Following the success of our ‘Behind the Scenes’ repository tours we are currently running tours based on specific themes – the first was ‘Kew in the Archives’. Here is a selection of some of the original documents we chose for our display.
One file (MAF 328/24) contains a claim received by The Royal Botanic Gardens for injuries and loss caused by a particularly savage squirrel, which apparently attacked a lady visitor unprovoked, tearing her dress and stockings and breaking her necklace.
The incident apparently forced the victim to prematurely end her holiday and return to her home in Wales, as well as developing a phobia of walking beneath trees. A solicitor’s letter enclosed acknowledges on behalf of the Gardens that although the incident would have caused distress, they cannot be held responsible for ‘damage caused by wild animals naturally present on the land’.
They would not, therefore, agree to pay any compensation.
The Public Record Office moved the majority of its holding from their former home in Chancery Lane to the new purpose-built Kew site in 1977. The Brutalist architecture of the building, so named for the raw concrete finish (béton brut) was a popular style at the time and used in several other London sites such as the Barbican centre, the South Bank and Trellick tower.
We hold an album of photographs showing the construction of, and transfer of records to, the Public Record Office, Kew, from 1977.
This series of photographs depicts the building during and shortly after opening. Although some major changes have taken place since then, other things (these reading room tables for example) are still very much in use today. Continue reading »