Tag Archives: conservation

Community Costume

South Somerset District Council Community Heritage Access Centre is an off-site store with Accredited Museum Status near Yeovil, open by appointment.

The collection comprises around 25,000 objects and 6,000 photographs. Objects range from a 4th Century mosaic pavement to one of the latest Yeovil Town Football Club programmes. Photographs span among the earliest stereoscopic views of Hendford, Yeovil from 1860 to a ‘Street by Street’ Survey completed in 1993.

The current Costume and Textile Collection has its origins in the collections belonging to the old Yeovil Museum and the Museum of South Somerset (1989-2011).

Some items were donated by (a) private collectors of costume (who often collected from outside the area (b) local individuals; families or organisations

After the introduction of a Collecting Policy in 1991, only items relating to Yeovil and South Somerset were to be accepted. This policy continues today.

The bulk of the collection consists of:

  • Women’s day and evening wear; wedding dresses; some men’s wear (civilian services) and infant wear including christening gowns.
  • Accessories such as hats; shoes; parasols; purses and gloves
  • Underwear and foundation garments
  • Dolls
  • Lace items and samples
  • Embroidered samplers.

There are significantly more women’s clothes than men’s; very few working clothes or children’s wear. The earliest items date back to the 18th Century.

The Gloving Collection. This forms an important part of the collection and consists not only of gloves, but also of equipment relating to the gloving industry and gloving design.

There are many examples of gloves manufactured in Yeovil and the surrounding area associated with such firms as Clothier and Giles; Ricketts and Southcombes of Stoke sub Hamdon.

There are long evening gloves of white kid; sheepskin mitts; golfing gloves to name but a few!

One of our eight volunteers is also helping us to conserve and document the costume collection. This involves going through the collection, box by box and removing each item from the old acid-free tissue; taking a condition photograph; noting any evident tears or stains and replacing the item in new acid free tissue.

For further information on the Community Heritage Access Centre, please contact us:South Somerset District Council, Community Heritage Access Centre, 7 Artillery Road, SSDC Lufton Depot, Lufton, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 8RP. (01935) 462886. heritage.services@southsomerset.gov.uk     www.southsomersetheritage.org.uk

DSCN5970

Fabric style of dress 1820-1830. Not a toy – probably a piano doll (to stand on the top of a piano). Information provided by the West of England Costume Society.

We would be grateful for further information on this item.

Advertisements

The Ties that Bind

We have enjoyed a busy week of conservation at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

During our costume conservation, our volunteer helped us to photograph several notable gentlemen’s ties. These included a selection related to Westland helicopters (Now Leonardo), including WG30 and EH101.

This is an intriguing element of social history that with each new helicopter, an item of costume, namely, the tie was produced.

The ties are also an exciting addition to the story of Petter and Westland that we can show researchers when they visit the Centre, alongside the equally fascinating Nautilus Grate; Petter engine catalogues and small number of helicopter models.

We would be grateful to hear any further memories related to these objects.

Two of the ‘Westland’ Ties in the collection of the Community Heritage Access Centre

DSCN5485 1DSCN5494 1

 

 

 

Praise for Preservation

A busy and involving week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

This week staff received an insight from the Yeovil University Centre Students, which they suggested to share on the CHAC Weekly BLOG.

Our Experience at Yeovil’s Community Heritage Access Centre

“History is a continuous process of interaction between the present and the past”– Edward Carr

As third year degree students, it is thrust upon us to venture out into the professional world and dabble in some voluntary work to help us establish where we will move on to from the student bubble after graduation. As a student studying history, the prospect to be able to get up close and personal to artefacts and historical documents is just too good to miss. My peers and I were able to grasp this opportunity and have an enriched experience with the wonderful Clare and Joseph at the Community Heritage Access Centre in Yeovil.

Our CHAC experience opened our eyes at just how much time and effort is put into the maintenance, restoration and pro-longing the life of items and documents behind the scenes within the archives. Our journey started with the ‘simple’ idea of documenting items and recording documents within the accession register. “That’s pretty easy and straight forward” you would think. That is what we thought at the start of the session, surrounded by pretty photographs of the local area; scenes of fields, buildings and roads with the odd bustle of crowds in-between. Oh how wrong we were! When documenting an item such as a photograph, the whole scene has to be depicted. Here are just a few fundamental things one has to think of when doing so: What road could that be? Which building is that? Has that been replaced? Has it changed? If so, how? Where would that collection of fields be? (Wait, those fields look like the fields on the other end of town, so surely that building isn’t that building after all?) Who made the frame? What are its dimensions? Has it got a date? If so, when? Any damage at all? Any finger marks? Any dust? The list of possible questions could go on and on. The same applies for documents: When? How? What? Who? This then has to be documented and then written within the accession register. It was shocking how just a few pictures took up the whole session, and gave just a small insight into the running and up-keep into this particular element of the centre.

Another session which was eye-opening was the general care and maintenance of the artefacts themselves. The time, patience and up-keep of the individual items to extend their life really was astonishing. Clothing is vacuumed with a unique vacuum designed specifically for the conservation of clothing and materials (this can either be a tedious task or a therapeutic one). Ceramics are cleaned with a single cotton bud to ensure nothing is damaged (again, this is up to the individual whether the task is tedious or therapeutic) and metals are kept dust-free with specific cleaning agents. On top of all this for the artefacts themselves, the store is kept at a consistent temperature with the humidity being monitored closely to ensure mould is at bay.

It doesn’t end there. The staff and the volunteers in the access centre then prepare exhibitions, talks, appointments and show groups around the archives. On top of this, we were throwing around ideas for events in the local area to promote CHAC in all its glory. To many, the process behind the preservation of local history won’t cross their mind. Indeed, I was also naive and was not in any way prepared to learn how many hours, dedication and just pure passion for history has gone into the conservation of the archives for us to enjoy, love and learn our local history.

DSCN0133

Some of the work completed by the Yeovil University Centre Students.

Timely Trips

Another busy and varied week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

This week has seen staff attending a photographic archive care course at Taunton Castle House, Taunton, Somerset. This was organised by the South West Federation of Museums and conducted by the Conservation and Museums Advisory Service, based at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Chippenham, Wiltshire.

A wide range of Museums were represented from Cornwall to Bristol and included two of our CHAC Volunteers. The day was a useful balance of theory and practical examples, particularly in terms of the type of photographs and when they were produced and the possible problems each can experience. We also enjoyed a documentation exercise with a series of Wiltshire-themed images. In groups of two and three, we detailed the salient points of each image and read these out to the group. Our black and white image was particularly interesting as it depicted a parade in Salisbury, with a procession representing 100 year blocks of local history. Our snapshot had caught a period with knights on horseback and a sign which read 1572-1672. We also looked at condition reports and recording damage and marking and labelling. There was even an opportunity to view the Museum of Somerset’s latest exhibition, which showcased landmarks of the world made out of Lego!

The following day we provided a talk to the Ladies Moose in Yeovil, looking at ladies in the First World War within the gloving and aircraft industries. We focused on one lady in particular, Louisa Harris. Louisa from Yeovil wrote a diary from 1887 to around 1920, before moving to Weymouth, Dorset. This recorded and highlighted many local links with soldiers from Yeovil and local industries like Petters and the contribution made to the war effort.

Calendar sales are also doing well – though they may suffer somewhat as I have just had my photograph taken with one for a report in our local newspaper!

IMG_0998

A timely trip to the Great Dorset Steam Fair, where what should we find – but a 2015 Yeovil Calendar!