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Florence Turtle Collection

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0347 D103
Held at: Wandsworth Heritage Service
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Full title: Florence Turtle Collection
Date(s): 1917-1980
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 43 volumes, 1 mounted set of photographs, 1 framed certificate
Name of creator(s): Please contact the Archive for further information.
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Florence Mary Turtle was born on 19th November 1896 in Lambeth, the daughter of Charles E and Florence AM Turtle. After living in Hackney and Fulham, where Florence attended Sherbrooke Road School, the family settled at 135 Putney Bridge Road, Putney, where Mrs Turtle ran a fur shop. In 1917 Florence got a job at Finsbury Library, and then at a branch of W H Smith, before going to work in Harrods book department in 1921. In 1923 she started working at John Barkers department store in Kensington, and by 1929 had become the buyer for the book department. As well as this, she subsequently became a buyer for Barkers' sister store, Derry and Toms. In 1930, at the age of 34, Florence moved out of Putney Bridge Road and into 9 Ranelagh Gardens Mansions, Fulham, where she lived with her younger sister Barbara. Two years later, Florence, Barbara, and their brother Bernard moved into 28 Kingscliffe Gardens, Southfields. In 1933 Florence started volunteering on Saturdays at St James' Hospital in Balham where she would distribute books to the patients. Florence was an avid reader and took an interest in a wide range of subjects, taking evening classes at various times in French, German, public speaking, creative writing, and mothercraft. She occasionally wrote articles on bookselling and related subjects for publications such as 'The Publisher and Bookseller'. She was a member of the Book Craft Guild, serving as chairman in 1929/30. In 1938 she became a member of the Buyers Association of Great Britain. In 1941 Florence became the stationary buyer for British Home Stores, where she worked at their Baker Street headquarters until retiring in 1960. Throughout her life, Florence attended St Etheldreda's church in Fulham, where she was an active member of the choir. She also enjoyed going to the theatre, walking on Wandsworth and Wimbledon Commons, holidaying in the countryside, gardening, and having baths. She was an admirer of antiques, ornaments, and beautiful furniture, and enjoyed visiting the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Her lifelong friends since school were Connie Cowgill (nee Bishop) and Gwen Foot. She never married, and continued to live at Kingscliffe Gardens with her brother Brian until her death in 1981.


Scope and content/abstract:

The collection is mostly comprised of diaries written by Florence Turtle between 1917 and 1980. The first three diaries (1917-1919) contain generally brief and sporadic entries. There are then no diaries for the years 1920-1928. From 1929 onwards the diaries contain more detailed entries. There are no diaries for the years 1944, 1946, 1948-1949, 1952-1954, 1962, 1964-1965, or 1967-1970. Florence writes in her diaries about her relationships with family and friends, her living situation, work life, social life, holidays, and local, national and international current events, and records her thoughts and feelings on various matters. Many of the diaries contain additional notes, clarifications and corrections made by Florence in the 1970s. Some of the diaries contain photographs, and also pencil illustrations by Florence. The collection also contains one volume in which Florence reviews the books she reads throughout 1936, and a volume entitled 'Book of Ideas', in which Florence has written quotations from various sources, and also glued newspaper cuttings. The remaining items in the collection are a set of photographs of Florence's family and friends, and a framed certificate of election to the Buyers Association of Great Britain.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

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Conditions governing access:

This material is only available in the Wandsworth Heritage Service search room at Battersea Library. Please contact Heritage Service staff for more information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

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Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

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Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Finding aid created by export from CALM v8.0.2.40 Archives Hub EAD2002. Entry amended by Barbara Ball

Rules or conventions:
General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April 2011

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