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Commissioned by Richard Marsh as a 60th birthday present, the book is dedicated to his father, Stuart Marsh, in recognition of his remarkable life story. From humble beginnings in Street, Somerset, where the family’s trade was forever linked with Clarks shoes, Stuart broke away from family tradition to set up his own successful footwear empire.



For half a century, a laundry box sits unnoticed in the corner of an attic. Inside the box, lie the travel journals, memoirs and private thoughts of one woman whose lifetime spanned a century, from 1880 to 1978. The family who live in the house below are related to her but they rarely think of her and if they do, it is a derogatory thought. Buried in an unmarked grave, she was not so much a black sheep, as a thorn in the side of a successful and dynamic family.

 Linked to her dead grandmother by one strange event, a granddaughter is curious to find out about the granny who was always feared and scorned. She opens the box and discovers delightful accounts of a childhood in the late 1800s in rural Oxfordshire, captivating diaries of travel through Palestine, Switzerland and Africa in the 1930s and the clear voice of an ordinary woman who found herself caught between the stringency of Victorian ideology and the untested turning point in women’s history. Above all, the box unravels a truth that, until then, had been vague family rumour. 

This is a story about the conflict between ambition and love, between personal power and the test of faith. It follows the unlikely journey of the laundry box itself and the transition of a silent voice to one that is finally heard.



This guide is designed for people who have a story about an ancestor or family member and for whom the telling of that story would be a valuable experience. Each chapter includes three sections: an introduction to one of nine key aspects, an extract from A Box Full of Silence to demonstrate by example and workshop exercises that will help to reinforce.




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"I felt free to be myself. It took me through a variety of emotions and I felt free to ask questions without feeling foolish or too inexperienced to have a voice. Thanks Debs!" Sheila, Devon

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