Now then… Stop me if you have heard this one before (and if you have, it may be because you recall a flurry of press activity in the late 1990s), but did you know that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle submitted a design for a bullet-proof vest to Field Marshal Haig during the First World War? Well, he did. And it was in connection with this that Conan Doyle ordered some bullet-proof materials from Ferodo, the very successful brake-lining manufacturing company based in Chapel-en-le-Frith.
Philip Norman’s article about the sale of Conan Doyle’s personal archive in 2004 expresses the opinion that, if the device had been adopted, it “would doubtless have saved many lives”. (See http://www.sherlock-holmes.co.uk/news/doyle.html – the website is that of the Sherlock Holmes Museum, based at 221b Baker Street.)
This post is topped by a photograph of the entry in question, from the Ferodo company archive, held here (D4562/8/5). The entry is neither very informative nor very beautiful, but it is certainly interesting. And hard to read! If anybody can offer an interpretation of what the record is really telling us, we could improve our catalogue description, which currently calls the volume simply “sample report summaries 1915-1926”.
Many thanks to Will, who is here on work experience, for locating the entry, and spotting the Philip Norman article.