Archivist Updates

Item of the Month: Charles Defew’s 1871 Christmas present

A plain wooden box hides a treasured Christmas gift from 1871.

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One of the items that we have just catalogued is a simple looking small wooden hinged box. When you slide the dual clasps and lift the lid, you find treasure awaits!

Charles Defew's geometry set - closed.
Charles Defew’s geometry set – closed. (Ref: LS2024.0013).

The box is lined with a dark blue velvet/moleskin styled material, that covers the inset spaces for geometry instruments. A small wooden ruler is tucked in near to the hinge.

Written in ink around the rim of the box is “C. C. DeFew 1872” (near the hinges) and “Reward for Scripture Xmas 1871” near the clasps.

Charles Cranfield Defew's geometry set from 1871.
Charles Cranfield Defew’s geometry set from 1871. (Ref: LS2024.0013).

The C. C. DeFew here, is Charles Cranfield Defew, one of the sons of Charles Defew – a saddler, and his wife Eliza, who lived on Main Street, Littleport. Charles junior was born in Littleport in 1859, and therefore this geometry set would have been his at the age of about 12yrs old. Whether it was given to him by his parents or as a reward for good school work or bible studies, we’ll never know, but we’re lucky to have this lovely item in our collection.

You can take a look at a few of Charles’ other items we’ve catalogued so far via our online catalogue – including a photograph, his memorial card, and his memoir.

Latest Acquisitions

Other items that we have recently received into the archive are;

  • A sign and a shield from The Martin Secondary School, Littleport
  • 1914 postcard of C. W. Thornhill’s butcher’s shop, Littleport

By Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin is the Digital Projects Manager at The Littleport Society, he works with the Archivists to digitise and catalogue our archive. He's also a Cambridgeshire family historian, and the host of The Family Histories Podcast.