The Lecture Hall has been packed today for another of our half-term holiday activities. Thank you to all our Volunteers who make these things possible!
Dame Millicent Fawcett
On Tuesday 20th February at 2.30pm or Thursday 10.30am for coffee, conversation, cake and, on Tuesday at least…to hear about capes.
It is the 100th anniversary of the The Representation of the People Act of 1918 which granted the vote to women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification and which gave the vote to all men over the age of 21
We are also celebrating it as the 100th anniversary of the Suffragettes. In the museum collection we have an item described as the Fawcett Family Cape. Sue Allenby will do a short ‘Object in Focus’ presentation on Tuesday about it.
Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett GBE (Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire) was a British feminist, intellectual, political and union leader, and writer. She is primarily known for her work as a campaigner for women to have the vote. The cape may not have been hers….hear more from Sue on Tuesday.
Also speaking on both dates is our own Director Adrian Green on The Salisbury Museum for Future Generations.
For us, this has to be one of the more eye-catching headlines! Who isn’t a fan of this endlessly fascinating place?
Archaeologist Julian Richards has a new book out (‘Stonehenge:The story so far’ and no, this isn’t a ‘plug’ – your blogger hasn’t read it yet!) and, in the process, is giving a series of talks in the area. It is worth catching one of those if you have the chance…
The famous 17th century architect Inigo Jones (the new St Paul’s Cathedral) attributed it to the Romans, who, interestingly, didn’t apparently mention it in their writings about Britannia.
The antiquary John Aubrey surveyed Stonehenge in the late 17th century, and was the first to record the Aubrey Holes (hence their name). His studies of stone circles in other parts of Britain led him to conclude that they were built by the native inhabitants, rather than Romans. As the Druids were the only prehistoric British priests mentioned in the classical texts, he attributed Stonehenge to the Druids.
Aubrey’s idea was expanded by the 18th-century antiquary William Stukeley, who surveyed Stonehenge and was the first to record the Avenue and the nearby Cursus. Among Stukeley’s theories about Stonehenge, he too thought it was a Druid monument.
Serious excavation took place in 1901 when there was concern about the stability of the stones and Professor William Gowland was called in to help. His digging led him to suggest a late Neolithic or early Bronze Age date for Stonehenge. A further programme of restoration and excavation, led by Lieutenant-Colonel William Hawley, was carried out between 1919 and 1926. So far, so good.
The story of Stonehenge in the 20th and 21st centuries, however, might be described as one of quiet controversy. The latest theory (forget temple, sacrifices, Druids, place to observe constellations, large house, even aliens…) is that Stonehenge is where it is because of the apparently glacial striations that appear in the ground below the current layer of grass which, because they coincidentally line up with the winter solstice, made the place special to early peoples. It is also possible that the Heel Stone was a natural feature and that the whole structure was then (eventually) erected as a result of all of this. Julian Richards would be the last to say this is the final answer however. One of the joys of hearing him speak is how careful he is to relate everything to the evidence. And sometimes, of course, there isn’t a lot of evidence.
Archaeology suggests that the site began as a ditch c 3 000BC. But there are disagreements over the exact date. The 56 Aubrey holes held timbers. Or did they? Some archaeologists say stones. The Blue Stones came from Wales after c 2 500BC. Probably. The latest thought is that they came all the way around the coast and up the Avon but this sort of theory is based only on what seems most likely. The Sarsens came from the Marlborough Downs, although Julian points out that the excavation pits, which ought to show up where huge stones were quarried from the ground, have never been identified.
There has been a great deal of experiment to try and work out how the stones were moved, and erected. Julian says that he managed to save the 40 ton concrete blocks used for a TV programme for further experimentation. A friendly farmer has them in a barn.
The recent discovery of pre-historic houses in the vicinity of Durrington which suggest huge numbers of labourers in that area (and the houses definitely date from the period of main construction) are very important but to use these as a way of assessing the number of workmen on site at any one time is tricky. Archaeology uses dates that cover hundreds of years. Were all the houses in use at one time? Or are there a couple of hundred years when there was no-one there at all? Burials and cremations in the area don’t necessarily fit with any known activity and there are, apparently, periods of history in Britain when we appear to have no burials at all! A lot still does not make sense. Julian kept coming back to what the evidence tells us. And what we have no evidence for…
Julian’s answer to questions about the purpose of Stonehenge echoed that of Francis Pryor speaking at Salisbury Museum a few months ago – that is like asking what Salisbury Cathedral is for. It depends who you are and what you seek, how you feel about it, where you are in your life, and the fashion and mood and mores of the age in which you live.
