Its a beautiful frosty January morning and I’m sitting in a lovely room hidden in the heavens above Bangor University library, staring at four cardboard boxes.
The boxes look innocuous enough, but no one quite knows what’s inside and I can’t wait to delve into them because these are the first four boxes from the Penrhyn Castle Papers I’ll be cataloguing. They contain the family papers of the Pennant family of Penrhyn Castle dating mainly from the 19th and early 20th centuries, which have been held uncatalogued in the Bangor University Archives since they were received by the Welsh Assembly Government in lieu of death duties in 2010.
Given that the family were extremely influential in the area, as well as on their estates in Jamaica, and that aspects of their activities are now highly controversial (in particular their roles as slave owners and in the famous Penrhyn Strike) who knows what hidden histories these boxes contain. I feel extremely privileged to be given the opportunity to share their secrets.
I’ll be using this blog to record what I find, the mundane and the juicy, and hope that you will join me as I spend the next year delving into the past.
Please note that the Jamaica papers will not be part of this project, although that does not mean that there will not be any papers relevant to Jamaica within the boxes.