Heritage apprentice Anna gives us an insight into her time at Dorset History Centre

Date Created: 17th Oct 2017

Anna Wreyford apprenticeship

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As part of her Level 3 Creative Apprenticeship Anna is working at three partner sites across Dorset; The Priest’s House Museum & Garden, Dorset History Centre and Kingston Lacy. Here she gives us an insight into her work in the archives at the second of her three placements…

Dorset History Centre is such a cool place to work! I have had so many opportunities to try new and exciting things.
I spend my Monday’s cataloguing business correspondence for the mid-late 20th century. Letters between land agents and accounting firms makes up the majority of this collection. Whilst this might seem like a dry subject, these documents do hold some interesting titbits of information. Ice cream wars at Badbury Rings and allotment sales in Colehill can be surprisingly entertaining, and give an insight into Dorset in the 1960s.

Close up of district valuer letter

Example of correspondence from D-BKL/E/H/2/45

To better understand Dorset History Centre and the many ways to use it, I often work with the front-of-house team. Dorset History Centre holds so many fascinating documentsthat can support many different areas of research, from genealogy, to the history of a house, to a detailed dissertation. I was surprised that anyone can view original documents for free! It is an invaluable resource, and I thoroughly enjoy being a part of that service.

One of the best parts of my job is having access to the wonders of the Bankes collection. I’m often asked if I have a favourite document, but the archive holds such a huge range of documents that it is far too difficult to narrow it down! I do love reading the letters family members wrote to each other – the Bankes were extensive travellers and often wrote to each other from exotic locations around the world.

It is great fun to work with the wonderful team of volunteers that support the Bankes Archive project. I support the creation and management of the website content, and work with our team of researchers. We often get excited when discovering an interesting document or researching a new topic. Both the cataloguing and research teams hold so much information about the Bankes family – in every conversation I learn something new.

Close up of old heritage letter at the Dorset History Centre

Letter from Henry Bankes III to Margaret Wynne from Rome 1760 | D-BKL/H/G/91

I also support the project during promotional events around the county. In August I attended the Summer Fete at the Priest’s House Museum. Myself and Emma (Bankes Archive Project & Engagement Officer) had a great day chatting to people about the project. Our kids activities seemed to go down well with the grown-ups too!

Teachers drawing together on a red table

Working on the Unlocking the Bankes Archive project has been such an enjoyable experience so far, and I cannot wait to see what the next year brings!

Words: Anna Wreyford

First Published: 27/09/2017


For 15 – 25 yrs Museums Work-based learning

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