What a Difference a Week Makes! Spring Clean Underway in Every Sense…


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March 19th in the Close and March 26th on Harnham Bridge

Meanwhile, back in the museum…

This year’s Big Clean is now almost complete. Nearly fifty Volunteers, and most of the staff, have been involved, in dusting everything from crossbows to medicine bottles, teapots to window sills.

Above, we have Mary Crane and Jennie Hoare in the surgery, and Jane Howells and Ruth Newman in the ceramics gallery. Thank you everyone.


Thank you


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“Thanks, Alan. Another interesting read. Mags K”

… a comment received this week in response to Alan Clarke’s first article on the Stonehenge Woollen Industries, and echoed by many of us I’m sure. We like to have comments, and please keep them coming, though we cannot publish them all of course!


We have well over two hundred Volunteers ‘signed up’ at the museum, many are ‘regulars’ and have come from fascinating backgrounds and continue wonderful, sometimes surprising, work here. A number have now provided talks at Volunteer gatherings. Please consider sending in an item for the blog – local history, something interesting from your past, something about your work at the museum…

The blog has hundreds of views a week and needs you to keep it going!



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Alan Clarke brings us more interesting photographs and a fascinating story of the connection between High Street, Salisbury and the Stonehenge Woollen Industry which we heard about last week.

A standing live ram held by a hoisting belt was the emblem adopted by the Duke of Burgundy when he founded the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1430.  He obtained great wealth from the wool trade in Flanders.  This emblem, the golden fleece, was adopted as the traditional sign of a woollen draper’s shop.  Hence the carved sheep above the former SPCK shop at 51 High Street, Salisbury.


Charles Scammell, an antique dealer, sold 51 High Street to Catherine Lovibond in about 1919.  Catherine was the youngest of three daughters of Joseph Lovibond (1833-1918), a former Mayor of Salisbury (1878-1890), who lived at Lake House, up the Woodford valley.  He was chairman of John Lovibond & Sons, Ltd, and of The Tintometer Ltd.

Catherine trained as a designer and took an interest in spinning and weaving. Encouraged by her father who had no sons, she started to teach the local women the processes involved, setting up looms and spinning wheels in Lake House. At first things did not go well but gradually the scheme caught on, so that by 1900 some of the products were being exhibited at the Albert Hall.  A company called the Stonehenge Woollen Industries was formed and despite a fire which almost destroyed Lake House in 1912, expansion continued, moving to Stratford sub Castle after the death of her father in 1918. Retail outlets were established in four places including 51 High Street, Salisbury.  This is when the carved sheep was placed over the High Street door to denote her trade.

street scene

51 High Street, sheep in view to the left

Catherine married Major Radcliffe James Lindsay Bashford in 1919 but he died soon afterwards on 20 August 1921.  Then in 1929 she became the third wife of Rowland George Allanson Allanson-Winn; Lord Hedley.  In his youth he had been editor of the Salisbury Journal for two years.  He died 22 June 1935.

After the death of Catherine (Lady Headley) the business carried on for some years and it was not until 1959 that the shop was sold to the SPCK who at the time occupied 56 High Street, Salisbury.  The sheep trade sign was retained and remains to the present day.

A lady who lived close by me was 99 years old when she gave me an interview.  She told me she used to work in the High Street shop as a young girl.  She still had a Stonehenge Woollen Industries’ scarf.  The shop used to supply patterns and wool for people to knit orders, often to be fulfilled in 2 or 3 days.  Catherine used to travel to London by train to sell the items and to take orders.  Another neighbour remembers her mother knitting frantically last thing at night to finish off a garment.  Catherine originally set up the industry to provide employment for those in the countryside however its greatest use was to give employment to those returning from the First World War.

woollen industry


A Stonehenge Woollen Industries scarf



Stonehenge Woollen Industry


A question was raised about this industry recently,  at a Volunteers’ gathering. Alan Clarke has found these photos in our archives…

Stonehenge w industry 1

The industry was started by Catherine Lovibond (whose family owned Lake House) for women out-workers on the estate.

Women with their spindle wheels outside the Stonehenge Woollen Industry shop in Wilsford-cum-Lake near Amesbury in 1898.

S w industry

The Weaving Room

S w industry 2

Alan says he has more on this topic, which is something to look forward to. This mode of production was already outdated, of course, by the late 1800s, but cottage industries (literally production in cottages, usually, but not always, by the women at home) were not unusual.




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When I first heard, some months ago now, that Brian Graham was going to exhibit a set which integrated archaeology, music and art, I immediately thought of Stonehenge, as I recalled reading something not too long ago of a theory concerning the acoustic properties of Stonehenge.

Coincidentally, this cropped up in my Facebook ‘Memories’ feed last week (‘Memories’ is one of my favourite features of Facebook). It was a 2012 paper by a doctoral researcher at Rock Arts Acoustics USA, one Steven Waller, who specialises in the sound properties of ancient sites, – the science of archaeoacoustics.

To understand this, one needs to appreciate that sound propagates through a medium (solid, liquid or gas) by means of waves. As a Science teacher, I used to demonstrate the properties of waves by means of a ripple tank. If standing water is disturbed on one side of a barrier containing a small gap, the waves are seen to fan out on the other side. This effect can be seen in real life at Lulworth Cove in Dorset (Fig.1).


