Two EM&HT Archivists retire this year (2017) after long and excellent service. Throughout they have dedicated themselves to the requirements of the Trust and the enquirers visiting the Museum. However alongside this dedication they have continued to pursue their own personal research interests in the history of property in Emsworth. Their aim was to gather information and documents relating to every property in Emsworth. An impossible task but one on which they made a significant assault.
As a result, the archive contains a vast amount of material, including sale and trade catalogues, plans, deeds and maps. The exercise has occupied some thirty years of their attention and has been mostly conducted over a time when the computer had no significant impact on local history research. Thus all the information has been painstakingly collected by “old fashioned legwork”, that is by directly visiting all of the relevant offices and collections in person. The record of these activities thus contains copious factual hand-written notes, which with great farsightedness, are largely referenced as to source. This gives a certain confidence in the reliability of the data for the user.
All of this considerable research data has been donated to Emsworth Museum and is currently being catalogued. Obviously this will take some time, and so in the meantime the Museum is mounting two exhibitions to advertise its possession of the archive. The first of these exhibitions, about people and families, ran in the spring of this year. What is now illustrated in this second exhibition is the property aspect of the collection.
This exhibition is much more modest in its objective. It seeks to alert and encourage use of the archive by would-be and established researchers. It can only offer a brief peek into the archive and indication of what is available. It should be emphasized therefore that what is presented here is highly selective and the personal choice of just one person.