Frank W. Gregory Collection

Working on Frank’s collection

February 05th 2010 by Ron Cookson

The huge amount of volunteer input that we have received for the Frank Gregory Online Project has helped to ensure its success.

Left: Trustee Derek Stidder, aided by Colin Smith, loading the collection at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum.

The mammoth task of organising and identifying thousands of unidentified images was undertaken by the Archive's skilled volunteer team based in Reading and an expert panel formed by members of the Sussex Mills Group.

In Sussex, members and friends of the Sussex Mills Group established the Frank Gregory Expert Group to help identify and catalogue the many thousands of 35mm slides in Frank's collection. The group met regularly at West Blatchington Mill in Hove. With the aid of a digital projector, each slide was viewed in turn and a general consensus reached as to the subject and date of the slide and the location of the mill it depicted. Some of the slides presented more of a challenge than others!

Volunteer teams based near the Mills Archive's headquarters in Reading met at Watlington House on a weekly basis to push forward with the reorganisation, cataloguing, indexing and digitising of the photographic and documentary material. Ken Kirsopp and Elizabeth Trout - two of the Archive's longstanding volunteer cataloguers - organised and produced finding aids for all the documents in the collection.


Mills Archive volunteers scan, index and catalogue the material at Watlington HouseMills Archive volunteers scan, index and catalogue the material at Watlington House.


Some of the 120 boxes, of all shapes and sizes, that housed the collection before we startedSome of the 120 boxes, of all shapes and sizes, that housed the collection before we started


The Collection was gradually repackaged after sorting. This process always increases the amount of shelf space neededThe Collection was gradually repackaged after sorting. This process always increases the amount of shelf space needed.


Large drawings need even more space and are difficult to handle without damageLarge drawings need even more space and are difficult to handle without damage.


Volunteer Workshops

Frank Gregory workshop, West Blatchington

Volunteers together after the workshop at West Blatchington

As well as the regular meetings of the Sussex-based expert group, we organised two review workshops to discuss progress and enjoy together some of the gems we had found. These were held at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Singleton in August 2009 and at West Blatchington Windmill, Hove in April 2010. The volunteers were joined by Friends of the Mills Archive and people who knew Frank.


Elizabeth introduces Frank's biography at West BlatchingtonElizabeth introduces Frank's biography at West Blatchington


Derek Stidder, Peter Hill, Bob Bonnett, Margaret Croker and Hugh Howes at Weald and DownlandDerek Stidder, Peter Hill, Bob Bonnett, Margaret Croker and Hugh Howes at Weald and Downland.


Peter Casebow, Jeff Best and Rodney de Little sitting in front of Elizabeth Trout and Rob Shorland-Ball, Weald and DownlandPeter Casebow, Jeff Best and Rodney de Little sitting in front of Elizabeth Trout and Rob Shorland-Ball, Weald and Downland


Chris Wilson and Luke Bonwick during the lunch break at the Weald and Downland workshopChris Wilson and Luke Bonwick during the lunch break at the Weald and Downland workshop.


Elizabeth Trout and Michael Harverson during the lunch break at Weald and DownlandElizabeth Trout and Michael Harverson during the lunch break at Weald and Downland.


Bob Bonnett and Jeff Best during the lunch break at Weald and DownlandBob Bonnett and Jeff Best during the lunch break at Weald and Downland.


Interested in viewing this collection?

You can visit us at the Mills Archive if you would like to view any of our collections. Just register your interest in making a visit and we'll liaise with you to arrange a suitable date and time.

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