And the research and argument goes on. “My book is already out of date” Julian says. There’s an honest man.
Our Exhibitions Officer is returning home…
My last day at the office and before I leave for new pastures, I wanted to write to you all. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at the museum. Over the years, I have been part of creating some wonderful exhibitions (British Art: Ancient Landscapes, John Craxton: A Poetic Eye, John Hinchcliffe) and met some lovely and interesting people. I will be sad not to see Henry Lamb: Out of the Shadows going up in our gallery but I will definitely will come and see it when it is finished!
A special thanks to Christine Mason, David Chilton and Bob Hambling for always helping me with painting and setting up the exhibition.
My new job will be as Heritage Coordinator for the Lower Campine Region in Belgium. It is for an organisation that helps city councils with heritage related issues and questions. A bit like English Heritage but Belgian Heritage. One of my first projects will be around Celtic Field systems and opening them to the public. This is very exciting as I did a lot of research on prehistoric field systems and did my dissertation on Celtic Field systems in particular.
It will be nice to live closer to my family but I will miss the UK and all my friends. It has become my second home.
I wish the museum all the best of luck for the exciting future coming up.
All best, Joy
Very best wishes Joy. You will be missed.
Museum Volunteer Caroline Lanyon is part of a Sadler’s Wells success story….
Currently sold out is Sadler’s Wells’ production of Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella.
The story began for us back in December when our own Caroline Lanyon (NADFAS and museum Volunteer) sent this exciting email:
I’m afraid I can’t come in to the Museum this afternoon, or on the 12th Dec, owing to commercial work. Having taken on a commission to make a balldress for ‘Cinderella’ in Matthew Bourne’s ballet of the same name- it was too successful, and I was asked to make a second one with a very tight deadline to be used when the ballet is filmed by Sky Arts next week!
Debra Craine of the Times wrote in her article “..how gorgeous is our heroine’s white party frock?”
A filmed version of the ballet is available on BBC iPlayer until Thursday evening this week. Catch it if you can!
Congratulations Caroline! We are very lucky to have you with us.
Another fascinating series of photographs from our archives and some observations, from Alan Clarke…
The museum has a batch of negatives which are around 8 inches by 6 inches. I have scanned and examined this batch of sixty, and in several there are posters advertising auctions, which all give the year as 1925. Thus my assumption is that these 60 images were all taken in 1925.
Most images are of street scenes in Salisbury, and are faintly recorded as such on the negative wallets, in well faded ink. One or two images are of places further afield.
There are two images of an Inn which is obviously called The Bell Inn. What gives it away is the large bell on the top of an inn sign. I recognised it as The Bell at Bowerchalke.
Even if I hadn’t recognised which Bell Inn this was, close examination of the Bell shows the name BOWER CHALKE above it. Is there a space between Bower and Chalk? Can you see an ‘e’ on the end of Chalk?
A sign on the Inn wall states: “Sarah Habgood licensed to sell beer cider and tobacco”. There is a shield below the bell with the words “Luncheons and teas”. If you check, you will find that The Bell Inn, Bowerchalk, closed in 1988, and is now a residential dwelling known as ‘Bell House’. However, I knew it for its luncheons and teas. I used to call with friends whilst out cycling. One of the attractions used to be that a mynah bird lived in the bar. This bird was extremely loquacious. I imagined that each evening the locals would be teaching this bird something new to repeat.
The photographer, apparently, wasn’t satisfied with his first photograph’s composition, and took a second from a slightly different viewpoint. This makes it very interesting to compare what has changed, and decide if there were a few minutes or days between the images.
There is a fascinating belt-driven motorised bicycle against the front wall, identically parked in both images. It appears to be equipped with a bulb horn and water bottles. Along the side, round the back, there are chickens. Even when I used to visit this establishment, there were chickens round the side here. However, in one image there is a car, but it is possible that the other composition just misses capturing this car, being just out of the photo. The image of the car is too indistinct for me to recognise what make it is.
Just to the right of the car, one can see a lady feeding the chickens. The other image makes it clear that there are two ladies here, and the object near them is a well, which one of the ladies is operating. There appears to be a hatch (the dark square object resting against the right well head support) that has been opened to enable the well bucket to be drawn up. You need a bonnet to feed the chickens but not to operate the well!
Many of the first floor windows are open. There are extensive yew hedges which are kept well trimmed.
I leave you to explore and enjoy further.
Volunteer Linda Robson (no, surely not that Linda Robson..?) has sent us this email:
You ask for contributions for the volunteer blog. After the Pratchett exhibition, when laughter resonated through the building, I thought, how about a museum joke each time?Anyone can contribute. I confess I got this one off the internet, but great fun.
