“A Salisbury Journal photograph (scanned from negative by Museum volunteers David and Graham) from 2nd March 1981 when the museum was moving from St Ann Street to The Kings House.
The volunteers have scanned from 1953 up to 1981 working towards 1990.”
And Peter Saunders writes:
“As promised, here is the photograph I took today, roughly from the same position as in the blog picture, which would date, I guess, from 1981 or thereabouts, not long after the Museum had moved from St Ann Street. Now the Wessex Gallery, it was then the former college dining room – being stripped, windows blocked and the space prepared to accommodate the gallery devoted to General Pitt-Rivers, which opened in 1983.
I’m seen tending the statue of Caesar Augustus, which originally stood outside the Pitt-Rivers Museum at Farnham in Dorset. Its right arm had been severely damaged, broken and crushed, when vandals pushed the statue off its plinth there: we had to arrange for bronze restorers in Portsmouth to repair and re-attach the arm before Augustus could be erected on the rear lawn, where it stands today.
The monumental wooden wheels in the background are indeed from a cart, but I’m sorry to disappoint: it wasn’t one used to carry victims to the guillotine during the French Revolution but a farmer’s cart collected by Pitt-Rivers from Cyprus for comparison with his models of agricultural machinery and tools. The cart had to be dismantled to get it into the building. It is difficult to make out what the dark shape behind them appears to be but I’d guess it’s the bath chair used by Pitt-Rivers. After being displayed in this gallery, both were moved into storage when the Wessex Gallery was created.
The rest of the room is little more than a builder’s yard, littered with fittings being dismantled from the college building. Kneeling there among bricks and bags of cement as I was then, it’s a reminder of how chaotic things were at that time owing to having to move all the collections onto site long before conversion work and gallery design was completed. I’ve no idea why I was looking so cheerful: if only Caesar Augustus could speak!“
Or…as Alan Clarke has suggested, in producing this photo for us, “Eh Tu, Peter?”
I think we recognise these two gentlemen…. Peter Saunders, Curator Emeritus, and Roman friend, who is now established on the museum lawn.
But what, when, where…? Is it part of the current museum site, stripped out and being set up? Peter was ‘at the helm’ when all that happened. Or is it part of the old museum, formerly in St Anns Street? Or is it somewhere else entirely?
Wonderful items in the background. Where are they now? A careful look to the rear right hand corner reveals something on which Sydney Carton might have traveled to the guillotine. Perhaps the monumental wheels we can see belong to that tumbril (if that is what it is!)?
Our own Wil Partridge, Finds Liaison Officer for Wiltshire, will be at Wiltshire Museum, Devizes on Saturday 14 March 2.30 – 4.30pm, presenting a talk:
Recent finds of late Roman pewter from within Wiltshire
Salisbury Museum Volunteers were involved in 2019 with the cleaning and preservation work on a hoard of pewter from the county (which will be included in Wil’s talk). These hoards of pewter are a mystery – unknown in the rest of the Roman Empire, while several have been found in Wiltshire.
“The mystery photograph (Blog entry 3 Sept) shows part of a temporary photographic exhibition, “The Goings of the Salisbury Giant”, held in the entrance hall of the old museum in St Ann Street in September to December 1979. It was mounted by Vernon Morgan and David Cousins of the Salisbury College of Art for the Salisbury Festivities, now the Salisbury International Arts Festival. I cannot recall who it is standing next to the Giant cut-out (possibly Vernon Morgan) but in the background is Tiffany Hunt, the then deputy curator, admiring the work. If my memory serves me, the festival granted us £100 towards the cost (then considered a very useful sum). Forty years on David Cousins provides photographic support with publishing archaeological reports.”
Peter Saunders was Director of the Museum for over thirty years and retired in 2007. During this time he masterminded the move of the Museum from St Ann’s Street to the King’s House. In recent years he oversaw the establishment of the Stonehenge Gallery and the transformation of the temporary exhibition gallery. He is now a volunteer at the Museum.
We were interested to read the blog post from Alan Crooks on 18 June about the Sword of Stalingrad, and the response comment ‘good to record a time of friendly relations with Russia’. This is not the only evidence of that in the Close! When we were researching for Salisbury Past some 20 years ago we found in the Museum’s ephemera collection a concert programme for 3 January 1943 (the Tehran Conference was held Nov – Dec 1943).
