Sample collection on women migrants at the Derbyshire Record Office below
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Collection title: Records of Edith Lyttelton Gell (UK: 1880–1937)
Description: Edith Lyttelton Gell (1860–1944), née Brodrick, married Philip Lyttelton Gell (1852–1926) in 1889. He became Director, Chairman and eventually President of British South Africa Company, although he never himself travelled to Rhodesia (modern Zimbabwe and Zambia). As described in the Derbyshire Record Office catalogue, Edith shared her husband’s interests and took an active role in political and Church of England fundraising and charitable activities, nationally as well as locally. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of her papers relates to the work Edith Lyttelton Gell undertook to complement her spouse’s involvement in Rhodesia. Females were thought to outnumber males in the population of Britain and, to address this ‘surplus’, emigration was widely promoted as a remedy not only for the scarcity of well paid employment for women but also for the shortage of potential husbands. Edith was a member of the British Women’s Emigration Society and in 1901 became Chair of the South African Emigration Expansion Committee. She played a key role both in encouraging women to settle in the new country of Rhodesia and in vetting their suitability. She provided practical advice to intending female emigrants and her correspondence in the opening years of the 20th century includes much on the management and staffing of the Salisbury Hostel in Bulawayo, a facility for new women arrivals.
Edith Lyttelton Gell’s papers in Derbyshire Record Office were all formerly in the fonds referenced D3287, except for a travel journal with the reference D3311/125 (now D8760/F/GEL/4/1). Correspondence with her husband, Philip Lyttelton Gell, is in the sub-series D8760/F/GPL/1/2.
Archive address: Derbyshire Record Office – New Street – Matlock DE4 3FE
Reference number: D8760/F/GEL and D3287
Links: The archives of the Derbyshire Record Office can be searched online here.
Contributor: Marie Ruiz