Susan Hopton has been volunteering for our Service for over three years and during those years we’ve got to know her really well! Susan is a genuinely kind and wonderful person whose hard work, dedication and enthusiasm have been an asset to our service. She’s passionate about all aspects of history and was more than happy to share her experience of transcribing a hand-written 19th century document to a wider audience:
‘Hello, my name is Susan! I have been a volunteer at Bury Archives since April 2012. I had recently had to retire due to ill health and wanted to do something to keep my mind active. I had always been interested in history and felt that working in an archives environment would enable me to awaken that interest once again.
At first I helped repackage various photographs – this was interesting! Seeing the changing fashions and also past events that had happened locally. One event was Queen Mary’s visit to Hoghton Tower and pictured the royal party being transported in a fleet of Daimlers. Repackaging the photographs was a rewarding exercise not just because of the subject matter portrayed but it gave me a chance to view what was going on around it – looking at the wider picture! I still enjoy repackaging photographs and if I come upon an album I will study all the images in detail.
As a volunteer, I was thrilled to be asked to transcribe the Journals of Samuel Mason dating 1812-1827. This was fascinating! Samuel was a farmer and his journals give an account of his everyday life at Poppythorn Farm, Prestwich. From his writing it can be established what was important to him – this being: his farm, stock, finances, workers, family and his health. By today’s standards, the journals depict a harsh way of life but it had to be endured if he was to support himself, farm and family.
Currently, I am involved in box-listing. For me this is literally an exercise to discover what the Archives holds in its many boxes. Much is un-catalogued and it’s these which often bring about hidden gems like highly decorated scrolls (given to a person for long service). Of equal interest are Orders of Service/programmes for many occasions such as the opening of Bury Town Hall as well as the opening of stand Chapel.
I enjoy volunteering at the archives! Gilli (the archivist), Nic and Wendy (assistants) are very helpful as well as knowledgeable. And Adam is very helpful with his local knowledge and expertise with family trees.
Both myself and my fellow volunteers really enjoy ourselves in the Archives even if we sometimes leave with grubby hands and faces after going through dusty, dirty documents! It is the mystery of the boxes (and what they might contain) which keeps us coming back!’
Susan’s love of history has served her well as she did a fantastic job of transcribing the journals!