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One of the requirements of the BCAD project is to ensure that the new website comes with a good set of consistent, stable Uniform Resource Identifers (URIs).  (more…)

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Several people have made it possible for the Carl Giles collection to come to the British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent, but one person in particular deserves a special mention. That person is Joan, the wife of Carl Giles. She is the one who helped keep everything neatly arranged in files and didn’t appear to throw anything away. Original artwork, reference files, photos, correspondence and other paperwork have survived because of her and the secretaries who helped run Giles’s studio in Ipswich.

This is in addition to looking after their home at Hillbrow Farm near Ipswich and providing slap up meals for the frequent visitors and celebrities. She obviously had the patience of a saint as Giles could be ‘difficult’ but you can see the warmth in their relationship through the many birthday cards and other drawings he made for her – often showing a sheepish figure apologising for an indiscretion or forgetting an anniversary. As she pointed out in the introduction to the 8th Giles Annual, which was published in 1954: “I have at least five husbands. All equally unpredictable”. She was referring to Giles the cartoonist, Giles the car enthusiast, Giles the builder, Giles the engineer and Giles the pig-breeder. She finished the introduction by saying: “All my husbands, like all husbands, have one thing in common – fairly regular lapses into vagrancy.”

Although Giles did not enjoy paperwork and form-filling, he did like to have reference files, pens, brushes and other equipment in particular places, so between them Carl and Joan liked things where they could be found.

So we salute the five Carls and the five Joans – the wife, cook, secretary, the carer and Joan the archivist’s friend.

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Grandma statue in IpswichWho is this elderly lady and why does a statue of her stand on the corner of Princes Street and Queens Street in Ipswich? During a visit to the Suffolk Record Office I had some time to spare so I made my way to the site where she stands to pay homage. She is of course ‘Grandma’, one of the Giles family members that made frequent appearances in his cartoons.

She is looking up at the building where Giles had an office and studio. Giles lived at Hillbrow Farm in Witnesham, near Ipswich. Her statue, made by local sculptor Miles Robinson, was unveiled in September 1993 by the actor Warren Mitchell, who was a friend of Giles. Johnny Speight, who wrote the scripts for the BBC television series ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ – in which Mitchell starred as Alf Garnett, was also there with Giles.

Grandma as usual is wearing a coat, scarf and hat and is holding an umbrella and a padlocked handbag. She is accompanied by Vera, the twins and Butch the dog.


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