Thank you

After three years, over 30,000 documents, and a lot of hard work, the Unlocking the Bankes Archive project has finally come to a close. We’d like to take this moment to say thank you to everyone who has engaged with the project over its lifetime. Firstly, a thank you to our funders, without whom the project […]

Memories of a Christmas ball

What do I remember of the 1791 Ball at Kingston Hall: a historical reconstruction loosely based on a letter Frances Bankes sent to her mother-in-law. (D-BKL H/G/1) Lady Bankes had eight other Ladies Maids join Nancy and myself in working at the tea table.  We all agreed to wear our new fashionable pink and white […]

Hairy archives…

A clump of human hair is not what you expect to find when cataloguing a historic archive. However, the keeping of loved ones’ locks was a more common practice in the years past, particularly before the camera became commonplace. The Bankes Archive is home to two different locks of hair, each telling their own tale. […]

George III and the royal eye hospital

Many families keep letters from famous people, and the Bankes family are no exception. The recently re-catalogued albums at DHC are fascinating – if there were portraits of the writers on the walls, this would rival the National Portrait Gallery! In a short visit I handled original letters written by three British monarchs, as well […]

Meet the team – Valerie

We thought you’d like to meet another member of our team. Valerie is one of the many people working on the Unlocking the Bankes archive project. We asked her a few questions so you can get to know her. Here’s what she said: What is your role with the project? I am a volunteer researcher – researching, as […]

Media magic from Yeovil College

The Unlocking the Bankes Archive project has involved in many different activities, from the essential cataloguing of the collection to fantastic outreach events. One of the, perhaps more unique, outputs has been the partnership with the media department at Yeovil College. Media students Patrick Walsh & Ollie Watkins-Ross worked with the Bankes project team to produce […]

Kingston Lacy’s VIP visitors

The visitor books of Kingston Lacy give an insight in to the comings and goings of a large country house. Although they did not open the house to the general public, H.J. Ralph Bankes (1902-1981) and Hilary Strickland-Constable (1908-1966) did allow particular visitors to see the fabulous collection of paintings, sculpture, furnishings and interior décor. […]

Final thoughts from our Project Archivist

After nearly three years and over 30,000 documents later, my time working on the Bankes Archive at Dorset History Centre is at an end. I wanted take the opportunity to write a summary of the project, pick out some highlights, and reflect on the process. _______________ Throughout the course of the last few years, I […]

Royal visitors to Kingston Lacy

Many VIP’s graced the doorstep of Kingston Lacy during the 20th century. These guests were asked to sign the visitor books, which we now hold in the Bankes Archive here at Dorset History Centre. These signatures include art critics, members of parliament, and even one of the Cambridge Five! In this blog, we will look […]

The Bentinck letters

Cast your mind back to the final episode of the hit TV series Victoria, where we saw Sir Robert Peel’s triumph in securing the Repeal of the Corn Laws and the tragedy of his losing office straight afterwards. A letter was sent soon after Peel’s resignation speech, written by Lord George Bentinck, whose savage personal […]

Some new exhibitions!

We have recently opened two new exhibitions at our project partner sites – Kingston Lacy and the Priest’s House Museum, that feature research and documents from the Bankes Archive. Read on to find out more! Beyond the Portrait In keeping with the centenary of women’s suffrage, and the theme of ‘Women and Power‘ across National […]

An unusual working woman

The years following the Industrial Revolution are sometimes cited as being when women’s lives became confined to the ‘domestic sphere’; as homemakers, wives and mothers. However receipts and bills preserved in the Bankes Archive show us fascinating examples of ordinary women at work outside the home in the 1780s and 1790s. Women in work The […]

It’s Volunteers’ Week 2018!

Happy Volunteers’ Week everyone! The Unlocking the Bankes Archive project would not be possible without the fantastic help of our volunteer teams. Thanks to their hard work and time, the project has been able to conserve, catalogue and share the wonders Bankes Archive over the last three years. The cataloguing team have catalogued and repackaged […]

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