A DEDICATED museum volunteer has unearthed secrets about a family who lived in a historic manor during the Victorian era.
The research has been carried out by John Gregory, volunteer at the Westbury Manor Museum, in West Street, Fareham, ahead of a Victorian exhibition coming to the museum.
Mr Gregory, 66, has been searching through the archives and records to find details of the Kelsall family, a family of solicitors who lived in Westbury Manor from the 1840s until 1893.
Mr Gregory said: ‘I have been looking at the family, and then another couple of volunteers have been looking at the history of this building ahead of the exhibition which runs through until January.’
Mr Gregory is a retired chartered surveyor who volunteers at the museum once a week.
He said: ‘I retired and I wanted something to do. I had been brought up in Fareham and was interested in history so the natural thing was to volunteer at the museum.’
Spending every Tuesday at the museum, he has traced the Kelsall family tree back to the plantations in the Bahamas in the 1700s, where one of them married a slave and had a child with her.
The main occupier of the manor was Thomas Forbes Kelsall, a solicitor, who moved to Fareham in the 1840s.
Mr Gregory said: ‘It turns out to be a very interesting family, not necessarily themselves, but in their links to other families.’
During the Victorian era, Westbury Manor would have had a basement with at least three servants and far more extensive grounds.
Mr Gregory said he still has work to go before giving a talk at the museum on December 3. He said it would be interesting to find a living descendant of the Kelsall family.
The museum will be running a series of Victorian-themed events until January.
Costumed characters and activities are being held at the museum on Saturday from 10am to launch the Victorian-themed events.
Mr Gregory said: ‘The Victorian era was so interesting because everything was happening, there were lots of inventions. Take the railways, in the 1830s and 40s people were starting to travel – going right across the country. It was really an amazing time.’