Guard and Guide

We have enjoyed another busy and thought-provoking week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

So far this week, our volunteers have helped us to document and accession new items and photographs into the main collection; photograph and re-pack the glove collection in new acid-free tissue and catch up on holidays!

One of our recent exciting experiences (among many!) came last Friday when we provided an illustrated talk to the Yeovil Trefoil Guild of former Girl Guides. In our preparation, a local student studying ‘Global Heritage’ helped us to find a wide variety of items, photographs and one specific item of costume. Firstly, this was extremely helpful and reassuring for staff, as every object we searched for on our database was found in the store, in the location listed! This was further evidence that we continue to fulfil this part of the Accreditation Standard gained in 2014.

Secondly, this was extremely fulfilling for our student as we went to the shelf or box and, like magic, the actual items were revealed. This was particularly so, when we discovered what a Guide or Ranger had to complete to achieve a specific badge; running 100 yards in 14 seconds for example, as part of the ‘Athlete’ Badge or ‘Being entertaining for 15 minutes and playing a banjo’ for the ‘Entertainers’ badge; the first half of which I was trying for!

We also suggested how forward thinking the guides were, as in the 1926 ‘list of badges’ there were badges for ‘Photography’ and for the oldest group ‘Rangers’ there was a ‘Motorist’ Badge, where young ladies had to ‘start; stop and change a flooded carburettor’ on a motor car.

We also compared and contrasted the 1926 and the 1946 badges – with the notable inclusion of an ‘Aircraft’ badge in the latter and the significant ‘July 1945 returned to London’ possibly indicating an evacuee. We completed the talk with an actual Girl Guides Uniform, which an email from the World Society of Guides and Scouts indicated dating from between 1921 and 1930 by the badges and provided a detailed description of each badge and therefore the wearer.

The talk was great for our student to see the fruition of all the work put in at CHAC actually demonstrated and enjoyed by the Trefoil Guild Members; especially as we linked Girl Guides to the changing perception of ladies’ roles in the First World War and how this helped to break down barriers in society. A real highlight was a 1950’s account book for the Yeovil Girl Guides and a list of girl’s names at the top – and a lady came up to us afterwards, pointed at one name and confirmed ‘that’s me!’

Our Yeovil College Students also enjoyed their weekly visit, helping us to check the environmental conditions in our stores, by downloading the information from the dataloggers.

Our bi-monthly Archaeological Finds Afternoon also yielded a selection of notable finds including Roman coins and a ‘locally specific’ design of Roman ‘clothes broach.’

We also think of National Holocaust Memorial Day, which is held next Wednesday 27th January 2016 and our Yeovil Library Display on this theme is proving popular.

Girl Guides Athletes235

The 1926 Girl Guide Rule Book ‘Athlete’ Badge – anyone for a 100 yard dash?!

We have also received this mystery ‘marker’ – originally thought to be a car park marker, or railway marker – or perhaps even something to do with ‘Petters’? Please let us know!

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