Saving the Rex Wailes Collection

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    Authors & editors

    Hodge, Nathanael [Author]

    Publisher Milling & Grain
    Year of publication 2023 April

    Medium Digital

    Arts, culture and heritage > Collections of importance


    Scope & contentWhen Rex Wailes died in 1986, he left behind him a lifetime’s worth of diaries, notebooks, correspondence files, boxes of photographs and rolls of architectural drawings, crammed full of information about mills and other engineering topics. He had stated in his will that the collection should all be passed to the National Monuments Record and the Science Museum, but in the event only a small amount of material was transferred. The rest seemed doomed to be consumed by mould and damp in the sheds at the bottom of Rex and Enid’s Garden.

    After some years, Enid began to throw the material away in preparation for the sale of the property. We owe the rescue of the collection to Alan Stoyel, who took it upon himself to salvage what he could – in his words: “I acted as an unofficial executor, and worked my way through all the sheds, salvaging whatever relevant material I could find. Unfortunately, much of the material was damp, quite a lot was actually sopping wet and full of mould and small animal life, and some had been attacked by mice. I took a series of car-loads of material to my home in Oxfordshire, cleaned what I could, and laid everything out to dry. Unfortunately, some relevant material I found in the sheds was too far gone even to be salvageable.”…Read more.


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