Manuscripts and Special Collections

Who Do You Think You Are? visits the University of Nottingham

August 10th, 2010 at 04:08

Monty Don and the Who Do You Think You Are? crew visiting Manuscripts and Special Collections

Monty Don and the Who Do You Think You Are? crew visiting Manuscripts and Special Collections

Gardener and writer Monty Don was just one of the many people who visit Manuscripts and Special Collections each year on a mission to use original documents to find out more about the past – but he was the only one who brought a film crew along with him!

The programme’s researchers had discovered that a number of letters relating to the Hodge and Kirke families had a bearing on Monty’s family history. He was shown a letter from his great-great grandfather, Rev. Charles Hodge, written in New Zealand in 1857. The letter (Wr C 355) was written to Charles’s brother-in-law St George Kirke, and describes the rough conditions of pioneer life that Charles and his family were experiencing near Christchurch. The Kirke family were related to Edward M. Wrench of Baslow in Derbyshire, who kept a large family archive, including hundreds of letters. The archive was transferred to the University of Nottingham in a number of stages in the early 1960s, and is now known as the Wrench Collections. Items within the archive are described on our online catalogue.

Monty also saw a printed pamphlet addressed by the Rev. Charles Hodge to his parishioners at Clarborough near Retford in 1847. The original pamphlet is privately owned but a copy is available in the East Midlands Collection.

The programme following Monty Don’s genealogical research was first broadcast on BBC1 on Monday 9 August 2010 and can be seen again – if you missed it – on the BBC website.

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