Monthly Archives: February 2017

Guide to Moose

We have enjoyed a busy and engaging week since our last post from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

The main theme this week has been talks in the community. On Monday, staff were present in East Chinnock Village Hall to provide a talk entitled: “The Heritage of East Chinnock.” This was particularly intriguing as we used images of St. Mary’s Church from 1880 taken by Henry Stiby and a comparative image taken on 4th February 2017. The main difference between the two images is the stained glass windows given by Gunter Anton and installed by Gunter and fellow POW Anton Bischof and several of Gunter’s employees. The windows were given by Gunter to the village for the kindness he received in East Chinnock while a prisoner of war in 1945-1948. Gunter was a POW at Houndstone Camp, Yeovil but worked during the day on a local farm in the village. The windows were designed by Sepp Vees. We understand that Sepp was not a POW but was held in a disciplinary camp in the Balkans for most of World War Two by his own people for speaking out against the Nazi Regime.

During the talk, staff also referred to the entry for “East Chinnock” in the Kelly’s Directories from 1861, 1910 and 1935 to examine the types of trades in the village and the family connections to the War Memorial Tablet in the Church.

On Tuesday, we provided a short outreach activity with local Brownies; Guides and Rangers at the Abbey Manor Community Centre. This was part of their Thinking Day, which we believe was part of the Birthday of Scout Founder, Lord Baden-Powell (born on 22nd February 1857). We showed a Guide Tunic from 1921-1930, dated by the badges and a Brownie tunic from 1987-1991 – dated by the donor.

The interesting element was the types of badges attained. One of the striking differences to the children was the “Photography Badge” which required the participant to “Take”; “Develop” and “Fix” an “Interior Photograph” “Exterior Photograph” and “Running Action Photograph.” We compared this with a staff digital camera.

We then travelled across Yeovil to The Moose Hall to give a talk on “Education in Yeovil” where one of the Members remembered Reckleford School, though as staff pointed out, not from one of our illustrations, which was dated 1880!

All in all, staff hopefully did enough to earn their “Entertainment Badge!”

Some of the badges on a recently donated Brownie tunic from a Yeovil-based Brownie Group.

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These include from top:

“Magnifying Glass – Collector’s Badge”

“Rabbit – Discoverer”

“Quill and paper – Writer’s Badge”

“Key and Lock – Crime Prevention”

And the “Jester’s Badge” at the bottom. All of these badges were introduced around 1968.

Never Fourchette the Past

We have enjoyed a busy and rewarding week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC) near Yeovil, Somerset.

We have recently received a selection of intriguing donations. These include a plan of the potential development of Hendford Manor dated 1950, drawn by the Area Planning Officer for Yeovil and today we have the prospect of Cub; Scout; Brownie and Guide uniforms from a local troop. We did a database check on this type of item and we did not have a complete set like this with such a clear provenance.

The main focus of this week was attending the Yeovil Library “Back to the Future” Event on Wednesday 15th February 2017 with our volunteer team on hand to assist us. This was an event designed to bring people into the library to learn about local heritage and local crafts. Exhibitors included the Montacute TV and Radio Museum, wood turners and a 3-D printer demonstration – and us from CHAC!

We had a ‘handling object’ themed display on two tables. We started with Yeovil Town Football Club known as “The Glovers” and used illustrations of the local gloving industry, to provide an idea of the former scale of glove production.

We also had four main activities; drawing around your hand on coloured paper to form ‘a glove’ and colouring in with inspiration from images of gloves in the collection; discovering your glove size with tape measures and hand charts; guess the ‘mystery gloving tool’ and match the glove description to the 9 different gloves on the table. During this process, we also outlined some of the different parts of glove production, including quirks and fourchettes and the present and future of glove production.

The present and future of local glove production was fulfilled by Southcombe Gloves of Stoke sub Hamdon with the courteous loan of three glove samples: ‘Public Order’ Glove; ‘Firemaster Mk 2’ Glove and Men’s deer skin leather glove.

We have to balance the 40 or so people we met to inform about CHAC with the Centre being closed for us to attend the event. Hopefully, many of these people will want to visit us in the future.

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Some of the glove designs produced during our activity at Yeovil Library.

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Why I Volunteer

This week we reflect on volunteering through our Volunteer Co-Ordinator.

There are various reasons why I decided to volunteer after I retired; to meet new people; be involved in a subject I am interested in and doing something completely different.

