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 part of a team, Frances Bankes and, particularly, her connections with the 1891 Ball and horticulture.

What is your favourite item in the archive?

Frances Bankes’ diary for her visit, with her husband Henry and daughter Maria, to Paris (October – November 1815) at the end of the Napoleonic War. The comments on the country side, the accommodation and the people mean you can easily visualise the journey or even follow it on a modern map.

Frances Bankes’ diary of her journey in Paris, 1815 | D-BKL/H/I/15

What is the best part of your role with the project?

Providing primary evidence to prove and disprove assumptions made about the past. The freedom to follow a research lead and add information from other parts of the DHC archives has brought the names in the Bankes Archive to life.

What do you hope the project will have achieved?

Provide a more in-depth and accurate insight into lives of all involved in the Bankes estates in Dorset, especially where several generations of families can be followed.

If you could go back to any period in time, when would it be?

Winter 1835-1836 to see the planting of the Beech Avenue. I would really enjoying interviewing all the workers to check their details then match with what can be discovered in the archives today.

Describe what it is like working with the project in three words.

Enjoyable, stimulating, exciting.

Published: 24/9/2018

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