A significant new acquisition
One important way in which the Friends of Gloucestershire Archives support the work of the Archives is by raising funds to purchase documents when judged essential for the Archives collections. Happily, in December we were able to secure several lots of material relating to Joy & Peter Evans of the Whiteway Colony which came up for sale by auction.
Joy Evans and her husband Peter lived and worked as members of Whiteway, making furniture. Joy was a daughter of Basil and Mary Robert, who had been invited from Holt in Norfolk to set up a craft-economy at Whiteway in the 1920s. Mary (a teacher specialising in forest schools) was also asked to establish a school. The two had met when Basil became a conscientious objector during the First World War. In due course, Joy and Peter’s son Alan continued the family’s association with rural crafts and industries, becoming a blacksmith and wrought iron worker.
Original workshop built to house the Cotswold Handicrafts Co-operative
Advert including Basil Robert, leatherworker, from Gloucestershire Countryside magazine 1932
As well as photographs and other Roberts family memorabilia, the lots purchased include sales ledgers and daily diaries for the Evans’ furniture business in the 1950s -early 60s. There are also earlier papers concerning Basil Roberts’s court appearances and Bristol based conscientious objectors in World War 1.
Robert family group, with members identified Student group, Spurgeon's College including George W Robert
A particular highlight of the collection is a file index of cards listing villages throughout Gloucestershire and the small craft businesses which operated there. It was compiled by Basil Roberts while Local Organiser for the Rural Industries Council and includes the trades and names of craftsmen for each village.
The newly acquired documents (accession 16622) complement the Whiteway Colony archive already held in the Archives (as collection D8709) and help advance our understanding of Gloucestershire’s important arts & crafts movement.
A big exhibition of Alan Evan's life work is planned for the Museum in the Park, Stroud in 2025.
Monogram for the Crypt school, Gloucester, 1954