History of the Age of Enlightenment, £19.99
Application for a post on the staff of The British Museum
London, England, 1 June 1904
The form filled in by Frank Derrett, applying for a post as an Attendant
Frank Derrett was born in London in 1883 and was educated at his local church school. When he was sixteen he became a 'Boy Attendant' at The British Museum.
At that time, Attendants at the Museum did many of the jobs which the Museum's Warders do today. They were expected to be reliable and to have had a good basic education. 'Boy Attendants' were young men aged between fifteen and twenty.
In 1904, Frank Derrett 'came of age' at the age of twenty-one. He could no longer be a 'Boy Attendant', and here he is re-applying for a post as an adult Attendant. One of the references which he enclosed with the application form described him as 'clever, trustworthy, practical and steady'.
The application was successful. Derrett became an Attendant in the Department of Printed Books in 1904, and worked in the Reading Room of The British Museum Library. He joined the Army during the First World War and was killed at Salonika, Greece, in 1917, aged thirty-four. His wife, Alice, now had to earn a living for herself and their son, Frank Lionel, and the Museum gave her a 'temporary' job as a Ladies' Attendant. She worked here for the next thirty-eight years. Frank Lionel also became an Attendant at the Museum in 1931.