Thursday, August 28, 2014

Two exciting new Food History talks - Wakefield and Castleford

 Wakefield Museum
This lively and entertaining talk by Dr Annie Gray (recently seen as an expert on Great British Bake Off!) will take us through the sometimes strange world of historical alcohol!  Booking is essential as places are limited.

Castleford Museum
Influential food historian and writer, Ivan Day will present an illustrated talk depicting some of the more elaborate foodstuffs from late medieval and early modern Europe.  A feast for the eyes! Booking essential as places are limited.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Guest Blog: Jerry Hutchinson sees his parents on film at Castleford Museum

A visitor to Castleford Museum got in touch with us recently after viewing some films on display. He had spotted his parents; his mother featured on the film - this being the only film he had ever seen of her. 

The films are held by  Yorkshire Film Archive , but can be seen in full at Castleford Museum.

In this guest blog Jerry Hutchinson talks about the films and his parents:

On a recent visit to Castleford, my wife Sharon and I visited the excellent new museum and spotted the display on Castleford Borough Council.

We noted that there were a couple of films about Castleford becoming a Borough. I was keen to have a look at these as my dad, Ernest Hutchinson was Town Clerk af Castleford for the whole of the time that it was a Borough from the granting of the Charter in 1955 until Local Government Reorganisation in 1974.

I was also hoping that there might be a bit of film of my mum, as she died in 1984, just before camcorders really caught on, so I have no film of her.

When we watched the films, it was very emotional for me to see both of my parents. Dad was on both films, firstly the one with the Princess Royal being introduced to the Mayor, Ezra Taylor, his daughter and Consort, Olive Stokes and the rest of the Civic Party, and secondly he's the man in the wig and gown on the film about the first Council meeting.

My mum is in the lineup to meet the Princess Royal and the bit of film shows her being introduced. It's the only bit of film of her that I'm aware of and she doesn't look totally happy, I understand that she wasn't feeling too well that day, which is my fault as she was expecting me at the time, so this is my first public appearance too!

Mr & Mrs Hutchinson meeting the Princess Royal.  Screen still from the film on display at Castleford Museum
Dad's background is that he was originally from Middlesbrough and went into local government in 1927, working for Middlesbrough Corporation until he volunteered for the Royal Artillery in 1940. He saw action on the guns at Dover in the Battle of Britain and worked his way through the ranks ending the war as a Captain. After the War he qualified as a solicitor and after getting a Town Clerk's job in Bacup in 1952, he came back to Yorkshire as Clerk to Castleford UDC in1954. One of his first tasks was to seek Borough status including working with the College of Heralds on what is now Castleford's Coat of Arms. He also went with Ezra Taylor on the first visit to Herne, which started links which still remain.

Mum and Dad married in 1942 and had three children, my sister Sandra whose ashes are  interred at Castleford Parish Church, my older brother Roger and myself. We both went to CGS and in my case Castleford High when Comprehensive Education came in. Mum was a teacher, and taught at Welbeck Street School for many years.

The family left Castleford in 1974 when the Borough ceased to exist, but at the age of 63 Dad got the job of Chief Executive of North Wolds Council, based on Bridlington until retiring in 1977, when he took on running the Bridlington Priory Restoration Appeal, raising over £1 million, in acknowledgement of which his face, complete with glasses appears as a gargoyle at Bridlington Priory!

Sadly, Mum died in 1984, and Dad in 2001.

Roger and I followed Dad into both the law and local government,  Roger becoming Deputy Town Clerk of Burnley, whilst I have been Chief Executive of North Warwickshire (a former mining area which only lost its last deep mine at Daw Mill 12 months ago) for the last 19 years.
Castleford has never left our blood though, and myself and my wife and children, all born in Nottingham remain keen Tigers fans, three of us long standing season ticket holders. 

Jerry Hutchinson
18 August 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Seaside in the City

Wakefield hosts 'Seaside in the City' this weekend.  Visit the city centre for family beach fun. 

There will be donkey rides, Punch & Judy, music, deck chairs and much more...

For full details of the event see: Seaside in the City

To get in the mood here are a selection of seaside themed objects from our collections....