The completely different one is parkrun; a 5k run every Saturday morning around the parkland of a National Trust House. Before we get carried away, I don’t run; I marshal, time keep, give out tokens and keep a check that everything is going smoothly. My daughter and grandchildren in Edinburgh are the ‘fit family.’ They run, swim, cycle and take part in their nearest parkrun. Being involved in my local park run makes me feel close to her for an hour or so every Saturday morning. With my daughter living in Scotland, perhaps you can understand why I feel closer to her.

Volunteering number 2 – I am a tour guide at the above National Trust house. I take people around the outside of the house and for 50 minutes give them a condensed history of the house and its occupants. This is where my love of history and amateur dramatics comes into its own.

Volunteering number 3 – An active steward at a local museum. Again, this involves meeting people and sharing knowledge of the town, our artefacts and the enthusiasm of our collectors.

Volunteering number 4 –Volunteer Co-ordinator at CHAC

(Community Heritage Access Centre).

Here I am involved with accessioning artefacts, which can be both objects and photographs. I spent nearly two years accessioning documents from a local clergyman, which covered all his life, from school reports to sermons, family photographs and much more. I found this fascinating and it gave me a real insight into the life of a very interesting man. I work with a team of six others, who all have their own speciality, i.e. costume, paintings etc. We work extremely well as a team and are always on hand to answer questions and help each other.

Volunteering is a wonderful way of spending time; I look forward to all my duties and would recommend volunteering to everyone.

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A page from the clergyman’s family Ledger – His family owned a bakery in Hendford, Yeovil.

More than a Token Visit

We have enjoyed a dynamic and thought-provoking week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, CHAC near Yeovil.

We welcomed Henry Flynn from the British Museum. Henry is the main contact for the Money and Medals Network co-funded by Arts Council England. This project has two aims. Firstly, for Henry to visit Museums across the United Kingdom to a have a ‘sample view’ of any coins, tokens and banknotes, known as Numismatics and add details to a national Museum database on the Money and Medals website (www.moneyandmedals.org.uk).  Therefore, in theory, if any Museum from Penzance to Inverness (two places Henry has visited!) wishes to know about coins in another collection, they can do so via the website. This is also useful to share knowledge and experience of the type of coins held by a collection and the types of storage used.

Secondly, Henry organises Numismatics training days, also funded by the Arts Council England for a wide variety of Museum volunteers and staff to receive the latest updates on coin, token and banknote conservation, cataloguing and documentation as well as news on new discoveries.

These are also relayed by the regular Money & Medals Newsletter – the latest copy of which was among our calendars and leaflets.

Henry was impressed with CHAC’s selection of Roman coins, Somerset Trade Tokens and the Pearson Medals, which could be expected under the Yeovil and South Somerset Collecting Policy. Rather more surprisingly was the Chinese knife money – with an index card entry of “The Pinney Collection” – early benefactors to the Museum collection.

Henry’s visit also highlighted the good level of storage at CHAC including resin cases in bespoke drawers with silica gel to indicate moisture levels and accurate documentation, which helped to locate objects quickly and enabled them to be replaced accurately as well. The one room for improvement lay with the coin envelopes as one box contained coins in non-acid free envelopes. However, a condition check revealed little deterioration and we also have 1000 acid-free coin envelopes ready to solve this issue.

Above all, on his first visit to Yeovil, Henry was impressed by the surrounding countryside on our drive from and back to Yeovil Junction Station. We aim to keep in touch as a useful network link for my AMA Course and to arrange possible numismatic training courses in the South West of England through the Somerset Museum Development Officer.

On Tuesday, our team of Yeovil College Degree Students helped us prepare for our annual exhibition – as the aim is for them to choose the objects and prepare them for exhibition! “Student’s Choice”  is the working title and will focus not only on the objects they have chosen, but also the reasons for their choices.

The students also helped us to prepare a display for National Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday 27 January 2017.

In a busy week – Wednesday was our Volunteering Day and Thursday, our first Archaeological Finds Afternoon of 2017 with the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer.

Henry created a page for the Community Heritage Access Centre on the Money and Medals website which can be found here:

http://www.moneyandmedals.org.uk/col-community-heritage-centre/4582494401

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Henry Flynn from the British Museum enjoying some of the coin, token, banknote and medal collection at CHAC. Henry is the main contact for the Money and Medals Network co-funded by Arts Council England.