South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC) near Yeovil recently provided a tour for ten members of the Friends of St. Mary’s Church, Mudford.
This was a new group to visit with an interest in local history and artefacts. Staff provided an insight into the type of objects and documents in the collection and how we look after them. The collecting policy and accurate documentation were also explained, which were two of the key aspects of fulfilling and maintaining the Accreditation Standard.
One of the fun elements staff created came in the introduction to the collections and specifically on Mudford. Three Kelly’s Somerset A-Z Directories dating from 1910; 1923 and 1939 just happened to be open at the pages for Mudford! This was a very simple idea, but reflected how Mudford had changed over a 29 year period; particularly the type of traders in the village; the population and specific details of St. Mary’s Church itself.
Staff also showed a ‘book end’ type of two photographs related to Mudford’s history. The first was an image of St. Mary’s Church taken by Henry Stiby around 1890, which the group had not seen before and which led to some debate as to exactly where Henry Stiby was standing when he took the photograph. The second image was a colour photograph of “GT Motorcycles Yeovil” in 2001 not far from the Half Moon Inn courtesy of the Peall & Co Estate Agent Collection. This was another simple idea but was a great start to the tour and served as a useful ‘icebreaker.’
The tour of the stores once again highlighted parts of the collections we are less familiar with and where we need to increase our knowledge; blue and white tea cups and saucers being one example!
The image of St.Mary’s Church, Mudford, taken by Henry Stiby around 1890 © South Somerset District Council, Community Heritage Access Centre. Not to be reproduced without permission.