Happy Christmas and Every Best Wish for the New Year


From all of us to all of you…

And a special message from Bridget: CHOCOLATES are in the Volunteers’ Room for all to enjoy…..


Twenty Years Ago!!

As 2019 approaches you might be interested in these two photographs from our archives…taken in 1999.

Not the real Beatles of course! Tribute group, The Silver Beatles, are pretty persuasive as the Fab Four however.

Just to make you feel even older, the original group was formed almost sixty years ago, in 1960. “Love Me Do” came out in 1963 and was their first hit. They have become the best selling band in history with estimated sales of over 800 million records worldwide. They are the best selling musicians ever in the US.

The Silver Beatles have obviously been around for a while and are still active. Having ditched the 1960s suits, they are now looking more 1970s these days, appearing most recently in Portsmouth, where they are based.

More from James…

You may have read the blog contribution from James Fraser last month (27 November). We are publishing, below, some extracts from his own work diary.

“…today I have met with new people in the museum and I have got to know them and shake their hands and take photos of them in the part where they have been working. I have been independent like an adult…”

“We went to look at things made of clay, like pots and tiles.

I made a clay pot with coils. I went into the library and saw how to move the rolling shelves with a wheel.”

James remarked how he had been confident when meeting people in the staff room.

“We saw Adrian Green, the Director, who was giving out an interview to the BBC.”

A highlight seems to have been the crossbow! “We went to the Social History Store. I looked at a model of Stonehenge, an old clock, old pots…and a crossbow. I chose the crossbow because it needed packing carefully to protect it. I took the crossbow down to the workshop. I used tissue paper and foam and polywrap and I tied it up with tape and included its name and number.”

We have received a lovely letter from the family and include an extract here…

“…the balance between… expectations, and a supportive, encouraging environment was just what he (James)  needed to experience for the future. As parents we very much hope that some sort of museum would allow him to volunteer when he is older, and this has been the perfect start for the future.”

Thanks again James.

A Mutual Opportunity…


A new range of gifts to buy has appeared in the shop… tsm GIFTS.

The museum shop is looking for artisans and makers of interesting and original products to sell. If you make something that is unusual, unique,useful, frivolous, amazing, or just beautiful, please get in touch, we want to start a conversation with you.

With apologies to all concerned that these photos may not do justice to the beautiful items currently on display, here are some of the items we stock at the moment under the new tsm label – exclusive shopping!

If there is something you make, please be in touch, as we might like to sell it. Read more here.

Second-hand (pre-loved!) Books…


You may have noticed that the museum shop is collecting books for re-sale. Previously they have been available through the cafe (and are temporarily back there to make room for Christmas decorations) but from now will have a higher profile in the shop itself. 

More quality books are needed, proceeds to our fundraising efforts. Currently we have books on Art, we have biographies, books on politics and lots of novels, but welcome anything which might interest our visitors.

Please bring any contributions to Reception or let Jan Thorne
janthorne@salisburymuseum.org.uk know if you have a large number. 

Thank you from Bridget


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Raising money for Melanoma Research

On 25 November my husband and I ran the Downton Half Marathon in memory of my dad Trevor. I ran it in 1hr 50m, and my husband in 1hr 42m. It was a great (and very hilly!) run. We had an amazing and very noisy support team of my mum, sister and kids – equipped with whistles and metal doorknobs (my 4 year old son’s ingenious idea!).

Thank you to everyone that has helped us to raise over £1000 for Southampton University to continue their amazing research work into melanoma treatment. My dad passed away in February this year from melanoma and was treated at Southampton Hospital with an immunotherapy drug – a new treatment that is giving hope to lots of people diagnosed with the disease.

Last year Dad was watching us run and joining in the celebrations afterwards – he loved an excuse to celebrate – and we missed him greatly this year.

If you would still like to donate we have a Just Giving page at:  www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bridget-kevin

Thank you for your support – Bridget

Well done Bridget!



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Some years ago I recall reading of a plague stone, described as being at the entrance to Salisbury and South Wilts Golf Club on the Netherhampton road. I think this could have been in a book describing local walks, but I have been unable to recall the source. From time to time I have tried to find this plague stone, but with no success, this including asking people whom I thought were likely to know.

I was reminded of this more recently when, in helping my son to tidy the loft of a house he’d just moved into, I came across a book, ‘Motor Trips At A Glance in England, Wales,Scotland, Ireland and France’ (1911). This has a chapter entitled ‘Illustrations of Roadside Curiosities’ in which there were photographs of the plague stones at Bury St Edmunds and Penrith (Figures 1 and 2).

Fig 1
Fig 2

Plague stones were often placed at or near to parish boundaries in order for victims of disease, not necessarily plague, to leave disinfected coins in payment for food left for them by townsfolk. Plague stones often had a shallow depression on top to contain vinegar which acted as the sterilising agent.

I was further reminded of the Netherhampton plague stone having recently been lent a book, ‘My Lord Pembroke’s Manor of Netherhampton’ by Henry Shute (1986). Here, Shute quotes one Miss Mould who made the Netherhampton contributions to a little book called ‘Moonrakings’1, published by the Women’s Institute. Miss Mould claimed that the stone on the main road to Harnham, at the foot of the old road to the Race Plain, is a memorial of a skirmish led by Walter in the Civil War. Shute writes that Miss Mould’s memory was faulty and her statements,at times, ambiguous, and that her ‘battle stone’ “would appear to be the plague stone at the crossing of the West Harnham and old Roman roads. Elsewhere in ‘My Lord Pembroke’s Manor of Netherhampton’ Shute writes that traders between the towns of Salisbury and Wilton, when afflicted by plague, exchanged goods by depositing them at the Netherhampton-Harnham boundary, in a bowl of vinegar (presumably Shute means that the coins are deposited in a bowl of vinegar!)

Shute very helpfully included a sketch map of Netherhampton in his book (Fig. 3) from which I discerned I’d been searching on the wrong side of the road for the plague stone. This prompted me to have another search,which again was unsuccessful – not surprising as closer inspection of the map revealed that it actually says ‘Site of plague stone’!

Shute wrote that the plague stone ‘disappeared’ in 1986 when the Parish Council had resolved to identify it with a commemorative plaque.

Alison Kidd’s book, ‘Down Your Way’ (Vol. 1) (1989) gives an alternative explanation of its fate, stating that “A kerb-crawling gardener stole Netherhampton’s plague stone for a rockery…”!

If anyone has any further information or illustrations of this plague stone I would be most interested to receive it.

Fig. 3. from ‘My Lord Pembroke’s Manor of Netherhampton’, H.Shute (1986).

1. Moonrakings: Wiltshire Stories arr. by Edith Olivier and Margaret S. Edwards. Pub. Coates and Parker Ltd. Warminster. Reprinted 1979 (to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Wiltshire Federation of Women’s Institutes).

Thank you Alan for another fascinating piece of local history.

Dates for your Diaries


Hoards During the Earliest Age of Metal c 2 500 – 800BC

Talk by Dr Neil Wilkin, Thursday 29 November 6.30pm in the Lecture Hall. Dr Wilkin is responsible for  the Bronze Age collection at the British Museum. £10/£8 for members.

Don’t forget the Volunteers’ Christmas Party!

Tuesday 4 December 2pm – 4pm for mince pies, mulled wine, a raffle and music, and to meet old friends. Please remember to let Bridget know if you are coming.

Christmas and New Year opening

Closed: 24, 25, 26 December

Open: 27, 28, 29 and 31 December

Closed: 1 January 2019