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Hats and Roman Hairdressing

Posted on: 6th March 2015 By: Sue Davies

The photo above was taken on 20th July 1898.  The woman in the centre of the sea of hats is Dame Maria Millington Evans (1856-1944).  She is installing the foundation stone of, what is now, the Museum of St Albans.  Dame Maria was invited to do the honours because she was the wife of John Evans (1823-1908), one of the leading lights of, what was, the Hertfordshire County Museum, and because she was an archaeologist and author.  One of the books she wrote was about Roman hair styles.

Born Maria Millington Lathbury she was schooled at home.  In her early 30s she became a student at Somerville, one of the first women’s colleges at Oxford University.  After completing her studies, and with financial support from her mother, she moved to London where she gave lectures in Greek history.

In 1892 she married John Evans, a wealthy businessman in charge of the John Dickinson paper mills near Hemel Hempstead.  The paper mills are now open to the public as the Paper Trail. 

Maria and John Evans enjoyed travelling and the John Evans archive holds two travel diaries kept by Maria, one from July 1892 to August 1894 and the other January 1901 to August 1902.  If you are inspired to follow in their archaeological footsteps you could join in events at Verulamium Museum, for instance archaeological apprentices is a drop-in event for children runing on Saturday 8th March and, for adults, we are runing a workshop on metal in archaeology on Saturday 11th April, Rust and the Rest

The foundation stone is still there, just inside the entrance to the Museum of St Albans.