Mary Trevelyan: From Child to Mother on Page Turners

The second instalment of digitized Trevelyan family albums is now available on Page Turners. A brief introduction to this resource and the Trevelyan albums was given in our launch post last month. We’re happy to say that a further three albums have now gone live, along with contextual information which allows you to search for individuals, places, or learn more about the images.

This group includes the first (although not the earliest) volume in the collection – Volume One. Begun in 1894, when Mary Katharine Trevelyan [Molly] was 13 or 14 years old, it gives a valuable insight into her life before her marriage to Charles Philips Trevelyan. Born into the Bell family, wealthy industrialists in Middlesbrough, Molly’s father Sir Hugh Bell had joined the family firm, becoming director of the Bell Brothers’ steelworks in the town. Her mother, Florence Bell nee Olliffe was an author and playwright. Her family’s is perhaps most famously known for her half-sister Gertrude Bell, the archaeologist and diplomat.

Picture of Molly by Lilian Bell, 1894 (CPT/PA/1)

Picture of Molly by Lilian Bell, 1894 (CPT/PA/1)

In the seven years covered by the album we see Molly and her extended family relaxing at properties in Red Car, Mount Grace and Sloane Street, London. There are also souvenirs from time spent in Germany in 1900, including concert programmes from Weimar and Berlin. The final few pages give an inkling of the following volumes’ content, as pictures from a visit to Wallington feature, with photographs of the impressive great hall and the exterior, as well as picnics with her future husband Charles on the estate which they would eventually manage together.

Great Hall at Wallington, 1903 (CPT/PA/1)

Great Hall at Wallington, 1903 (CPT/PA/1)

Volume three, which also appears in this group, shows the early years of Molly and Charles’ married life together (1904-1906). At this point, their lives were split between Cambo House on the Wallington Estate, and Great College Street, Westminster, this album begins with many photographs of the couples’ friends, visits to family at Stocks House (the childhood home of Charles’ sister in law Janet Trevelyan nee Ward), Welcombe (a second home of Charles’ parents George Otto and Lady Caroline Trevelyan) and Rounton Grange (the Bell family home, recently inherited by Molly’s parents). Their love of animals is evident in the frequent photographs of cats and dogs, which appear alongside newspaper cuttings discussing Charles’ career as Liberal Member of Parliament for the Elland constituency in Yorkshire. The album ends with the birth of their eldest child (and first of seven), Pauline Trevelyan (later, Pauline Dower).

Sir Hugh Bell and Pauline Trevelyan, 1905, CPT/PA/3

Volume five continues on from volume three (handwritten notes added later by Pauline state that ‘there never was a vol. 4 a mistake in the binding!’). This album includes the arrival of their next two children, George Lowthian [Geordie] and Katharine [Kitty]. This album includes many photographs of their three eldest children playing together when young, as well as photographs and souvenirs of Charles and Molly’s trip to Italy. Marriage is very much a key feature of this album, and many invitations to weddings of their friends and family are included, as well as photographs and souvenirs from the wedding of Molly’s sister Elsa to Admiral Sir Herbert William Richmond (the parents of Lady Bridget Plowden].

Molly with Pauline and George Trevelyan, 1907, CPT/PA/4

The content of these albums shows the shifting focus of Molly’s world as she transitions from a teenager in an industrialist family to being the wife of a politician and heir to a landed estate and the mother of three young children. Consistent to all the albums though, is the importance of family. The scrapbook style combination of private photographs, souvenirs and publications, gives an intriguing insight into both the private and public worlds of the Trevelyan and Bell families. One which will hopefully be further understood once the ongoing cataloguing of the family correspondence is complete.

Page Turners

Special Collections are pleased to announce the launch of their new online resource Page Turners. Using Turning the Pages software, Page Turners allows us to make some of the highlights of the bound volumes within our collections available within your browser. We’ve also added some information about the items to help with their interpretation. This post is to give you a brief overview of the first items we’ve made available, and consider how we might continue to make use of it to share our collections with you.

Petre’s Gradual is a 14th Century manuscript book containing ecclesiastical chants for services throughout the year. Very few graduals survive in Britain, with many having been destroyed during the Reformation. Early copies of this book had existed in the British Library, however the volume itself had been thought lost. It had in fact been held securely within Special Collections since the 1990s as part of a bequest from antiquarian book sellers Marjorie and Philip Robinson (after whom two of our library buildings are named). The volume then caught the eye of Dr Magnus Williamson during a teaching session in 2014. Since its rediscovery, the 500 year old polyphonic music it contains has been brought back to life with public performances. By featuring the Gradual on Page Turners, it can be appreciated, studied and used by scholars, musicians and any other interested parties, not just in Newcastle, but throughout the world.

Page from Petre's Gradual (ROB 405) 1

Page from Petre’s Gradual (ROB 405) 1

The second item now available leaps forward in time to the twentieth century. In 1914, Newcastle University’s Armstrong College was requisitioned for use as the 1st Northern General Hospital. During its lifetime, the hospital treated over 40,000 wounded servicemen. One of the individuals tasked with requisitioning the building, and contributing to its operation was Professor of Surgery Frederick Charles Pybus. The University holds Pybus’ archive of personal papers, and these include a volume listing the operations he performed while working at the 1st Northern. Based in Ward C, which is now the Hatton Gallery, the book lists over 1000 operations performed by Pybus. Now available on Page Turners, this resource will not only aid historians studying the war, the hospital or the University, but may also provide valuable information for family history researchers, tracing the movements of individual soldiers during the conflict.

Ward C Surgical Team (FP/1/3/9) 1

Ward C Surgical Team (FP/1/3/9) 1

The final item selected to launch Page Turners is actually the first instalment of an ongoing project. The University has held the personal papers of four generations of the Trevelyan family of Wallington since the 1960s. One of the most prominent members of the family was Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan (1870-1958). A Liberal then later Labour M.P., Sir Charles was the last of the Trevelyan Baronets to live on the family estate at Wallington and his Socialist beliefs led him to donate the estate to the National Trust in the 1930s. One of the most engaging areas of the Trevelyan archives is a collection of 39 photograph albums and scrapbooks created by Charles and his wife Lady Mary Katharine Trevelyan nee Bell [Molly] (daughter of industrialist Sir Hugh Bell and half-sister of Gertrude Bell). The albums reveal an intimate picture of Charles and Molly’s family life at Wallington and feature the couple’s six children, Pauline, George, Kitty, Marjorie, Patricia and Geoffrey. The albums have previously inspired an exhibition at the library, and in this first instalment, three volumes are being made available – Volume 8 (1917-1918), Volume 9 (1919-1921) and Volume 12 (1925). The family albums provide a captivating insight into the life of a landed, if somewhat unconventional family, from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, through both World Wars, to the early 1960s.

Page from Volume 12 (CPT/PA/11) 1

Page from Volume 12 (CPT/PA/11) 1

Page Turners gives us a fantastic opportunity to share unique items such as these from within our collections in a new way. We hope that you’ll enjoy browsing the materials available. If you have any comments about Page Turners and the items featured, or any suggestions of what you’d like to see next, do please get in touch.