‘Street Scenes in Stavrokhori, Crete, 1938’ (PEN 07/02/06/758).

The Pendlebury Archive Project

“Beloved friend! Crete will keep your memory among her most sacred treasures. The soil which you excavated with the spade of the archaeologist and watered with the blood of a warrior will forever enfold you with gratitude.”

- Nikolaos Platon at Pendlebury’s Memorial 1947
“Αγαπημένε φίλε! Η Κρήτη θα διατηρήση την μνήμη σου ανάμεσα στα πιό ιερά της κειμήλια. Το χώμα που έσκαψες με την σκαπάνη του αρχαιολόγου και πότισες με το αίμα του πολεμιστή θα σε περιβάλλει πάντοτε με ευγνωμοσύνη.”

– O Νικόλαος Πλάτων στο μνημόσιο του Pendlebury το 1947

Unravelling the Man behind the Myth

Adventurer, athlete, archaeologist, prankster, academic, spy, warrior and loyal friend.  John Pendlebury’s name invokes many things but how do we get to know the man behind the myth? Through the words he left behind…

The John Pendlebury Family Papers cover the period from 1913 to 1964 and document the life of archaeologist and WWII hero John Devitt Stringfellow Pendlebury.  Through these papers we learn about John’s early years as a schoolboy in England, his career as an innovative archaeologist in the Mediterranean and the investigation behind the circumstances of his death. These precious documents include intimate and uncensored letters, notebooks and photographs which give us insights into the man himself, as well as his family (notably his wife, Hilda, and his parents). They provide a unique narrative of John and Hilda’s travels and encounters around Greece, Egypt, and Britain during the 1920s and 1930s; a first-hand account of the events of World War II, especially in Crete where John was stationed; and the efforts of friends and family to commemorate him after his untimely death during the Battle of Crete in May 1941.

The Pendlebury Archive Project, generously funded by the Wykeham Patrons of Winchester College in the UK, aims to digitize completely this fascinating collection and make it accessible online. This has involved cataloguing the materials at item level, conservation of fragile items in-house and establishing a preservation strategy for unstable materials, such as the nitrate negatives. Now, as we near the final stages of the Pendlebury Archive Project, these pages serve as a preview of this rich collection that tells so many stories, very much like the ones John Pendlebury himself liked to gather and retell, especially of his adopted motherland, Greece. We are working towards making the entire collection available online from late 2018.

In the meantime, updates on the progress of the project will be posted on the Pendlebury Archive Project blog by our new Project Assistant, Laura Palazón Lozano.

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