Friday, October 21, 2016

October Half Term

Find something to do every day during the October Half Term with our family activity planner!

Download your copy here.
Click on image to enlarge and download

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New Textile Heritage Trail

This week sees the launch of a website and textile trail that brings together information about textile collections across West Yorkshire. This is the culmination of the West Yorkshire Textile Heritage Project, a partnership between Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield Museums.
The trail leaflet features a colourful map of West Yorkshire that shows the location of more than 30 museums, mills, historic houses and other places of interest with a textile theme.   Even more information is available on the website, which has links to all the venues and downloadable walks across the district. These walks include one around the significant textile manufacturing centre of Ossett and one along Wakefield Waterfront, which was a thriving industrial area in its hey-day with around 35 mills established on this site, as well as the boatyard which is still in operation today.

Trail leaflets can be picked up at Wakefield Museum or downloaded from the project website. The project website can be viewed here.

The online collections are hosted by the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS), which makes available over 1000 records from the textile collections of Wakefield, Kirklees, Bradford, Calderdale and Leeds museums.

The online collections contain nearly 300 objects from the Wakefield district, which tell unique stories of the textile industry in the region. Examples of textiles produced in the local area include knitting yarn samples and finished products such as clothing, bedding and soft toys. A large proportion of the collection is made up of photographs and ephemera, including correspondence, advertisements, catalogues, packaging and knitting patterns.

The project was supported by the Museums Association (MA) with a grant from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. Sally Colvin from the MA said ‘We were delighted to support the West Yorkshire Heritage Textile project as the partnership approach from four museum services really stood out. Textile heritage is spread right across the region so it’s only right that the services should work together; the website and trail are great results from this approach.’

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wakefield Theatre Club

Earlier this year, we were thrilled to receive a fantastic collection of Wakefield Theatre Club memorabilia from a generous donor. The material was mainly collected in 1970s by Isabel Cheston, who worked at the club’s cigarette kiosk.


Wakefield Theatre Club was part of the vibrant local variety scene along with the likes of Batley Variety Club. The memorabilia, including flyers, posters and programmes, reveals the long and eclectic list of stars who performed at the club.


Club members were treated to a wide range of different performances: from singers, dancers and orchestras to comedians, ventriloquists and strong women like Joan Rhodes. Known as the Mighty Mannequin, she was famed for bending steel bars and tearing telephone directories in half whilst wearing fishnet tights and high heels.


Working at the club, Isabel was lucky enough to meet many of the performers. She amassed a vast collection of stars’ autographs. The examples below are just a flavour of the whole collection.




Sometimes, Isabel must have grabbed whatever she had to hand for the artists and celebrity patrons to sign- Leeds United footballer, Billy Bremner autographed a page from a waitress’s notepad, whilst Les Dawson signed the back of a fragment of a London Underground map!

The collection also includes a selection of menus from the club’s restaurant. Audiences could treat themselves to a meal before a performance. In 1970 patrons could start with either grapefruit or prawn cocktail followed by a choice of scampi, steak, gammon, chicken, or plaice all served with chipped potatoes. Pie and peas was a cheaper alternative or there were salads as a healthier option. A bottle of Moet & Chandon to wash it all down with would’ve set you back 49/- or, if you preferred, it cost 2/10 for a pint of bitter or 1/6 for a Coca-Cola or lime and lemon.

Were you a member at the Theatre Club? Who do you remember seeing and were you lucky enough to meet any stars?

Monday, August 1, 2016

New Casual Learning Posts

Come, work with us!

We are looking for enthusiastic, committed and reliable people to join our Learning Team on a casual basis, to deliver tours and activities across our sites.

These Casual Learning Enabler posts have been newly created to increase capacity across our museums and castles, initially mainly focused at Pontefract Castle as part of our exciting redevelopment there.


Are you up to the job of bringing these ruins back to life in a fun and engaging way?

We are looking for people who are committed to excellent customer service and are able to deliver (with initial training and support) a range of exciting and hands-on activities and costumed tours for a variety of audiences including primary schools, children and families.
The ideal candidates will work well independently but also within a team; have excellent communication skills as well as experience of delivering a range of learning sessions. This role is offered on an as-and-when required basis.

