An Edwardian Autograph Album

This item was discovered during a house clearance by Colin Greaves, who has very kindly allowed us to reproduce it here. It originally belonged to Beatrice Elizabeth Brooks, one of ten children of William and Kezia Brooks. William and his sons were joiners and wheelwrights living and working from Ivy Cottage, Cross Street (now Wilne Road) in Sawley. Like her older sister Kezia, who gave her the book for her 21st birthday, Beatrice became an elementary school teacher.

While there is something on 33 of the pages, there are only 22 contributors in just under 10 years. Clearly, Beatrice was very selective in her invitations. We must assume that these are people who meant a great deal to her.

Perhaps the most interesting author is Mary Clegg, the daughter of Samuel and Mary Clegg. Samuel Clegg was a teacher who, in 1910, became the first head of Long Eaton Grammar School and was a noted educationalist. Alexander, her brother (named after his teacher grandfather), was better known as Sir Alec Clegg, the director of Education for West Yorkshire in the 1960s and highly esteemed as an educational reformer. Mary married Frederick Attenborough, another educationalist. Two of their three sons also made significant contributions to education and achieved a certain fame in other fields: Richard and David.