Ellen Scaife

Photo of Ellen Scaife, volunteer

Librarian and archivist

So how did I get started here?

I actually started in August 2006, when I was unemployed. I started by helping sort out the Denman architectural drawings. Then I found work and did not get back until April 2007. I deliberately chose an place where I could dip in and out, as and when I found work.

I started to list the contents of the library – I am a librarian by training. Then Nick, the Curator, asked if I was interested in the Bevan and Dewar family letters, which are correspondence written by a 19th century family, that give us an insight into daily life in Brighton back then. As I had spent some time in the University of Sussex managing the archive there, I was interested. The letters have now been transcribed, and digitised. As a result of this work, I decided to study for an archives qualification, and in 2012 I completed a Masters in Archive Administration.

I have also been involved in Brighton and Hove Open Door. In 2007, giving tours around one of the sites. This was followed in 2008 by the start of MyHouseMyStreet. We used old Census Returns and street directories to create the history of Foundry Street in North Laine and held the Foundry Street event. This has since become a huge project involving many other North Laine streets and has also gone online.

Elsewhere I have been archiving some of the Town House's assets. We have a large collection of architectural archives, ranging from the large pattern boards showing new house owners what sort of plaster work they could have had, to samples of paint and wallpaper.  We also have artwork, books and even a length of carpet! I am currently archiving cuttings from local magazines with information on Brighton history.

Ellen Scaife, volunteer