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.
PAS (Portable Antiquities Scheme) Volunteers continue to work their way through literally hundreds of finds brought into the museum by responsible metal detectorists. Three ‘gems’ this week, being processed by Volunteers Jane Hanbidge, Alyson Tanner and Alix Smith, together with Finds Liaison Assistant Sohie Hawke are below
Found in Wiltshire, this brooch dates from c AD 75 – 175. We often have beautiful and interesting brooches but not often are they complete. This lovely item is missing only some enamel which would have been held in the triangular cells on the middle of the bow.
Some readers will know that these brooches were worn in a manner which we would consider is upside down. Thus….
They were functional as well as decorative, worn by men and women, holding clothing together, and often worn in pairs as below:
By far the most common finds are Roman coins. This one is early:
It is a coin from the rule of Lucilla. Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla or Lucilla (March 7, 148 or 150 – 182) who was the second daughter and third child of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
A slightly (!) better example of the same coin appears here……
In the film Gladiator Lucilla was depicted as one of the most dangerous threats faced by her brother, Commodus. She was eventually executed for plotting to assassinate him and take power with her second husband but appears on Roman coins because she was briefly, through her first marriage, Empress Consort.
Every one of these finds would have been sadly missed by its owner, not least this:
As you can see, this is a tiny toy jug from a child’s toy tea set, or possibly a doll’s house piece, about 2cm across. Provisionally identified as 18th or 19th century, it is made of lead, as many toys were, well into the 20th century. It is as beautifully decorated as a full size version would be.
Our hugely knowledgeable costume Volunteers, also members of the Art Society, have uncovered some treasures recently. They, and other Volunteers, are systematically unpacking, checking, re-cataloging and re-packing the museum’s huge and important collection of costume. Week by week anything and everything which broadly comes under the heading of costume is lovingly poured over.
A fortnight ago, a petticoat of white lawn cotton and lace was unpacked by Volunteers Caroline Lanyon, Sarah Brumfitt, Selina Chudleigh, Pam Balchin. Dating from 1901, it had belonged to the donor’s mother and had been part of her trousseau that year. It had been made by Queen Victoria’s underwear seamstress. We might conjecture that, Queen Victoria having died in 1901, the seamstress had sought new customers elsewhere. and so produced this beautiful garment.
The Volunteers described the petticoat as follows:
“This lawn and lace petticoat is made in narrow vertical panels on the bodice in white work and tucked lawn cotton. The sides are gently shaped with tucked V shaped horizontal panels in lawn and the lace shaped with godet darts. The hem of 400mm depth has horizontal panels of cotton lawn and lace. Many of the panels are joined a ladder stitch insertion. The back has a gusset opening to the hips and is fastened by eight covered buttons. The button holes are hand made with two top hand-worked loops.”
The evening of Thursday 21st March, and potentially I had four different events I could attend, including one of two history societies and an astronomical society. In the event I had already purchased a ticket to attend ‘Beer Tasting with Simon Jackson’ at the Museum.
On arrival I found myself chatting with two of the Volunteers for the evening, whom I hadn’t seen since we were all involved with the Terry Pratchett exhibition. This meant that I eventually sat at a table with people I’d never met before and who, initially, didn’t seem very chatty.
Simon Jackson started by informing us that he was a Trustee of the Museum and a qualified brewer, and reminded us that Salisbury Museum is a world class museum with collections of international importance. He also pointed out that Salisbury was once an important malting centre, and which gives its name to the area still known as The Maltings, but the nearest now is in Warminster.
Simon then reminded us of the major ingredients of beer: barley, hops, water… . The quality of brewing water is particularly important as beer is 90%-95% water, and hence the pre-eminence of Burton-Upon-Trent as a brewing centre. Burton water is created by rainwater trickling through deep beds of gypsum (calcium sulphate) before resting in underground aquifers. Burton beer is known for a temporary eggy, sulphurous smell, known in brewing circles as ‘Burton snatch’. A major brewery in Burton is Whitbread, where Louis Pasteur did much of his original work.
Another key ingredient is hops, which are used primarily as a bittering, flavouring and stability agent. They are a member of the Cannabinaceae family, although they don’t contain any of the psycho-active agents. Simon informed us that we can find hops growing in the hedgerow around Tesco Extra.
None too soon we got around to actually sampling the beers, of which six were provided, along with a complementary foodstuff for each. First to be sampled was a local brew, Hopback’s Summer Lightning. Simon informed us that this isn’t pasteurised and is one of the most awarded beers in the world. This was paired with a local cheese, Somerset Brie. According to Simon, this beer was named after its creator had been reading the P.G.Wodehouse novel of the same name.
Also of interest were some of the Museum’s collection of brewing-related artefacts, including a ‘frog mug’ – a ceramic mug with a green frog inside. Frog mugs, also called surprise mugs or ague mugs are a type of vessel mainly used for drinking alcoholic beverages. They were part of a tradition of drinking games where the frog slowly emerged at the bottom of the vessel as it was drained. This reminded me that I still have one at home – a present from a former girlfriend.
