Avebury’s other Avenue: A New Panel for Beckhampton

on Tuesday, 09 September 2014. Posted in Archaeology

You may have seen the dig underway beside the West Kennet Avenue if you visited the Avebury half of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site this summer. The excavation was part of the on-going Between the Monuments project led by Southampton and Leicester Universities in partnership with the National Trust.  For the second year running archaeologists returned to look for clues about how people might have been using the landscape in this area before the monument with its impressive pairs of standing stones was constructed.

Researching the Home Front of the First World War in Wiltshire

on Tuesday, 02 September 2014. Posted in Archives, Events, Military

I don’t know about you, but when I think of the First World War the first thing which comes into my mind is barbed wire and mud – and all the associated horrors of trench warfare. This is probably the result of reading the War Poets at school, and watching the film ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ at an impressionable age! As I have got older I’ve read more widely about the War and learned how it impacted on civilian life, as well as on the front line troops. I have been amazed by the scope of that impact, and by the way in which aspects of life on the Home Front (which I had previously assumed were introduced in the Second World War) such as rationing and evacuation, actually had their roots in the First World War. One blog cannot do justice to this topic so I’m just going to touch on a few aspects of the War’s impact on Wiltshire. We hope to uncover more stories of life on the Home Front through the Wiltshire at War: Community Stories project in collaboration with Wiltshire’s museums http://www.wshc.eu/blog/item/wiltshire-at-war-community-stories.html

A Tribute to theTin Tabernacle

on Tuesday, 26 August 2014. Posted in Architecture, Traditions and Folklore

I came across a beautiful example of a tin tabernacle whilst exploring the area of Braydon recently, and I began wondering about the history of these most temporary of religious structures. Here’s what I discovered!

Britain saw a ‘revival’ of preaching in the 19th century through to the outbreak of WWI, with mass meetings attended by huge audiences. By the late 1850s churches were becoming overcrowded and the search was on for new buildings to use as places of worship. Non-conformists were not bound by the Anglican parish system and found it much easier to expand with new builds or altering existing buildings. Smith (2004) in his book Tin Tabernacles states that over 100,000 people were converted during this time, 80% of whom were non-conformist.

Welcome, the tin tabernacle!

Wiltshire Commemorating WWI

on Tuesday, 19 August 2014. Posted in Military, Museums

In common with other parts of the country museums and heritage organisations across Wiltshire are busy commemorating and exploring the legacy of the First World War.
I thought I would use this post to update you on some of what is currently going on at museums.

Young Gallery, Salisbury - Cicatrix
http://www.younggallerysalisbury.co.uk/event/cicatrix/

A visual arts project of three parts: installation, drawing and film. The audience is presented with another perspective of the WWI Legacy with Salisbury Plain providing the cornerstone for the collaboration exploring the notion that memory provides the fourth dimension to any landscape, Cicatrix offers a challenging alternative viewpoint to mark the centenary of The Great War.

Bradford on Avon Museum
http://www.bradfordonavonmuseum.co.uk/archives/8671

Exhibition focused on the themes The Eve of War, The Front, The Home Front, and Twin Towns.

Calne Heritage Centre 1914-18 Memorial Project http://www.calneheritage.co.uk/exhibitions.php?extype=Current

A five year long project dedicated to the lives of the ancestors of Calne residents, past and present, who lived through WWI. People are being asked to produce posters that detail how their ancestors were affected by the war, which will be displayed and then become part of the Heritage Centre archive.

Wiltshire at War: Community Stories
http://wiltshireatwar.org.uk/

As mentioned previously (http://www.wshc.eu/blog/item/wiltshire-at-war-community-stories.html?category_id=19) this county wide project is now picking up pace. Emma our Project Officer is busy working with groups across the county to gather up stories of the home front in Wiltshire, Please visit http://wiltshireatwar.org.uk/ for more information or if you have a story to share. For those of you with links to Market Lavington please come along to Market Lavington Museum on Weds 3rd September from 2.30-4.30 when there will be an opportunity to share and record your family stories of the war.

The Rifles Museum, Salisbury - A View of The Great War
http://www.thewardrobe.org.uk/museum/news-and-events/article/opening-of-the-exhibition-a-view-of-the-great-war

Artwork created by children from two local schools, Avon Valley College, Durrington and Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury, as part of ‘National Memory, Local Stories’, working with the National Portrait Gallery.

Salisbury Museum - Fighting on the Home Front (Oct 4 2014-Jan 17 2015)

http://www.salisburymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/salisbury-great-war-fighting-home-front

Salisbury Plain was at the heart of preparing British and Empire troops for war with its many camps, training trenches and airfields and has a unique place in this country’s military history. Using letters, photographs, medals and other personal mementos loaned by the public, as well as loans from Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre and objects from the Museum’s own collections, the exhibition will tell the story of Wiltshire’s war through Wiltshire people’s experiences.

Warminster Museum
http://www.warminstermuseum.org.uk/whats%20on.html

Sep 8th 2014, 7pm
The tank in World War I – illustrated talk by Alwyn Hardy, son of a tank commander


To stay up to date with a whole range of First World War activity across Wiltshire please follow the Heritage in Wiltshire blog at http://heritageinwiltshire.wordpress.com/

Tim Burge, Museums Officer, August 2013

Arsenic and Old Heytesbury

on Tuesday, 12 August 2014. Posted in Architecture

One of our latest jobs has been at the mill, Heytesbury, a gorgeous location with a clear mill-pond which the locals have traditionally used to cool down on a hot day. This mellow jumble of different brick and stone ranges, and varied roof-lines represents a site continually occupied from at least the early 17th century, and probably earlier. By the mid-C17 Heytesbury was owned by the a’Court family from Ivychurch near Salisbury. They continued to own much property here until the 1920s. During research into the family, an interesting case of poisoning came up.

Our Conservation team's expert handiwork is now on display at the Museum of East Asian Art

on Tuesday, 05 August 2014. Posted in Conservation

The Museum of East Asian Art in Bath currently has an exhibition showcasing some of their exquisite Chinese Metalwork and the conservation work carried out on the objects by conservators here at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. The aim of the exhibition is to show that by carefully cleaning and looking after objects we can ensure they will be treasured for generations to come.

The objects on display are highly decorated often involving the use of, gold and silver or other coatings such as lacquer and enamelling. The presence of additional materials and decorative coatings makes the conservation of such objects more complex and so poses more of a challenge. Each of the treatments needs to be picked carefully to ensure the work carried out on one of the materials does not adversely affect any of the others.

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