Photograph of the Gluck family
The Gluck family lived in Tanshelf.  This holiday snap was taken by David Gluck between 1920 and 1940.  The Gluck family orginated from Germany, Mr & Mrs George Gluck came from Heidelberg in the 1850s.  George carved the stone animals on Pontefract Market Hall.  

A spade
This medieval spade found at Sandal Castle was most probably NOT used on the beach!

Jelly shoes are back in fashion, this green pair is from the 1970s. 

And this leather sandal was owned by a Roman based in Lagentium (or Castleford to me and you)

What would the neighbours think if your front step wasn't shiny and clean.  Use a Donkey stone to scrub those steps clean...

Bus Trips
This photo from the 1950s, shows a group of Fryston residents on a trip to the seaside.  3 of the 10 buses used that day are in view!  It was taken by Jack Hulme, an ex-miner who turned to photography after his wife bought him a camera.

Look super stylish in this 1950's bathing costume...

And probably not so stylish in this knitted costume...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Day in the Life

Welcome to our first 'Day in the Life' blog.  A lot goes into making our museums wonderful places to visits and caring for our collections.  This series of blogs invites staff at Wakefield Museums to tell you about their day.  First up is Alison Creasey:

Alison Creasey
Learning Officer

The day begins and ends with the setting out of chairs.

It’s a special day today, because the puppets are coming out to play. All manner of puppets: gorillas and orang-utans and iguanas and a turtle and a butterfly and a BABY SLOTH! and a crocodile and a frog – and even a little fluffy anteater, with an ickle bickle ant getting eaten on his tongue!

They’re coming out today because it is RAINFOREST DAY. And a class of special educational needs pupils are coming to play with them. Everybody is a little giddy with excitement, because this is a new venture, and hence could always go hideously wrong. But it doesn’t – it is brilliant because the kids are just as fab as the puppets.

Then I come over all First World War for a couple of hours. A lot of things are coming over First World War these days, but it’s only Wakefield Council who has George Kellet as their man in the trenches. You should look him up. He’s ace. He’s also on twitter.

I have some timetabling to do now. Scheduling with schools when I can do their sessions on the Victorian Schoolroom or Roman Castleford or Medieval Bones or the suchlike. I don’t know which is my favourite: I get to shout at children when I'm their Victorian teacher, which is always a laugh, and makes their real teachers jealous…. but then Medieval Bones has taught me more about scurvy and tooth decay and rickets than I ever imagined I would know.

I have just enough time to pop down to Sandal Castle with my box full of bug pots and magnifying glasses. Sandal Castle is a great place to find all sorts of creepy-crawlies like spiders and centipedes and toads, and I have a school coming there tomorrow to do just that – so out come the chairs for the pre-bug-hunt briefing. Last time, we found a pink grasshopper. Like, BRIGHT pink. Barbie pink, if you will. Google it – it’s an actual thing. This time, I’m hoping for a bumper crop of frogs. They’re lovely to hold (but just for a few seconds, and only if your hands are damp), and they’re great for black death anecdotes.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Great War: 100 Years Commemorations

Pickled plums help commemorate 100 Years since the Outbreak of the Great War

The 4 August will mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.  Wakefield Museums have been commemorating the Great War throughout the year. 

Wakefield Museum has just opened a Great War trail, where a selection of First World War objects have been scattered around the permanent collections illustrating how war affected all areas of life in the district. These objects include a painted ostrich egg, weapons used in the trenches, letters home, and a jar of plums.  The plums have a label upon which is written

“Plums, bottled on the first day of the Great War, 1914- 18”

A painted ostrich egg, brought home by a soldier based in Africa.

A trench club

There is also an exhibition at Pontefract Museum ‘The Great War Inspires’ where community groups contributed to an artwork inspired by First World War objects from the museum’s collection.

The Great War Inspires exhibition.  Photo by Faceless Arts.

Plus Tweets from George Kellett’s 1918 diary.  The tweets provide a fascinating insight into the daily life of a WW1 solider. Follow at @WW1_Diary.

George Kellett - Follow his 1918 diary on twitter @WW1_Diary