One of the most striking things about working with archives is how personal some of the pieces are. The time, detail and effort that have been put into creating them are breath-taking. Sometimes, it almost makes you abashed to be reading something so personal or holding something that would have been so precious to someone. It makes the past an intimate experience, creating emotional connections through time…
The book of ‘Cycling Rambles’ is such a perfect example of this. Written by J. F. C. Ansell, circa 1920, this leather-bound, hand- written account tells of his travels around the country. It includes water-colour pictures of the places visited, making it truly unique.
As you can see, its borders are all hand drawn and individual.
Ansell also collected some beautiful postcards along the way.
I hope this gives you a taster of some of the more unexpected treasures that the MRC holds. Not only do these ‘rambles’ give you an extraordinary taste of J. F. C. Ansell’s life but some unique perspectives into his destinations. His thoughtfulness and variety makes it a pleasure to read, and his collections of art make it a pleasure to look at.