Over the last year we have started some really exciting research based projects. In addition to our transcribing project we have also dispatched some of our lovely volunteers to the Gloucester Records Office. Historically the National Trust tends to share archival material with local records offices where they can be more useful and accessible to visiting researchers. At Gloucester they have lots of interesting ephemera relating to Snowshill Manor and Charles Wade. After discussions with the lovely archive team it was decided that a small number of volunteers with knowledge of Charles and his collection would travel to Gloucester to catalogue the written material.
This project has led to some great discoveries that we will be sharing with you on the blog. It has helped to put events into context and we have gained an even more insightful view into Charles Wade and the life he lived at Snowshill. In this post our volunteer Alan would like to share with you some extracts from the letters he has been cataloguing.
“Amongst all the letters at Gloucester are fascinating comments that have further increased my admiration & affection for Mr Wade. I find discovering them really heart-warming (& worth all the time it has taken me to process). Getting inside the heads of the letter writers is also proving a revelation to me. Trying to summarise long rambling letters is somewhat tricky, but for juicy bits like some of my favourites below I am incorporating into the system upload so that they can be searched by anyone”
Letter to Mary Wade from Dr James Hutchison, 12 September 1956
“Charles was, for all his difficulties, one of the most colourful and competent people I have ever met. The ‘Treasure House’ at Broadway is a memory which will never fade. His childlike delight with some antique pills from an antique medicine chest – the clocks and little inscriptions over the doorways. These are memories of an extraordinary man.”
Letter to Mary Wade from Wilfrid Walter, 2 July 1956
“Dear old Charles! – so wonderful, unique, & most loveable. He was too independent to care much about the opinions of others – & yet – I wish someone could make a little book about him – full of illustrations of his drawings & let people know what a rare job he made of Snowshill – such beauty he did create”
Letter to Mary Wade from Wyndham Payne, 30 June 1956
“He has done much by his life’s work in presenting things of beauty, which by his devotion have been handed on for the enjoyment of posterity & it is indeed fitting that he should now rest peacefully where so much of this was done”
Letter to Mary Wade from Frank Bromhead, 3 July 1956
“Charles always appeared to me to be very happy & contented with his wonderful home & beautiful surroundings. I shall continue to think of him resting peacefully in the shadow of the graceful home he loved so much”
Letter from G Hamilton Goddard after a visit in August 1929
“I have no words to express our admiration and wonderment at the many things we were privileged to see – so original in design and so unique in execution were they. We shall discuss for a long time to come the marvels of your Manor, its delightful gardens and, if I may say so, the extraordinary skill, industry and taste of its owner”
Many thanks to Alan and the team at Gloucester. We will be sharing some more updates from the team soon