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Pioneering Archaeologist Lily Chitty has room named in her honour

Shropshire Archives new room names the Lily Chitty Room

Pioneering Archaeologist Lily Chitty has room named in her honour

Shropshire Archives’ new room, now known as the Lily Chitty Room, was officially opened on Tuesday 25 June by His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Shopshire, Mrs Anna Turner JP.

The room, which was created thanks to Shropshire Council’s capital project. creates a flexible area that can be used by volunteers and groups. It allows the Archive Service to run talks, events and school visits alongside opening for research and so makes best use of the staff and building. The room can also be humidified so that fragile parchment documents can be issued in the correct environmental conditions when other rooms are too dry. It’s the first major change to the public areas since the building was opened in 1995.

The room has been named the Lily Chitty Room to acknowledge the important work of the pioneering archaeologist and antiquarian Miss Lily F Chitty (1893-1979). Lily, also known as Lal, specialised in prehistory. Over six decades she compiled an extensive collection of notes, drawings and correspondence and a large library of books and periodicals, reputed to be the largest private collection of archaeological records in the county. She was generous with this information and influenced generations of local and national archaeologists. Her research notes and library are now held at Shropshire Archives ref 6004, while the physical finds are at the Ludlow Museum Resource Centre.

The official opening was followed by a series of short talks showing how the Lily F Chitty Collections are being cared for and how her legacy continues. Dr Caroline Wright entertained with memories of Lal in Pontesbury and Dr Roger White talked about her lasting legacy to archaeological research.

Dr Katie Miller explained how the Archaeology Lab Volunteers have renumbered, recorded, and begun to repackage the 2068 piece flint tool collection Lily accumulated in her personal collection and used the Archives to add context to the finds. There was also chance to find out about the work of the Shropshire Museums’ Young Collective, a forum for young people aged 14 to 24. This year they have been working with MediaActive to produce an exhibition and film about Lily and her amazing archaeological and community contributions. There was chance to see a preview of the film which will be released in the Autumn as well as examples from the collections.

The respect for Miss Chitty’s work and the enthusiasm for sharing the stories was evident thought the evening.