It was good to break up lockdown with a Content Development Report on Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings for designers Mather. The research for this £20m project was fascinating. The Flaxmill was the world’s first iron-framed and therefore fireproof building. It later became a Maltings for beer and housed light infantry in the Second World War. But English Heritage want more than a standard story of mill owners and poor workers, so it was particularly interesting to dig into the work the Friends of SFM have been undertaking on the real lives of local working people – and the influence they had on factory reform.
The new exhibition in Westminster Hall at the Houses of Parliament, `Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament’ has opened to excellent press coverage. Designers Metaphor have created an evocative structure, with recreated spaces, wonderful objects from the Parliamentary Archives and private collections, clearly told accounts of the women who fought for the vote (and a few who fought against it), and thought-provoking questions for the visitor. It was a privilege to be part of the team that researched, wrote and moulded these stories.
The photos show the final `Chamber’ set, the exhibition in Westminster Hall, Lady Peers and MPs and the infamous `Cage’, the Victorian viewing gallery for Ladies.
My latest research work at Silverstone has unearthed the story of Luffield Priory, the abbey complex on the site. It’s a fascinating tale of medieval life – and monastic misbehaviour – largely lost under the plough and the JCB but coming to life from the records and the digs. And I took an excursion into circus history to track down the elephant who visited the circuit in the 1950s!
What a great job! I’ve just completed researching the history of RAF Silverstone and have now turned to the racing history of the site for the Silverstone Heritage Live Project. Silverstone’s owners, the British Racing Drivers Club, are leading this multi-million pound visitor experience, and I’m working directly with designers Mather and Co and the BRDC Archive.
`Belvedere Village – Victorian Prayers and Profit’ is a primary source- based article on the rapid development of Upper Belvedere in the 1800s. It’s a tale of pubs and patrimony, crooks and committees, old salts, villas and watercress. `Bygone Kent’ is the magazine of Kent’s history and `Belvedere Village’ will appear shortly.
I’ve been copyediting and copywriting text for the redevelopment of The Green Howards Museum in Richmond in Yorkshire. Everyone’s hard work – especially the museum staff and designers Studio MB – has come to fruition in a great new museum. They had financial support from the HLF and their Friends and local community – and over 200 people crammed into the opening. I’m really pleased to have been part of this excellent project.