The young volunteers visit Wolverhampton City Archives

We had a brilliant day at the archives on Wednesday with our own room at the top of the building. Nicola introduced the archives to the young volunteers and explained the materials she had selected.  The young people were especially keen to touch and read the letters from Jesse Hill and Sergeant Noble, people who they clearly felt they were beginning to know. Nicola passed around very fragile letters in protective plastic covers, and some of the volunteers read them aloud. We talked about the content and tone of the letters, especially those that were written just days before Jesse was killed.

Letter to Maggie Hill [WAVE: DX554/3/2]
We all read the letter sent to Jesse's wife Maggie  from Sergeant Noble in February 1917 telling her that Jesse was killed on January 29th. Sergeant Noble describes Jesse as ‘one of my most reliable men, always cheerful under adverse circumstances and indeed a great credit to me’.

Maggie’s letter back to Noble thanks him for the letter and asks if  Jesse ‘was killed outright or wether (sic) he lived only for a few moments to enable him to say a few words about his home and family’. The letter was returned to Maggie, which suggests that she never received her answer.  Nicola also showed Jesse's 'Soldier's Small Book'  and explained how the book was issued to all recruits as a record of service and with information and instructions as to their kit, other ranks, cleaning, cooking, drill, guard patrol and other duties.

Some of the young volunteers were led through online genealogical research by Liz, their family backgrounds included ancestors from Hungary to the Phillippines, reflecting Wolverhampton's ever increasing diversity. Many thanks to Dr Nicola Gauld and genealogist Liz Palmer representing the People's Heritage Co op. 
Discussions ensue as the group of volunteers study the letters, documents and images.
Jesse Hill's 'Small Book' [WAVE: DX554/1]
Matt Hinks