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Museum News


Musings on the ghost (or skeleton) of Christmas past and working in a museum

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It’s nearly mid-winter, and outside my office window at Bishop’s Stortford Museum all I can see is darkness, wind and rain. This is a season where time seems to wrinkle and the past can seem awfully close sometimes, an atmosphere no doubt heightened by the fact that I work in a museum. Staring out of the window I can’t help but wonder how the people whose cultures we try to preserve would have experienced the world when they were alive at this time of the year, during the run up to Christmas. Take for example Titus, the museum’s famous Romano-Roman...

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‘On the Beat’ – stories from 1914-1918

Friday, November 21, 2014

Twisted Events Presents Theatre company and Thorn Grove Primary School’s pupils, working with Bishop’s Stortford Museum recently put on ‘Stories from the Beat’ at Rhodes, as part of the museum’s Hertitage Lottery Funded WW1 police project. The two had been working together to tell the stories of a typical policeman’s beat in Bishop’s Stortford during WWI. After thorough research of the subject matter and relevant issues that were to be presented in the play it was thought that it would be best to divide the evening into two parts: the first half of the performance were three mini stories put on by the children,...

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hadham hall blog

Policing the town during WW1 – billeted soldiers. A blog by Russell King

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Born and growing up in Bishops Stortford our newest volunteer Russell King has a keen interest in family and local history so we set him the task of researching our police incident books during the First World War to try to uncover some fascinating stories about the town. Here is his first report. After working through the records, a police report caught my eye; Hadham Hall and two soldiers going AWOL from there in June 1915. As a past pupil when it was a school I  took up the story and decided to research the incident and see what other...

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Draped in the past – the museum’s costume archive

Monday, October 27, 2014

As a volunteer working in the costume archive at the museum, I love the variety of clothes and other items that I frequently come across. I have been checking the contents of the storage boxes, to make sure that the items inside match the description on the outside of the box, as well as checking the condition of the items for any damage, etc. and then carefully repacking them away. It’s fascinating to open a box and find a delicate silk and lace Edwardian blouse, and then the next box I open contains a pair of heavy leather farmer boot...

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Copy of local history6south street

Oral history and Bishop’s Stortford Part I – Bishop’s Stortford Oral History Archive

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Bishop’s Stortford Museum oral history project is made up of three elements: An ongoing project preserving and digitising the backlog of recordings from the Rhodes Memorial Museum and the Bishop’s Stortford Local History Museum. The making of an archive relevant for future generations by interviewing local residents on contemporary topics. The New Police project: The creation of new recordings on specific topics. Since 2012 we have more than 40 testimonies by local residents, some who sadly are no longer with us. We were also left with a backlog of approximately 100 local history interviews that we are currently processing....

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Me, hard at work researching

Sir Walter Gilbey – A blog by Craig Paterson

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This month’s blog is by Craig, one of our fantastic volunteers. Volunteering at the museum has allowed me to gain knowledge of historical figures from Bishops Stortford whom I had previously been unfamiliar with. Indeed, the only Stortfordian whom I was aware of prior to joining the team was the person that the museum is named after, Cecil Rhodes. However, it is one of Stortford’s other nineteenth-century figures, Sir Walter Gilbey, who I would like to talk about.  Gilbey, who was born on the 2nd of May 1831 at No. 11 Windhill, Bishops Stortford, was a wine-merchant and philanthropist, and...

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Conserving African Beadwork

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    Sophie in the conservation lab You may not know that our (soon to be departed!) Museum Assistant Sophie also studies Conservation at University College London. When an accident occurred in the gallery which led to one of our beaded African necklaces becoming broken, Sophie offered to take it on as one of her university projects. Here she explains how she repaired the necklace to its former glory. “Accidents happen, and the silver lining of this one was that it provided me with the opportunity to carry out some really interesting research and treatment of very beautiful and intricate...

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image for invite

On the Beat: Stories from 1914-1918

Friday, July 11, 2014

Watch this space as we will add to the blog as our exhibition starts to go up….. 15th July 2014 Today the artwork arrived with the graphic novels.and we have just finished storing them safely away.  They are now waiting to be put up. The graphic novels will be sold to accompany the exhibition. They look amazing…. and tomorrow work starts on painting the gallery walls…. oh the joys of exhibition set up. 10th July 2014 On August 5th the museum’s brand new exhibition will open to the public. Before that date the museum staff and volunteers will be working...

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This month…..a mystery object

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June’s blog is more of a question than anything else. The museum has a significant collection of material which is currently not on display in the museum, but held in store. Volunteers at the museum are currently cataloguing the thousands of objects held in store and they are creating a complete inventory, which will make it easier for people in the future to access the objects and documents we hold. This is a fascinating but sometimes challenging job…..and sometimes something unexpected and outside our experience turns up, and so to our question. Whilst cataloguing items from the local history collection...

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alex photos (32)

From the costume collection……..

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The museum has a small, but interesting, collection of costume. A few of the highlights are on display in the first floor museum galleries. The remainder of the collection is held in our off-site store, and is currently being catalogued, photographed and re-boxed by one of our dedicated volunteers – Thank you Anne! The photograph below shows a detail of a bodice from the 1890s. It is made of a stiff black brocaded material and the ¾ length sleeves are decorated with elegant jet or black glass beads. The large sleeves and tiny waist are typical of the style of...

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The Bullingdon Club at Oxford University in the late 1870s, with Rhodes 2nd left in the front row

Cecil Rhodes and the Bullingdon Club

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mike James is one of our team of fantastic museum volunteers and he has been working on the museum’s Rhodes collection. This blog explores some of the photographs he has been cataloguing. The Rhodes collection in Bishop’s Stortford Museum is full of books, artefacts and boxes of photographs, all to do with Cecil Rhodes and colonial southern Africa. We are carefully cataloguing this material, as well as the local history collections, with the ultimate aim of making it all more accessible to the public. I knew very little about Rhodes before starting on this. I learned he was born in...

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hockerill fountain 4

The Hockerill Fountain

Monday, March 17, 2014

A picture in a recently donated book of postcards of old Bishops Stortford grabbed my attention.  It was of the cross roads at Hockerill in the early years of the last century.   In the centre was a large drinking fountain, complete with gas lamp. A second view, from a later postcard reveals the addition of traffic signs, and shows the fountain in action. This fountain was a gift to the town, from Edwin and Eliza Eyre, in 1872.  They were related to the Houblon family who owned the nearby estate of Hallingbury Place, in Great Hallingbury.  The estate was inherited...

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