For more information and to apply, visit the Wakefield Council recruitment page, and type Casual Learning Enabler into the job title box.

Closing date 12 August.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl summer space now open at Wakefield Museum
We are planning a ‘gloriumptious’ event - to mark the opening of the new Roald Dahl space at Wakefield Museum.
The colourful space which is open all summer, celebrates the work of the renowned children’s author, famed for his classic books such as Matilda, the Big Friendly Giant, and James and the Giant Peach.
Our special event  takes place on Wednesday August 3 from 11am to 4pm, and features a range of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory craft inspired activities including an opportunity to invent their own chocolate, make sweet deely boppers and lollipop decorations. 
You will also be able to dress-up, have your face painted and meet a special mystery guest...
The event is free and there’s no need to book in advance.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pokemon Infestation in Wakefield Museum!

Wakefield Museum's conservator has had a bit of a shock recently, as the museum appears to be infested with creatures.

Vigilant staff have picked up signs that the creatures appear to be gathering around a PokeStop at the building.

Even more alarming is these creatures (we understand the scientific name is Pokémon) don't seem to be responding to our usual pest traps, and we seem unable to capture them.

The museum conservator said:
"These things have me baffled. I have tried using all of our usual pest-control methods, but they are still there, sitting on our museum objects. I don't know what else to do!  This is a museum emergency - I've never seen anything like this before."

We need your help! 

Please, come to the museum and help us capture all of these Pokémon.



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Using film to explore the heritage of local Playmakers

We are working with One to One Development Trust on a project for a forthcoming exhibition.

Judi (Creative Director) writes:
Whilst a lot of the country are enjoying tennis season and Wimbledon, we have been busy filming for our latest production, ‘Playmakers’ a short film and exhibition about the Sykes/ Slazenger Factory in Horbury.

What a gem of a story this is.
William Sykes was only 23 when, against family advice, he married Ethel Marshall. Using his wife’s savings William bought a saddle business in Horbury in the 1870s. The factory has had a long and fascinating history including being taken over by Slazenger in 1942, Slazenger were then taken over by Dunlop Rubber in 1959 and then purchased in 1985 by BTR PLC, (both brand names Dunlop and Slazenger were kept) the factory finally closed in 1986.  Apart from during the war when the Sykes factory made a variety of army equipment including gun parts, the main business has been in producing sports equipment.

Last week we were very lucky to be filming Robert Haines who was Technical Manager at Slazenger and oversaw the build of a new product research centre at the site in Horbury. The centre was opened in 1978 and was a hive of innovation and excellence. Tennis rackets, one of the companies’ top products, were traditionally made from wood planks, but the team at Horbury showed incredible ingenuity with their approach to producing a new product which would change the face of racket sports forever. Robert and his team lead the way in the switch over to graphite frames with the launch of the Max 200g tennis racket, the first graphite racket, and the first to be constructed using injection moulding. The racket made its debut in the early 1980s as the preferred choice of world renowned players John McEnroe and Steffi Graf.

Bob Haines with Dunlop Racket
Robert shared with us the excitement of working at the old Sykes factory at this time including when the Dunlop Max 200g went on to win lots of prestigious awards including the Queens Award for Technological Achievement 1985. The factory site now is an industrial park full of small businesses, but from the early days of it being a saddlery, through to it being the home of one of the most successful global brands in the world, the Sykes site holds some magnificent stories. The Horbury factory and its local workforce has produced some of the UK’s most famous sporting equipment in the world, from cricket bats to boxing gloves and including the famous Zig Zag football used in the 1966 World Cup. 
Bob Haines' award for Max 200g Racket Technology

Working with Wakefield Museum we are keen to find any interesting stories from people who worked at the Horbury factory, we are also looking for any artefacts/items that people may have that could contribute to an exhibition entitled ‘Playmakers’ later in the year.

If you would like to contribute to the project in any way, please email us at One to One or ring 07901 686142

Judi Alston
Creative Director
One to One Development Trust