As a scientist, I was particularly interested in the Lovibond tintometer, which I think he said was an original model. Joseph Williams Lovibond, the son of a prominent London brewery owner, set up the foundations of Tintometer Ltd in Salisbury in 1885, as a means of ensuring the high quality of his beers. He devised a system of using coloured glass strips to compare against the colour of beer, and is based upon the fact that glass does not lose its colour. Tintometer was the first company to develop the science of measurement by colour and The Tintometer Ltd company still exists close by to Salisbury.
All in all this was a fabulous and informative evening. The fact that I didn’t know any of the others on my table was of no consequence once we’d imbibed our second sample of beer, which might have been the Hopping Hare (paired with Jacob’s Twiglets) – we were talking 19 to the dozen. I felt I made the right choice from my four options and I hope this is an event that can be repeated in future.
Last week, Volunteer Christine Mason wrote for us about the remarkable story of her involvement with the museum’s Rex Whistler archive. Thanks to this talented lady, some of the Whistler story is spreading far and wide…
Nothing of what happened throughout 2018 in preparation for the show would have been possible without the help, enthusiasm and encouragement of Louise Tunnard, and it was a gamble for her, as if the event wasn’t a success the museum stood to lose money.
that there should be two readers, male and female, and I was very fortunate
that two professional actor friends, Jill Fenner and Edward Halsted, expressed
interest, so it was up to me to produce a script that would appeal to them. I
started, naturally, by reading every item in the correspondence section of the
archive, approximately 700 items, but of those 700, although some were just a single
sheet, others were six or more pages long.
I selected about 59 possibilities to work on. In the case of transcripts I could photocopy
them to take home, but for the originals the photographs on Modes had to be
retrieved, and here I was greatly indebted to volunteer David Balston for doing
that. Bearing in mind always that the
performance had to be strictly of an hour’s duration was a good discipline when
it came to editing the letters. The
first lines to go were the apologies that began almost every letter. I have said that Whistler was a reluctant
letter writer, and his correspondents always had to wait a long time for
replies, even when commissions were being offered. Repetition, references to people or events
unknown today also disappeared. Finally
27 letters and one envelope made up the script.
Once the shape was in place I had to provide a linking narrative, and
decide on the division of the letters between the readers, which was roughly
that the female would read letters addressed to women and the male those to
men, but this was not strictly adhered to.
The title, ‘Darling Edith and others’ was arrived at by Louise and me
over a lunchtime sandwich, and she designed the attractive poster advertising the
event. So with the script done, and
timed with helpful friends reading aloud with me, copies were sent to the
actors, who fortunately were both enthusiastic about it.
the script was completed, I was stewarding in the Henry Lamb exhibition, and
one of the visitors was Katherine Olivier, the great-niece of the Darling Edith
of the title. We talked, and she said
she lived in America so would not be able to come to the performance, but at
her request I sent her a copy of the script, which she reviewed very kindly and
script completed and accepted, I then had to think about the staging, bearing
in mind the limitations of the Lecture Hall as a performance venue, with its
very low stage making for difficult sightlines, and the lack of effective
lighting. Any staging, however minimal,
is a costly business. Both actors had
offered to waive their fees, but this could not be allowed. Louise negotiated with Edward’s agent, and
Jill’s costs and other expenses were sponsored.
These included a dress being made to a 1930s pattern for Jill, and a
donation to Salisbury Playhouse for the loan of furnishings, for which they
generously had made no charge, and had given me a freehand to pick anything I
wanted even including a vase of artificial flowers from the theatre’s
foyer. Other items to dress the set and
genuine 1930s jewellery were scrounged from friends. A superb copy of the self-portrait held by
the museum was made, and two personal items from the archive also helped dress
the set, Whistler’s Welsh Guard’s cap and the drinks flask he carried.
months before the date of the show, Jill and Edward came to Salisbury for a
rehearsal one Saturday when the Lecture Hall was not in use. This was our only rehearsal before the actual
day, and all other notes and directions were conducted by e-mail between the
three of us, but I could not have wished for more co-operative and amenable
morning of 7th December we were to rehearse and set the stage, so it
was disconcerting to arrive and find a decorated, artificial Christmas tree on
the acting area and the hall bedecked with totally inappropriate bunting. Fortunately, Jill’s partner who worked for years
backstage at the Coliseum for English National Opera, removed the bunting with
Wagnerian thoroughness, but his fight with the Christmas tree was more in the
style of opera comique, and apologies
if the tree was never the same again.
To our great
relief the evening was completely sold out, and the performance went
smoothly. It had to end with a
black-out, which was difficult to do, so I hid on stage behind a screen before
the audience arrived, and Louise joined me after her introduction. We had to have four hands on four switches to
achieve the black-out, and we had been unable to synchronise this at the afternoon’s
rehearsal, but by a miracle we managed it when it mattered.
It is very
gratifying, that after so many months’ work by everyone involved, ‘Darling
Edith and Others’ will be seen again.
Lewes Little Theatre, Sussex, with a suitable donation to the museum,
has programmed it into their next season as a Sunday afternoon foyer
performance on 31st May 2020, so if you missed it in Salisbury. . .