Visiting a modern art museum, a lady turned to an attendant standing nearby.
“This,” she said, “I suppose, is one of those hideous representations you call modern art?”
“No, Madam,” replied the attendant. “That one’s called a mirror.”
Well, how about it?
Well, the Terry Pratchett:HisWorld exhibition has, all too soon, come to an end, and the army of Gallery Staff will be wondering what to do with all the spare time that has suddenly been bestowed upon them.
“Gods don’t like people not doing much work. People who aren’t busy all the time might start to think”.
A wonderful cameradie has developed among the Gallery Staff, and we are looking forward to meeting together again in the not too distant future, particularly as a colleague, Kara, was unable to be with us for the final week or two.
There were several quite crypic exhibits in the exhibition, the most emotive one being the encoded ‘embuggerance’ in Gallery 3. I liked to think that the reason for encoding this rude word was to avoid young children quizzing their parents as to its meaning. However, that theory was exploded when extra signage was placed right outside the café, pointing out the direction to the ‘Embuggerance’! It is astonishing how many people failed to notice this encoding. When asked whether they had noticed the significance of the letters in different font, some would reply, “Oh yes; they were the letters Terry couldn’t see very well!
Several of my colleagues were of the opinion that the term ‘embuggerance’ was coined by Sir Terry himself, but a Google search revealed that it was a military term dating back to the 1950s, but popularised following the 1990s Gulf War conflict when Andy McNab, formerly of the SAS, published his book Bravo Two Zero (2008).
I had already attended several shifts before I noticed another two further subtleties. One of these is that Gaspode the Wonder Dog, on the Interactive DiscWorld Massif says ’Woof’, when clicked. This was despite a massive clue in the second line down of the legend, which says, It looked up slowly and said ‘Woof!’. Having noticed this, I was disappointed that The Librarian doesn’t say ‘Ook’!
The other subtlety came to my attention late one afternoon when I was alone in Gallery 2, and wondered why I could hear birds twittering. It came, of course, from Terry’s office, where other sounds included sheep bleating and the cat purring. Several people asked, incidentally, where the cat slept now that Terry’s desk was in the Museum!
I was curious as to why there were two versions of Terry’s family motto. In Gallery 2, the family crest bore the motto, Non Timere Messorum, whereas the bronze bust in Gallery 3 bore the variant, Noli Timere Messorum. Resorting to Google again, I encountered various grammar nerds speculating that one means ‘Fear Not the Reaper’ whereas the other is subtly different and means ‘[I] do not fear the reaper’. Taking advantage of the presence of a visit by Paul Kidby one afternoon, I took the opportunity to ask him why Terry had these two versions. To my disappointment, he explained that the version on his armorial bearings hadn’t been properly considered, and was ‘dog Latin’, whereas they ensured it was grammatically correct for the bust. And there was I thinking that there must be a deep philosophical reason… .
However, the aspect that I most enjoyed explaining about the exhibition is how well it fitted with the raison d’etre of the Museum. Thus in his book, ‘I Shall Wear Midnight’, Terry describes a ‘chalk giant who isn’t wearing trousers, and he’s male; very definitely male!’. One realises immediately that this is the Cerne Abbas Giant, and, in the previous exhibition, ‘British Art Ancient Landscapes’, there had been a large painting of the Cerne Abbas Giant in Gallery 2. Also in that exhibition there was a painting by Eric Ravilious which depicted the ‘Long Man of Wilmington’ and an illustration of the Uffington White Horse… and what should be depicted on Paul Kidby’s painting, ‘The Chalk’ but the Uffington White Horse – in the top left hand corner. This painting was also chosen to replace the view out of Terry’s office window.
I’ve just become aware of how many exclamation marks I’ve used in this piece. To quote Sir Terry, “Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind”!
A fascinating second installment to Alan’s notes on A.B. Middleton…
Regarding Middleton’s role in the eradication of cholera from the city in 1849, this has been well-documented elsewhere in easily-accessible places, for example, John Chandler’s book, Endless Street, and so there is no need to repeat it here. Suffice it to say that in 1859 Salisbury was the worst affected town for its size in the country, with nearly 200 people dying from the disease in just two months, and the infirmary receiving 1300 new cases during this time. This was a consequence of the manner in which the city evolved.
In 1219, the inhabitants of Old Sarum moved down into the valley near to the confluence of three rivers, now known as the Avon, Wylye and Nadder, where Bishop Poore began building a new Cathedral in a field known as Merrifield.
