One of the pleasures of working on the Attics and Acres project has been meeting and working alongside all the wonderful volunteers who have contributed their valuable time to work on the archive of the Graham Family of Norton Conyers.
There are over forty people involved, who come in on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, or work remotely from their own home; the furthest based volunteer actually lives in Somerset, but his family is from North Yorkshire.
The papers not only relate to the North Yorkshire estates of Norton Conyers (including Wath and Melmerby) and Nunnington, but also further afield in Kippax, West Yorkshire plus Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Lincolnshire and London amongst others. The types of records range from letters and financial papers, such as vouchers, to medieval court rolls and deeds with some intriguing seals, one of which dates to the short five year reign of Bloody Mary (1553-1558), together with diaries and photographs as well as small square packets containing locks of hair and baby teeth and a fragment of Charlotte Brontë’s dress!
The volunteers have been involved in a variety of tasks such as document cleaning, arranging, listing, seal-pocket making, re-housing, digitisation, leaflet dropping and transcribing as well as one volunteer dressing up as Mrs Elizabeth Cage of Kippax Hall for the Archives at Dusk event. Since starting in September 2015, the number of hours accrued to the end of August 2016 is 2092 which equates to 56½ working weeks – a phenomenal achievement, which highlights how valuable their contribution is.
During that time we have been able to clean, re-house and catalogue the personal papers of the Grahams and associated families (Musgrave, Baronets Esk, Baildon, Slingsby and Cage) as well as make good inroads into cleaning, listing and re-housing title deeds and estate papers.
The project launch takes place on the 28th October, featuring a talk by Stephen Moorhouse, a landscape historian with over ten years knowledge of the Norton Conyers Estate, with an opportunity to see the travelling exhibition plus a few items from the collection itself, which will be on display until mid-December. An online version of the travelling exhibition is available to view here. Or you can view specially selected items on Flickr.
NYCRO should like to take this opportunity to extend a huge thank you to everyone involved with this project and for the most generous support of all concerned.