Have you ever viewed the museum via YouTube? Try it. Click here for the latest video of exciting things going on (the Lego), then have a look at some more by using your search engine and typing in YouTube Salisbury Museum.
Last week, the museum was pleased to host a talk by Sir Tony Robinson (with a little help from his friends!). Our own Owain Hughes was there and reports back…
Sir Tony has an autobiography out – ‘No Cunning Plan’ – and his talk focused on that, and on his friendship with Sir Terry Pratchett.
He began by describing Sir Terry’s great love of the chalk landscape and invited a certain member of the audience – a great friend of ours, Phil Harding – to explain the origins of this local landscape, and to share a few memories of Time Team digging in it!
Rob Wilkins, Terry’s assistant, business manager and long term friend added to the memories of the writer by describing how the two of them ‘bonded’ – at a book signing when they realised they were both ‘electronic nerds’!
Tony’s links with the writer go back a long way. At an early encounter, Terry was to congratulate Tony on some comedy programmes he had written for Radio Bristol. In subsequent years Tony was to create the audio versions of Terry’s books and played a role, the store manager, in the 2006 film version of Terry’s ‘Hogfather’.
The same year, Tony appeared in Tony Robinson: Me and My Mum, a documentary surrounding his decision to find a nursing home for his mother, and the difficulty he had doing so. In the intervening years he has become a supporter of Alzheimer’s research and charities, which, of course would have been a bond between the two men, as Terry began to suffer himself. When Terry was invited to do the Dimbleby lecture in 2010 he was already struggling with the illness, and while he introduced the lecture, it was Tony who read Terry’s words. It was about death, our attitudes to it and about assisted death. The audience here were very moved when Tony read an abridged version of the lecture at this talk. As indeed visitors have been moved by this aspect of the museum’s exhibition.
Owain shares with us some of the excitement at the end of the talk…
The talk ran over the allotted time and with less than an hour before his train was due to leave, Tony began signing copies of his books for a very long queue of eager fans. He was due to give an interview to the British Forces Broadcasting Service which they managed to do somewhere on the car journey to the station! The next day, he was at the Royal Albert Hall, reading at a carol service.
A busy man. Thank you Sir Tony for your visit and sharing your memories.
One giant LEGO mosaic with 960 tiles and 61,440 bricks
Thirty six volunteers
One hundred and thirty models of ‘The Luggage’ constructed
Four hundred and sixty visitors
The Staff Team
Not quite the Twelve Days of Christmas! BUT we overcame rain inside the marquee, cling filming LEGO in the dark, avoided a storm, managed to keep warm (mostly) and delivered another amazing event to our visitors.
Sincere thanks to you all for everything you contributed towards a wonderful day.
See the finished article in the museum now.
You will be pleased to hear that it has just been announced that we secured £115,360 from the Museum Association’s Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund to undertake work with young people on our costume collections and displays. This application was put together by Katy England and will obviously be the focus for her work over the next couple of years (from Feb 2018) following up on the excellent HLF Funded City Story Project.
Katy will be working with, amongst others, our NADFAS lady volunteers, on this new project.
See here for more info about the announcement and the other awards made:
I was intrigued to notice that, within Salisbury, there are two prominent artifacts concerning one Andrew Bogle Middleton. The first is a Blue Plaque at the junction of New Canal with High Street (currently the wall of Waterstones) which credits Middleton with having rid the city of cholera in the mid-19th Century (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Blue Plaque commemorating A.B.Middleton
The second is a clock in The Salisbury Museum with the inscription that it was ‘The Gift of A.B.Middleton Esq, A.D. 1860’.
Figure 2. Clock in The Salisbury Museum
An information board adjacent (Figure 3) states that this clock was from the Market House, Salisbury and that not only did A.B. Middleton set up the Salisbury Railway and Market House Company, but he was also associated with the Museum, which was founded in 1860.
Figure 3. Information board accompanying the clock in The Salisbury Museum.
It is difficult to believe that, given the dates, these are not one and the same person.
Given, as stated on the information board, that Middleton was also associated with the Museum when it was founded in 1860 (presumably in connection with the Drainage Collection – the first collection acquired by the Museum), it is surprising that the Museum does not make explicit the connection of this A.B. Middleton with the man responsible for the eradication of cholera within the city, and link it with the Drainage Collection, which is housed in a separate room!
That, therefore, is the purpose of this blog.
Regarding the clock, this once graced the Market House, a building constructed to the west of the Market Place, in the place now occupied by Market Walk and the Public Library. This was the culmination of a need to erect accommodation for the buyers and sellers of agricultural produce. There had been much wrangling over a suitable site for such a building, including sites in and around the present Market Square, considered at the time to be the finest in the West of England.
Eventually the site proposed by A.B. Middleton was agreed upon and the new Market House eventually opened in May 1859.
The great advantage of the location proposed by Middleton was that a railway could be built directly from the Market House to link with the Great Western and South Western lines at Fisherton. Indeed, both narrow gauge and broad gauge lines were laid down to connect with the South Western line, enabling cattle and merchandise to be sent by any of the four railways which served the city.
The clock itself was fixed to the far end of a balcony that ran round three sides of the building. It is 62 inches high and 48 inches wide. The dial is a convex copper sheet secured to a wooden frame. Access to the mechanism is from behind, and thus requires no hole in the face for a winding key.
All but the façade of the Market House was demolished in the late 1970s to build the new Salisbury Public Library.
We will have more next week from Alan Crooks about A B Middleton …
And how grateful our visitors are that they can at our museum. BUT.. we want this to be a pleasurable experience!
The Salisbury Museum is going potty!
We need new loos… Please donate
A beautiful bronze sculpture, Solstice, has appeared on the front lawn of the museum.
Solstice, by Bridget McCrum RWA FRBS is one of an edition of nine. She writes this, herself, about her work:
“Since childhood I have been excited by ancient remains, fragments of carving and standing in lonely landscapes. My travels have taken me to many sites from different cultures around the Mediterranean. Theses objects, combined with the landscape around my homes in Devon and Gozo, have inevitably worked their way into my sculpture.”
Installation was not without its problems and colleagues worked late into the winter evening…
Volunteers Gail Davis and Kate Wickson gave a very interesting talk on Pilgrim Badges at one of our Volunteer coffee mornings recently.
The Salisbury Museum website offers the photo above and these notes about one of the more magnificent examples of a pilgrim badge from our collections:
“This pilgrim badge portrays Our Lady of Tombelaine: Tombelaine is a tiny island close to Mont St Michel off the coast of France. This object was probably brought back to Salisbury as a souvenir of a pilgrimage.
During the medieval period, souvenirs, in the form of badges and ampullae (miniature holy water flasks), were usually made and sold at religious shrines to visitors who wanted to take home visible proof of their pilgrimage. The badges were usually cast in moulds and made in a tin-lead alloy or, more rarely, precious metals. The badges were usually worn in the hat and identified the pilgrim as someone who needed support and hospitality on the journey. They also served as an aid to devotion because of their supposed contact with a particular shrine.
Most of the pilgrim souvenirs from Salisbury were found in medieval watercourses, suggesting that they may have been thrown into rivers deliberately as offerings by returning pilgrims.”
If you haven’t explored the exciting material which we have on-line, please do, by clicking here.
And in connection with that talk by Gail and Kate, Volunteer Peter Read said “Thank you for a stimulating morning. All most interesting. ” and sent a link to a Dan Towse, who experiments with re-creating medieval tin ampullae and other aspects of medieval industry.