtby Hall dating back to the sixteenth century comprising deeds, letters, wills and journals documenting the life of this intriguing family.
- January 2018 – ongoing, Historical Researcher for two separate clients.