About Polly North

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So far Polly North has created 159 blog entries.

Imagine all the diaries not written….

Unwritten diaries...imagine... The diary of a newborn. The diary of an illiterate 16th century chamber maid. The diary of a Norman conquistador. The diary of a martyr. The diary of an 18th century pub landlord, candle stick maker, baker and so on. The diary of a 17th century New York landlord. And then there are the diaries not written by dedicated diarists: The self-reflective diary of the appointment diarist. The appointment diary of the allotment diarist. The nature diary of the fitness app. And so on. The stories are without end. And the vast array of life is breathtaking.   [...]

2020-07-09T10:11:49+01:00By |Collections|

Coronavirus and diaries

Many of our diarists, old and new, are chronicling the times we find ourselves in. Their contributions to The Great Diary Project range from shopping lists  and bog roll to health concerns and Whitehall response. Their contributions are multidimensional and active. The diaries and dated notes we have received recently are incredibly important social, and in years to come, historical documents (as, indeed, are all our diaries, whatever conditions they were written under). We have reflection from diarists on what the virus, and its fall-out, means at all levels of human experience: including the personal, the interpersonal, the social, the [...]

2020-04-02T16:23:58+01:00By |Collections|

Christmas 2019 #5

The desire to provide some sort of framework to our lives in the dated word will be strong this Christmas. Who of you will be keeping a diary? Or gratitude journal? Or CBT journal? Or chronicling the day on Facebook/Facetime/ or Whatsapp?

2019-11-28T15:41:13+00:00By |Collections|

Christmas 2019 #4

Ms Griffiths GDP 253 notes the approach of Christmas, and Hitler. Ms Griffiths' personal reflections attest to the individuals that make up the weight of history; the individuals living beyond the history books and the newspaper headlines.    

2019-11-28T15:52:16+00:00By |Collections|

Christmas 2019 #3

Diaries can be a place to reflect on the profounder moments in our more-than-less pedestrian lives: they are a celebration of the extraordinary in the ordinary. For example, GDP 429, 1971 is Mr Mahoney’s tale of a true-love lost, as Bill remembers Doug. Alongside these poignant memories, runs Bill’s attention to the daily domestic duties which make up the meat of his diary entries.

2019-11-28T15:35:05+00:00By |Collections|

Christmas 2019 #2

Christmas has the knack of giving perennial diary-ticks a seasonal boost. The first Christmas offering includes two diaries, both of which illustrate the desire to account for, list, and organize elements of our lives. Diaries are a place to keep account, of one’s life and of Christmas presents: as Ms France and Ms Randall GDP 296/ GDP 391 attest.

2019-11-28T15:56:28+00:00By |Collections|

Great Diary Christmas

Christmas is a good time for the diary. It pops up as a go-to stocking filler. It offers an ‘ear’ to the reveller/ scrooge in need of letting-off steam/ chronicling happy times (Anonymous GDP 452, 1978). In addition to the diary’s roles as gift, memory-bank and ‘sympathetic ear’, a diary comes into its own as the Christmas-minded assess a year gone and wonder about the next. Watch this space for more Diary-like presents.

2019-11-28T16:19:59+00:00By |Collections|

Oh to be young

This set of diaries are singular. They are a brilliant example of the exuberant, identity-seeking, shy yet bold wonder of youth! Kathryn Anne Koon's (née Green) diaries were written during the diarist's teen years and early twenties, during her time at secondary school and into the third year of university in her home town of Manchester. They contain a vivid account of her formative years; with all the hopes, dreams and anxieties associated with adolescence. Unusually, they are formatted as correspondence, with the diary afforded a persona ('Carie') and entries addressed and concluded like letters. Although entries are not made [...]

2019-08-02T13:05:09+01:00By |Collections|

One life, and a couple

Joyce Hinshelwood's diaries start as Boots Home Diaries (1965-1982), moving into predominantly A5 diaries from a variety of distributors, including Kew Gardens, Australia Diary, and Collins. The diaries are kept as appointment diaries with some notes on the diarist's day-to-day life. Topics covered include: the weather, hair appointments, friends, letters and phone calls received and returned, reminders for birthdays and anniversaries, church times and events, very brief one word descriptions of the weather, a little on the comings and goings of pets, bingo, croquet, health and general well-being. Diaries: 1965-2004 Accompanying the diaries are a vast number of letters - [...]

2019-08-02T13:02:55+01:00By |Collections|

The splendour of the sky

Everyday nature changes, everyday diary entries are different, everyday people change. But the essence of each remains a constant refrain. This diarist wove her love of nature, note-keeping and life into one. Giovanna Maria Laws kept records of appointments to be fulfilled and of outcomes from fulfilled appointments: to the doctors, garage, dentists etc. The comings and goings of family members to the home are commented on frequently; as are the weather and household accounts. She also kept detailed notes on nature. 'Nina's Nature Notes', 1985-1999 (mentioned on the back cover is a 'circular rainbow' - defined by the MET office, [...]

2019-08-02T12:57:59+01:00By |Collections|
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