12th October 2023
We were so sorry to hear of the death of one of our Trustees last week. Clements Hall Local History Group in York was founded at Clements Hall in 2013, under the leadership of Dick Hunter, and Elizabeth Melrose was involved almost from the start, together with Colin Hinchcliffe from our neighbouring area, Bishophill.
Elizabeth contributed to our work from 2014 in our collaboration with Bishophill History Group, becoming a Trustee of our own group in 2018. The two groups subsequently merged in 2021, and Elizabeth was involved with our Jacob’s Well event that year, highlighting Bishophill history.
Eiizabeth on the right of this group above
Elizabeth was an active member of our HLF WW1 commemoration project, between Jan 2016 and Dec 2017, led by Dick Hunter. She took part in the performance of the Munitionettes at Clements Hall in 2016, keen to dress up with a group of singers who were relating their experiences as munitions workers in Bishophill. This was an original story from a local woman from 100 years ago, and Elizabeth was particularly proud of her feather hat for the performance! She organised the group performing their Munitionettes song at the Big City Read at York Explore, and also took part in our Zeppelin events.
She contributed in other ways too, providing invaluable help with our Bishy Road Street Party in 2019 and proof-reading support for our Nunnery Lane book in June 2021. Her professional role on the Local Studies Group of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) meant she was able to advise and support our group when we entered the national CILIP Alan Ball Awards in 2018, achieving a highly commended award for our digital web activity. Three years later in 2021 we were judged joint winner of their Best Community Publication for our Nunnery Lane book.
Elizabeth with Meredith Andrea at a York Explore event
Meredith Andrea said “I particularly value how she worked on all three WW1 Centenary publications; and especially from my point of view the walking map, which she undertook to proof-read. She was so thoughtful, thorough and precise and it was very reassuring to know the text had been through such professional hands. She delighted in detail, and in getting things just right, and as a result these publications were surely the best they could be.”
Anne Houson said “She was always so helpful and charming.” Elizabeth was enthusiastic about our ideas and activities, and interested to hear what our project groups were up to. She was keen to extend her technical skills with computers, and took part in some oral history training to support us. She also had a strong interest in her own family history, including their time spent in India.
Before she moved to London to be cared for by her daughter, Elizabeth was well-supported in York by friends and family. Colin Hinchcliffe said “The history group meant a lot to her and motivated her. Despite being seriously ill she made many visits to group colleagues who were also unwell. I used to see her frequently passing my window.”
Elizabeth was a lovely lady, playing a substantial role in the development and activities of our history group, and we’ll miss her so much. Her family have decided to ask for donations in lieu of flowers to our History Group, because of Elizabeth's focus on keeping local history alive. Please follow this link for further information.