In amongst all the draft poems, correspondence and papers of the U.A. Fanthorpe can be found many items that at first wouldn’t seem relevant to a collection of papers belonging to a poet. On closer examination however, each item has its own unique place in the collection, often directly associated with several other items. They include magazines, newspapers, postcards, diaries, booklets and pictures and are tangible aspects of the wide ranging research that U.A. undertook when writing a poem.
One such example is the diary of Daniel Iles, a Gloucestershire farmer living in the late 1800s. This extract dates from January 1880 and gives details of the weather, jobs undertaken and events throughout the year. It was used by U.A, alongside material on Disraeli and Monet, during her research into the way that the extreme winter weather of 1879-1880 affected their lives.
The diary entries for January indicate that the weather was variable, with frosty, fine and stormy days and even one spell of snow that lasted all day until it was about 6 inches deep! The farmers had many jobs to do such as ploughing, feeding and moving the sheep and they travelled widely within the county – Coalpit Bottom, Upton, Sodbury and Horton are just some of the places mentioned that Daniel travelled to from Wotton-under-Edge.
Although it was the diary entries that were of interest for UA Fanthorpe’s research, it also includes many other sections of information which are now of interest from a historical view point, such as an Almanack for the year, a list of stamp duties, University term dates, postal charges and London cab fares.
For example, Friday 30th January was the last day for dog licensing and also the end of the partridge and pheasant shooting season, the Solicitor- General of Ireland was H. Holmes, Esq. and the fare for a two-wheeled London cab for any time not exceeding one hour was 2/6.
University Archives & Special Collections Reference: UAF/2/E/X/56
Further details on the U. A. Fanthorpe Collection can be found at: http://insight.glos.ac.uk/departments/lis/archives/Pages/fanthorpe.aspx