I spent an enjoyable morning at a volunteers get together at the Braintree Museum this morning. (Where most of the pictures come from) Delightful to see so many willing to do something to aid the town's history. We had an lovely time attempting to decide what we liked and disliked about the museum. Small groups gathered to discuss the various sections, I managed to claim one Warners section was not my favourite, it just happened to be the company the lass next to me had worked 28 years for! I meet people when I am rude.....
It was generally agreed the outstanding aspect of the museum was the Victorian school room. This receives groups of young folks (children were considered 'small people' not 'children' in Victorian days), dressed in period costume, who endure a Victorian type education for an hour or so before experimenting with this or that elsewhere Playtime features suitable games, no iPads allowed! As the building was a school built by one of the Courtalds in the late 19th century it seemed an obvious idea.
My primary had desks like these! The teachers however had more appropriate 1930's style desks, containing a 'strap' (a Lochgelly Tawse) for punishment. I am not quite sure where the spears at the back came from. There are shields and drums of an African origin elsewhere and I wonder if these are the fruits of English imperialism? We heard of future projects and priorities for the museum, and the Warners Archive, for which we were shown the new website. Warners had a large mill nearby and the archive not only keeps alive the history it is an active producer of material. Silk manufacture is a highly skilled affair and designs and materials are still produced and sold there today. Not quite the same volume as in times past of course. Warners Archive
Note the obvious mistake with this Victorian tableau!
I love the Victorian era, especially as I did not live through it, but my aged family were close to it, one uncle being born in the 1890's. The attitudes of the day was seen to some extent in the family members throughout the seventy years or so they lived. Much of Victorian infrastructure lies about us still, railways, buildings, crowded High Streets, churches for a sample. We are much closer to Victorian days than we realise.
However I also like the distant past and artifacts that reflect life here from 2000 BC or thereabouts are very interesting. To be in possession of a daily object from so long ago releases a strange emotion. I am not sure what it is, maybe I had too much porridge for breakfast. Anyway I love bits of aged pottery, a coin or an axe head from the distant past, it connects us to those who lived and died here so long ago. Why should people be forgotten? I am frequently amazed at how little information appears concerning men who lived, worked and served in this are from a mere hundred years ago. Many of their houses remain but just as many have long since been demolished, and with the house goes the memory of the individual. It often appears as if they had never existed, but an effect of their life remains with us all, usually never realised.
So that's where my old bike got to!