2016 - 2018 The Project

Mary amassed a huge archive of written notes, diaries and slides during her life. With her support, SEWBReC, along with the Wildlife Trust of South and West WalesMerthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, the British Institute for Geological Conservation, Cardiff Naturalists’ SocietyAmgueddfa Cymru – National Museum WalesGlamorgan Archives, and the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre, developed an application for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) that would enable Mary's archive to be digitised and made available to more people. It was also an opportunity to tell some of the stories of this pioneering and hard-working naturalist.

Funding from HLF was secured and the Mary Gillham Archive Project commenced in February 2016. Through the commitment and enthusiasm of more than 70 volunteers Mary's archive has come to life, with over 100,000 wildlife records available to search online, 20,000 slides digitised and transcribed, a series of outreach events, oral history recordings, retellings of some of Mary's more adventurous trips, as well as a botany mentorship scheme to help a new generation of budding botanists develop their botanical skills.

Mary's archive now resides in Glamorgan Archives and the digital material has been lodged with the National Library of Wales project: People's Collection Wales

The Mary Gillham Archive Project begins!

1 February 2016

Day one of the Heritage Lottery Funded Mary Gillham Archive Project

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Project update

June 2016

5 months into the project and we're getting up to speed...

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Gellideg event

9 June 2016

Our first outreach event - In Gellideg fields, near Merthyr

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At the entrance to the Pwll Waun Cynon reserve, 2016

Pwll Waun Cynon - Walking in the footsteps of Mary Gillham

3 September 2016

All week I looked up the weather forecast for Mountain Ash in the Cynon Valley hoping for good news and on some days (aaah blessed Thursday), the met office told me it would be dry.

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Nat our first placement student begins

19 September 2016

Nat was our first PTY (professional training year) student from Cardiff University.

Project update II

November 2016

10 months in and we're really crunching those numbers...

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Tricholoma sp

Fungi walk at Draethen

6 November 2016

Walking in the Footsteps of Mary, members of the Mary Gillham Project, the Cardiff Group of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and some independents joined the Glamorgan Fungus Group in the Llwyn Hir woods (near Draethen) in search of fun(gi).

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Explore Your Archives

November 2016

As part of the Explore Your Archives campaign we wrote a week of blogs about Mary’s archive, her travels, writing style, the people she worked with and more!

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Gwent-Glamorgan Recorder’s Conference

21 January 2017

Both Nat and Al spoke about the project at the Gwent-Glamorgan Recorder's Conference

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Project update III

February 2017

At the halfway stage of the project...

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Mary’s teaching collection uncovered

February 2017

When we started the Mary Gillham Archive Project we knew that, whilst we inherited a huge volume of materials, there were gaps in it, not least where was Mary’s natural history collection? Well,  a chance discussion has answered that question … at least in part!

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British Science Week event at Llanwonno

14 March 2017

British Science Week is a celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths and we took the opportunity to share our passion for wildlife at the Daerwynno Outdoor Centre.

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A boot full of slides

Meeting Mary’s family

April 2017

We meet Mary's family and the project gains more notes and a further 15 000 slides!

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Mary’s archive used for an undergraduate thesis

June 2017

Lucy, one of the project volunteers, used Mary Gillham's archive as inspiration for her undergraduate thesis. She wrote a thesis on the thought process behind a museum display... and then created one which you can see here!

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Women in the History of Natural Sciences conference

June 2017

The Society for the History of Natural History organised a conference about Women in the History of Natural Sciences and so the Mary Gillham Archive Project just had to attend!

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Yellow toadflax

Grangemoor - Walking in the Footsteps of Mary Gillham

15 July 2017

‘Alien invaders’ is a phrase with many meanings… A plant, for example, can be an described as alien if it comes from a different country but it also can be invasive if it has popped up in a different habitat to its usual surroundings.

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Project update IV

August 2017

Heading into the home stretch of the project...

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Mary Gillham Archive Project on Flat Holm

12 August 2017

Inspired by Mary Gillham's love of islands the Mary Gillham Archive Project joined forces with SEWBReC and biological recorders from around Wales to spend the weekend on Flat Holm to see what species we could find.

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Cathy our second placement student begins

29 August 2017

Cathy was our second PTY (professional training year) student from Cardiff University.

Cardiff Naturalists’ Society 150th anniversary

September 2017

The Cardiff Naturalists' Society is celebrating it's 150th Anniversary with an exhibition at the Cardiff Story Museum. Mary Gillham, former-President of the Society (1974-75) and long-term member, was one of the people to be featured. Click the names to find out more about the history of the Cardiff Naturalists' Society or Mary Gillham

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Coed y Bedw - Walking in the Footsteps of Mary Gillham

9 September 2017

Members of the Mary Gillham Project, WTSWW and 15 others went for a wonderful wander awound Coed y Bedw Nature Reserve.

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Curry Fund funding!

14 September 2017

We received a small grant from the Curry Fund, managed by the Geologists' Association, to mine out the geologically important material from Mary's archive

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Cathy with her 200 hours volunteering MV certificate

Millennium Volunteers

November 2017

Cathy reaches 200 hours of volunteering for the project and is rewarded with a certificate from Millennium Volunteers. Nat also reached this target and Archie scored a 50 hours certificate. Well done heroes.

Mary Gillham and Aldabran tortoise, Aldabra 1970

Giant Tortoise

January 2018

The story of a papier mache tortoise, 5 130 miles and 48 years...

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Mary’s archive moves to Glamorgan Archive

14 February 2018

Mary's archive made its final journey to Glamorgan Archives where it will be catalogued and stored (in the best environmental conditions and packaged in appropriate materials).

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End of project gathering

21 February 2018

The Mary Gillham Archive Project reaches its final week - some of the participants gather to see what was achieved and celebrate a job well done!

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Mary Gillham Archive Project Heroes

February 2018

The Mary Gillham Archive Project volunteers are the true heroes behind the success of the project. Project volunteer George made this video to show off some of the work done by volunteers involved in the project.