The centenary of the First World War (1914-1918) has generated a great deal of new research. It has brought to the fore stories that have enabled us to learn a lot more about our country’s history, many of which had, until this point, been widely unknown.
Marking this four year period has focused the minds not only of individuals but also businesses and organisations, encouraging us to take a closer look at the affect the Great War had on ordinary lives. The Natural History Museum is one such organisation, and October saw the publication of A Museum at War: Snapshots of life at the Natural History Museum during World War One written by Karolyn Shindler (Library and Archives Associate).
The art of writing a cheque is somewhat of a lost one these days, what with direct debits and online transfers revolutionising the way in which we pay our bills. However discovering a box of cheque book stubs within the remnants of the Tring Correspondence (in the Natural History Museum Archives) has given me a vital source of evidence for tracing the history and finances of the Natural History Museum at Tring.
Within the box there are surviving cheque stubs for the years 1895 through to 1897, a key period in the museums history. Lord Walter Rothschild (1868-1937) had begun to employ staff, furnish and expand his museum and of course, buy large existing collections of specimens from other private collectors and smaller ones from natural history dealers and suppliers, in order to enhance his own rapidly growing collection of zoological specimens.