The Great Diary Project
Until 12 October 2014
Using documents from The Great Diary Project archive at Bishopsgate Institute, this exhibition offers insights into the lives of children and teenagers at particular moments in history. The diaries on display date from 1813 to 1996, showing changes in attitudes over time and demonstrating how an individual's unique voice can be captured in this very private kind of writing.
On public display for the first time, they include tales of flogging and bed bugs at boarding school during the Napoleonic Wars, early twentieth century American Scout diaries, as well as coded accounts of wild teenage behavior during the Blitz.
The Project began in 2011 with the private collection of historian Irving Finkel, who has been rescuing diaries for years, storing them in his office at the British Museum. Finkel and his team of researchers and volunteers recognised the importance of diaries as records of stories, language and intimate details about the way people live. The Great Diary Project aims to collect unwanted personal diaries as an invaluable record of social history to be used for future research; it accepts donations of diaries from all over the country.