“Our Local Surprise”

We have enjoyed a busy and exciting week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

Staff attended the Yeovil College University Centre annual conference on Friday 19th May from 1pm to 6pm. This was an enjoyable combination of student talks and presentations based on their final course work assignments. CHAC had loaned a number of blue display boards and the colour co-ordination worked particularly well. The students also made reference to the work they had completed at CHAC in their displays, which was useful publicity in the wider community.

This Thursday, we also enjoyed the company of East Chinnock Gardening Group. 19 members of the group shared a tour of the stores, ably assisted by 4 volunteers. There were many memories prompted by the gloving tools; paintings and especially by the costume items selected and explained by one of our costume volunteers. We were also grateful for the £2 per person and contributions for calendars, books and postcards.

Staff and volunteers also helped to display possibly our key East Chinnock object – the East Chinnock Friendly Society Banner, which we got ready by placing inert foam and acid free tissue underneath and then acid free tissue on top. We completed the tour by viewing the Banner, which we introduced as “our Local Surprise.”

Making the effort to prepare the Banner for display was really worthwhile as the whole group got to see it and appreciate the size and quality of the design. This also helped staff and volunteers to check the overall condition. We noted the fringe was shedding and our conservation contact explained: “It looks as though the edging is a silk border which is shattering – breaking into small rectangular pieces as it ages and becomes more brittle. This is often associated with tin salts which were added to silks to make them stiffer.

The manufacturer has helpfully painted his name in the inscription. They are Edward Riley & Co. Ltd., Manufacturers of Flags and Banners, Ladies’ Skirts, Costumes and Robes, and Military Clothing, Providence Street Mills.”

One of the intriguing elements presented by the Banner is the hand in the middle with a heart shape in the palm.

We were also grateful to East Chinnock Gardening Group as several members wish to make repeat visits to see aspects of the collection in more detail. Many were keen on attending our next Photo Afternoon – just need to confirm the date!

East Chinnock Friendly Society banner

East Chinnock Friendly Society Banner cared for at the Community Heritage Access Centre

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