Heritage Lottery Fund Grant of £49,900 Aids Muriel Lester Legacy

By Tara Booth | 26 September 2008
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An image of carboard boxes with piles of papers and balck and white photographs on. In the centre of the pile there is a black and white photograph of an elderly lady wearing a black top and smiling. There are letters and books on on the left hand side. On the right had side there are more black and white photographs of what appears to be buldings and children.

The Muriel Lester Archive contains photographs and diaries among other things. © The Muriel Lester Archive

A £49,900 grant awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund will aid the Muriel Lester Archive at London’s Kingsley Hall, helping to make her legacy more widely known.

A friend of Ghandi, Muriel Lester was a pacifist, a leading campaigner of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, and an advocate of women priests.

With her sister Doris, she contributed to setting up community centres working with people in the deprived areas of Bow and Dagenham, but her story is not widely known.

The archive already contains diaries, articles, photo albums, books and pamphlets, which are currently being stored in boxes at Kingsley Hall.

Conservation work on the current material will begin soon, in which it will be microfilmed and digitalised. A new website will also be created with an electronic catalogue, and interviews with people who knew Muriel are to be recorded and featured in the archive too.

Commenting on the project, centre manager David Baker said: “This project will create the solid foundation needed to store the memory of Muriel Lester for posterity. The project is exciting in its own right, involving activities for the young and elderly.”

“It will link with the archive projects nationally and create the necessary platform for future enquiries to be dealt with as part of a process to reclaim our local heritage and increase awareness of the work of the Lester sisters.”

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