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Foyle Special Collections Library

King's College London


Hand Writing History: 200 Years of Personal Diaries

I called John Wilby, Gift Collections Coordinator of the Foyle Special Collections Library at King’s College London to see if an exhibition of my diaries, combined with the diaries in their archive, would be interesting to show in their Maughan Library exhibition space. I had previously seen a classical music concert and also an exhibition of poetry books from the 1950s in these former Public Records Offices.

I then had a meeting with Katie Sambrook, Head of Special Collections & Engagement, John Wilby and Adam Ray from the library to present the idea and to show them images of the previous exhibitions of my collection of personal pocket diaries. A few weeks later they drove to Bungay in Suffolk, where I store the diary collection, and they spent the day looking through my pocket size personal diaries and notebooks. They came back two more times and made final decisions about specific diaries they would want exhibit.

In this extraordinary hall, with vast vaulted ceilings from the 18th century and immense stained-glass windows, are nine large cabinets, and each display shows a combination of my diary collection and a selection of diaries from the archive at King’s.
The exhibition starts at the year 1800 and the viewer walks through two centuries of regular peoples’ lives to the year 2000.

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