17 March 2014:

A student's archive experience


As a History and Politics student volunteering in the Royal Marines Museum for Amy Hurst (Curator of Archives), I have learned a lot in my short time here.

Even with my leisurely (but productive) one day a week schedule I have already experienced foxing (browning spots on pages), Adlib (archiving software), the maze of the museum, and of course tea breaks!

In this blog I will give you a brief insight into the daily duties and discoveries of the museum archives. My role so far at the museum has involved various types of cataloguing, including books and maps with the latter being the topic of discussion today.

While cataloguing the maps, a process which involves noting down the key features and information of the maps and designating them a shelf for future reference, we came across an interesting discovery.

An accessioned map of Gallipoli in the First World War was found to match a newly purchased collection of hand drawn maps by Jonathan Hanson Lawson of the Royal Naval Davison and the 8th Army Corps. Lawson, an Officer, Lieutenant and later Captain held a keen interest in cartography.

The collection shows how his skills developed throughout the war. The collection titled “GALLIPOLI SOUTHERN ZONE APRIL 25TH 1915 - JANUARY 9TH 1916” contains 43 highly detailed trench maps and numerous rare artefacts such as a 1st edition of the “Dardanelles Drivelller”, a troops newspaper.

Also present in the collection is evidence of a correspondence with General Ian Hamilton, the commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. Subsequent to receiving one of Lawson’s maps in June 1916, General Hamilton replied stating that he had placed the map in his study and encouraged Lawson to visit him. Many believe that Lawson later became an unofficial cartographer for General Hamilton.

For more information on John Hanson Lawson or the Royal Marines feel free to visit the museum. I hope you have enjoyed reading my first blog for the museum, continue following this blog for more information and discoveries.