The new city itself, known as New Sarum began to be laid out to the north of the Cathedral.
The land was sectioned out into rectangular plots measuring seven perches by 3 perches, thus forming the grid pattern, known as ‘chequers’, with which we’re familiar today.
The city covered an area of about one-fifth of a square mile, and consisted of about 20 streets, crossing each other at regular intervals at right angles to each other. This anticipated the street pattern of modern American cities by several centuries and contrasted with other medieval cities in Britain, such as London or York.
The city itself is situated on the east bank of the River Avon about 140 feet above the mouth of the Avon at Christchurch, some 30 miles away.
Many open streamlets ran through the city and the street now called New Canal commemorates just one of these channels, which were used as receptacles for household waste and sewerage. Speed’s map of 1611 shows them in almost all the streets west of the line comprising St Edmund’s Church Street and Gigant Street.
An illustration of Silver Street within the Drainage Collection carries a caption quoting Celia Fiennes (1685) as describing the streets of Salisbury as, “not so clean or so easy to pass in”. Daniel Defoe in his ‘A Tour through the whole island of Great Britain, by a gentleman [D.Defoe]’ (1748) went further, commenting that, “the streets were always dirty and full of wet, filth, and weeds, even in summer”.
It was perhaps because of the extreme difficulties of keeping the streets clean that Salisbury became the first provincial town in England to have powers of improvement granted to a special authority, called ‘directors of highways’, by an Act of 1737. This caused the streets to be improved by moving the channels to one side and making brick beds for them, so that the traffic could pass unimpeded, and bridges could be made for pedestrians1. Indeed, the Market Square itself had three bridges.
Andrew Bogle Middleton believed strongly that the 1849 cholera epidemic was due to moisture and the canals, and therefore undertook to introduce a new system of water-supply and drainage. His proposals were met with such great opposition that the Mayor and councillors would not allow the Board of Health inspector, Thomas Rammell, to hold his inquiry in the Guildhall, and so it was eventually held in the Assembly Rooms, at the corner of New Canal with the High Street. The results of Rammell’s enquiry were published in 1851.
Middleton’s ideas held sway and the open streams and sewers were replaced with tubular sewers in around 1852. The last channel to be filled, in 1875, was the deep one in New Canal. This is commemorated by the Blue Plaque which now adorns the New Canal wall of the building currently occupied by Waterstones, but which was once the Salisbury Assembly Rooms (see Figure 1).
Memorials in the Cathedral
Less prominent among the artifacts concerning A.B.Middleton in Salisbury are those in the Cathedral. These are a stained glass window and a stone memorial.
The stained glass memorial window to A.B. Middleton is in the north east corner of the north west transept of Salisbury Cathedral (Figure 4). The theme, as one would expect, is water.
Figure 4. Stained glass memorial window
The upper panel shows the biblical King Hezekiah who cut the Siloam tunnel to provide Jerusalem with a water supply, and proclaims
King Hezekiah brought water into the city
as recorded in II Kings 20:20 and II Chronicals 32:30.
The lower panel shows Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well at Sychar, in Samaria, as recorded in John 4:5-6 and states
A well of water springing up into everlasting life
The foot of the window bears Middleton’s name, stating
To the Glory of God and loving memory of Andrew Bogle Middleton born Oct 8th 1819: died Dec 13th, 1879
There is also a memorial plaque about half way along the north cloister walk
(Figure 5), reading
“In memory of Sarah Ann Louisa, wife of A.B.Middleton and daughter of the late Henry Coates of this city, died April 29 1872, aged 59 years and of the above Andrew Bogle Middleton who died Dec 13 1879 aged 60 years
Figure 5. Memorial plaque
It is worth noting that bacteria were not discovered until 1864 (Pasteur) and the causative organism of cholera, the bacterium Vibrio cholerae was not discovered until 1884 (Koch).
Middleton’s work preceded that of the famed John Snow who, in 1853, realised that cases of cholera in London were clustered around a water pump in Broad Street, and recommended to the local Board of Guardians that the handle be removed. This ended the local epidemic and provided proof that cholera was water-borne.
To date, this author has been unable to find documented evidence that Middleton Road in Salisbury is named after A.B.Middleton. However, an acquaintance of mine, Mr. David Brown tells me that his uncles, Arthur, Tom, Alf and Ernest once owned a large part of Middleton Road – the section west of York Road towards the gas works; and assures me that this is how he became aware that Middleton Road is, in fact, named after A.B. Middleton.
The author is much indebted to Alan Clark of this museum who has directed me to his website concerning Salisbury Blue Plaques, from which I derived much helpful information.