The front told us who was performing, and is signed ‘Best wishes Hubert’. Inside is the list of music played. But the words on the back really caught our attention; again it is evidence of Britain’s close relationship with Russia at the time, and brings home how Salisbury really was part of a global conflict:
“The proceeds of this entertainment will be handed to the Russian Ambassador for the provision of comforts for the heroic defenders of Stalingrad”
The Battle of Stalingrad was reaching its climax in January 1943; the Soviet victory over the German 6th Army was arguably the decisive battle of the war.
Just under two weeks to go… Please be with us for the weekend of 13 14 July. We need Volunteers to help on the Saturday and the Sunday*, to join in (what could be better than a cream tea in the garden and a couple of good talks), bring your children, grandchildren and friends and neighbours (something for everyone).
see Bridget’s recent email re times when we need help.
Beautiful colours, clever planting. Lots of hard work. Thank you ladies.
Can you help?
We need lots of dried lavender (stalks and all) for a fundraising project later this year (details later). If you can let us have some, please place in a sealed bag when completely dry and bring in to Reception. Thank you!
Salisbury Museum awarded National Lottery support for
Future Generations project
Salisbury Museum is delighted to announce
that it has been awarded initial support* from The National Lottery Heritage
Fund for its Salisbury Museum for Future
This £4.4 million project will
enable the museum to transform its displays and facilities – completing the
work started with the National Lottery funded Wessex Gallery of archaeology in
2014. The museum will create new exhibitions dedicated to its outstanding
collections of art, medieval archaeology, costume, ceramics and social history.
There will be an extensive programme of capital works to restore and repurpose the
Grade I listed medieval building. Alongside this the project will introduce a
new and exciting programme of learning and engagement that will embed the
museum in the local community.
Thanks to money raised by
National Lottery players, The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded
initial support and development funding of £429,400. This will enable the
museum to develop the project plans in more detail and apply for a full grant
of £3.2 million. The museum will have two years to raise £1.2 million in match
funding from private individuals, trusts and foundations. An application for
the full funding amount will be submitted in the summer of 2021.
Green, Director of Salisbury Museum said:
is amazing news not only for the museum, but for the people of Salisbury. The
City deserves an excellent museum for the local community. Its outstanding
culture and heritage also needs to be presented to the wider world in an
exciting and dynamic way’.
Denniston, Chair of Trustees for the Museum said:
support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund offers powerful affirmation of
the relevance of the museum, its collections and its heritage. It also affirms
the importance of Salisbury’s regeneration as its cultural institutions work
together to create a positive and inclusive reimagining of the city’s history
The museum is hugely grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Lottery players and our local partners for their support.’
* The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant applications over £250,000 are assessed in two rounds. Salisbury Museum for Future Generations has initially been granted round one development funding of £429,400 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £3.2m
Major new fundraising initiative from Friends of Erlestoke Prison and The Salisbury Museum
cARTes postales – art on postcards – is
an exciting initiative by The Friends of Erlestoke Prison
Salisbury Museum, working in partnership. The aim is to
sell over 300 postcard-sized works of original art for only £40 each, in the
style of a lucky dip. This will help raise funds to support rehabilitation
projects at HMP Erlestoke, including an all-weather sports pitch, but also much
needed money to support the museum and all its future plans.
This is the amazing opportunity to own
a piece of art by leading contemporary artists including Antony Gormley,
Richard Deacon, Paul Kidby and Sophie Ryder; talented and emerging local
artists and some of the best artists at HMP Erlestoke.
Postcard vouchers will be available
online from 19 June from the Salisbury Museum website.
Postcards will be exhibited at The Salisbury Museum in October and members of
the public can buy vouchers online with immediate effect. The allocation of postcards will be randomly
generated and postcards dispatched to their lucky recipients by the end of
The second part of the fundraising will
take place at a drinks reception and auction on the evening of 25 October at
The Salisbury Museum. The auction will include works of art donated by
well-known artists, who have kindly donated further works in addition to their
This fundraising initiative has mental
well-being at its heart. For the prisoners at HMP Erlestoke, there are
currently no facilities for outdoor team sports. Exercise in the fresh air will
improve the mental well-being and fitness of prisoners as part of their
rehabilitation. It will also help to prevent reoffending. The Friends of
Erlestoke Prison are aiming to raise £500,000 to build and install the
all-weather sports pitch.
Salisbury Museum is an independent charity, which uses its outstanding
collections of art, archaeology, costume and social history to encourage
learning, inspiration and enjoyment for all. The money raised will support the
museum on its journey towards securing a grant from the National Lottery
Heritage Fund. This project will complete the much needed transformation of the
Salisbury history galleries, restore the museum’s medieval home and launch a
programme of learning and community activities to help build and grow audiences.