Fig 1. Diffraction of waves at Lulworth Cove

When the barrier contains two gaps, the waves fanning out from each interfere with one another, causing the wave heights to be amplified in some places, and cancel out at others, creating ‘interference patterns’. This same effect occurs with sound. Thus Stephen Waller experimented by asking blindfolded volunteers to walk into a field as two pipers played. He then mapped where the volunteers said they could hear reduced or even no sound – so called ‘dead spots’.  The volunteers experienced quiet patches created by acoustic interference, leading to the ‘auditory illusion’ that massive objects stood between the listener and the instruments being played. Waller said that the volunteers “drew structures, archways and openings that are very similar to Stonehenge”. He speculated that the people who built Stonehenge may have become aware of this sound-cancelling effect during ceremonies involving musicians and would have thought it mystical – even magical, thus motivating them to build a stone circle whose design mimicked this acoustic illusion.

Interestingly, one of the legends concerning the ‘Merry Maidens’ neolithic stone circle, near St Buryan in Cornwall, says that some nineteen maidens, accompanied by two pipers, were dancing and making merry on a Sunday, and, as punishment for this sacrilege, they were all turned to stone –  petrified in a perfect circle – with the two pipers standing by themselves a little way off. This legend is reflected in the local name for the stone circle, Dans maen, meaning ‘dancing stones’.

There are also two other stones associated with the Merry Maidens, ‘The Fiddler’ to the west and the ‘Blind Fiddler’ to the north.

Such petrification legends concerning dancers and pipers (or at least, musicians) are frequently associated with stone circles throughout Britain, another example being ‘The Pipers Stones’ or Athgreany Stone Circle in County Wicklow. The Merry Maidens stone circle was depicted several times in Salisbury Museum’s 2017 exhibition, ‘British Art: Ancient Landscapes’, for example, in Ithell Colquhoun’s painting ‘Landscapes with Antiques, Lamorna’ (1955) (Fig 2).

Soundwaves 2

Fig 2. ‘Landscape with Antiques, Lamorna’, showing the Merry Maidens stone circle and ‘The Pipers’ (Ithell Colquhoun, 1955).

In view of this I find myself slightly disappointed that Brian Graham’s exhibition does not explicitly feature Stonehenge.

I shall return to the subject of waves in a future blog.


THE BELLS! THE BELLS…..! by Volunteer Alan Clarke


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We have another gem from Alan Clarke who works with our photographic archive.

In early November 1972, that is 46 years ago, at least one bell arrived at the museum.

Bell 7

The museum has many fascinating objects.  One or two are what I would call extremely heavy, defined as my not being able to lift them unaided.  How did they get to the museum and to their place on display?

People love to speculate and invent theories as to how these heavy objects arrived and were moved around.  Just look at the large number of theories as to how the very large stones at Stonehenge were moved around.  This is where photography can help provide the answers.

Bell 1972


Ed: this photo includes Hugh Shortt (right), Curator of Salisbury and S Wilts Museum in the 1970s.


In our project to scan all the Salisbury Journal negatives we have so far achieved twenty years’ worth – from 1953 to the end of 1972 (yes, that is 20 years, not 19).  In the collection of images for November 1972, there were three photographs which referenced Salisbury Museum.  These three images show a large bell arriving at the museum, and how it was moved within the museum.  No Sampson, no great crane, just the skill of several workers cheered on by the management.  However, careful examination of one image does show that the van, with its tailboard down, has an arm mechanism for swinging the bell out from the van’s floor, and lowering it down to the museum floor.  As you can observe in the images, great use was made of lengths of 4 inch by 2 inch wood to protect the floor.  Also, in the image with the bell arriving, there is a second bell already in the museum.  Salisbury was famous for bell making in Culver Street and Guilder Lane until around 1730, and hence the museum has some displays illustrating this lost industry.  However, I must admit that I thought the museum only had one large bell.  I couldn’t even find this bell on the museum website.  ‘Must have been overlooked.  I should go and look around the museum more carefully.*



Looking at the footwear in the images, I would advise that, when the bells are moved again, steel capped industrial shoes are worn by all in the vicinity, just in case a rolling bell…  (This is an ellipsis in honour of Terry Pratchett.  You did see the exhibition with the ellipsis bell on the mantlepiece, didn’t you? He used to ring it whenever Rob Wilkins wrote “…”)






Editor’s note: The bell on display in the Salisbury gallery is a fibreglass replica. I wonder if what we see in the image of the bell arriving is the original and the replica together? We shall find out…

Another Day at the Museum…


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Roy and Rachel 2

An unusual sight in the Ceramics Gallery…

Volunteers Roy Wilde and Rachel Pooler were to be found in the Ceramics Gallery this week, apparently deep in their studies!

Rodney and Rachel 1

It transpired that they are involved in a complete re-cataloguing of the collection. Lucky people! Each beautiful item was being carefully removed from display, checked against existing lists, documents amended as necessary, the item then returned to display.

How lucky we Volunteers are to be able to get these kinds of opportunities …