Letters have always been a complex information source, allowing us to construct the social relationships and possible evolution of thoughts that is often missing from the historical account. Historian Gary Sheffield, who himself uses personal diaries and letters in his histories, leads this discussion with Alan Wilkinson and Martin Thomas.
Alan Wilkinson had just completed the history of a Hull food manufacturer and retail chain when the Chairman handed him a suitcase. Inside were 700 letters sent to his grandmother by his grandfather during his three-and-a-half years in the Flanders trenches, 1915-18. Alan's contribution to the discussion will centre on the tone and content of this correspondence, the ways in which he edited it, and how the material was supplemented through researches in Battalion Diaries.
Martin spent 17 years in libraries and archives in Britain and the United States discovering all about the woman whose name “was the name on the original 1804 deeds of my home at Glasfryn” in the village of Gresford in North Wales. He will talk about how he went about about discovering, deciphering, and editing the fascinating collection of letters, examining the voluminous evidence of life in the Court of George III with the experienced eye of a leading QC.
Sponsored by Sally & Dick Haines.