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From Museum Piece to Relic…!

March 1, 2009

Now that I have found my scribbles, of items in the museum collections, I have been thinking about the ‘good old days’…when I was a museum piece.  Now I’m just a relic…!! Sad


Way back in the mists of time…1984, I think…I landed a year’s contract to work at The Museum of Lincolnshire Life as a part-time clerical assistant.  That was probably the best job I’ve ever had! 


Despite the job title, I did all kinds of interesting things…such as, in my first week I was called into the staff room, where I had a long black skirt handed to me, and Lesley telling me to put it on and follow her outside.  When I asked why, I was told that I would soon find out.  A sunbonnet was plonked onto my head, and a potato basket thrust into my arms.  What is going on…?!




Out in the courtyard, Kevin (who also started when I did) was also there, suitably attired as a farm-hand and brandishing some farm implement…a potato fork, perhaps?   All was revealed…a photographer from the local paper was there to take some pictures for the Lincolnshire Show supplement…and we ended up on the front page…!!  My first taste of fame…!!  (The front page picture showed me with the basket, and Kevin sitting on an old Kendall tractor, and the article inside showed us again posing with old implements…me with the potato fork and Kevin with a seed fiddle.) 


In the ensuing months, I modelled a home sauna and posting a letter in the oldest post box in Lincolnshire (still in use at the museum).  While there, I learned to make butter, using a bottle churn (I now have one of my own), rag-rugs, spinning (with a wheel and a drop-spindle), and of course sunbonnets!


The interest in sunbonnets began when we dressed up for the photo shoot…I was fascinated by it.  While I was working in the store-room, shortly afterwards, I found some more, so I had a look at their construction, did a few scribbles, then had a go at making one when I got home.  When I was satisfied that I’d got it right, I took it in to work to show everyone…where someone suggested I make them for sale in the shop.  I did make a few, and the next craft day I demonstrated sunbonnets instead of butter-making or rag-rugs…and I kept being asked if I had any in adult sizes…!!  I’d only made children’s sizes….surprisingly, I have sold more adult bonnets than children’s. 


The craft days were all conducted in costume, so I made myself a skirt and apron.  I also made a mob cap, but discarded this when I realised that none of the old photos showed anyone in a mob cap (an eighteenth century fashion, by the way)…so why do people dressing for Victorian things insist on wearing them…?!!!




The highlight of the year goes to Church Farm Museum’s Craft Week where all kinds of crafts were demonstrated, such as lace-making, patchwork, quilting, spinning, baking and butter-making, sunbonnets, basket-making, corn-dollies, wood-workers, mud-and-stud (a building method of the area), farriery, steam and oil engines, and an old Verbeek fairground organ played in the orchard.  Other crafts-people came and went during the week, too…sometimes a wheelwright would demonstrate his trade.




I remember my very first sight of Church Farm Museum, Skegness…it was surreal.  The mini-bus turned off the main road into Skeg…and onto a housing estate…so I was totally unprepared for the sight of an old Victorian farm with a mud-and-stud cottage and people wandering about in costume behind all the modern houses.  Really wierd…but brilliant!




Those were the days…(sigh) Open-mouthed 


21 Comments leave one →
  1. Sandi permalink
    March 1, 2009 3:29 pm

    What is going on with this darned thing!! I have tried uploading photos to this blog, but they just seem to refuse to be added…!! Will try again later! I think most of the pics are in the photo album anyway, but it would be nice to have a couple in the blog, too…!!

  2. Cornish permalink
    March 1, 2009 3:42 pm

    Now look ere …………. you are far from being a relic! As chief troll that\’s my position. You\’re the goddess don\’t forget!Mud and stud Sandi? Do we get the stud when we stitch in the ditch? It all sounds wonderfully fascinating. Our museum is the proud owner of egyptian mummys so I daren\’t go there in case they think I escaped. Hehe.Ooooooh can I have your autograph? I never realised you were so famous. Do you have copies of the papers? I would have kept them if it were me. Everything else seems to be working again on here so maybe it\’ll be fine in a bit. Count to ten with it Sandi. Hugs. xx

  3. Sandi permalink
    March 1, 2009 3:49 pm

    I did keep the paper…and if this scanner ever gets connected to the computer…I might just scan it and add it to the album!That\’s not my only claim to fame…remember a series called Hannay, starring Robert Powell? An episode from the second season called That Rough Music…well, I made the sunbonnets that the women are wearing! I took photos of them before sending them off to June Cannon in the Thames TV costume department…!! And I have them right here…scanner…connected…big If and when…!!!

  4. Cornish permalink
    March 1, 2009 3:54 pm

    Blimey Sandi, you\’re brilliant (I always knew that anyway)My only claims to fame are my relatives. Nothing on my own merit at all. Good on you. xx

  5. Sandi permalink
    March 1, 2009 4:01 pm

    Rubbish! Look at all those things you\’ve made…at least you finish stuff…most of mine are Work In Progress!Nice new pic, by the way..X

  6. Cornish permalink
    March 1, 2009 4:16 pm

    Thank you, it was me just last night (can you see what\’s under the blouse? Try playing pool in one of those!) Hurrumph, where was I?I hide the ones I don\’t finish. I have quite a few projects that will get picked up again "oneday". I really must purchase a round tuit as well as more hours in the day to get them done.

  7. Sandi permalink
    March 1, 2009 4:31 pm

    Ah, yes…the round tuit…I\’ve got one of those…it\’s a large round beermat…I\’ve a boxful in the loft somewhere!! (Beermats! Only got one round tuit!)The picture is too tiny to see it properly…but your hairstyle looks like what I wanted to achieve…only it\’s too short, so has started to kink, instead…!! I\’ve started to brush it back…will be glad when I can tuck it behind my ears…or, preferably, get it cut again…properly!!!)The pics I tried to add to the blog went straight to blog photos! And they are in the Church Farm album too…oh, well!

  8. Sandi permalink
    March 1, 2009 7:34 pm

    What I need is a chest for all those WIP projects…one that doubles as a coffee table…or even an ottoman or something…then they will all be in one place ready for me to take up at any time.Lordy…I wish I was as organised as I used to be…!!

  9. Cornish permalink
    March 1, 2009 8:07 pm

    I have a wicker chest that is currently housing the jumper I was knitting. It\’s supposed to be a blanket chest but comes in handy to keep untidy things out of sight.I\’ve had to put the dress down for a bit as it\’s driving me nuts. Arghhh!The hair you can see in the picture is the shortest layer. I put the straighteners through it as well to try and tame it. You\’re more organised than I am. Who was it that did all that sorting out recently?

  10. Sandi permalink
    March 1, 2009 8:53 pm

    Huh! I\’m still at it!! In an ideal world, I would have a sewing room with a big cupboard for all my fabrics, filing cabinet, book shelves and a big table for cutting-out and room for sewing machine…! But this is not an ideal world, and my sewing stuff is all over the place! Three large boxes serve as a filing cabinet…the floor is for cutting-out and spreading stuff out…and fabrics are stuffed into a little cupboard in bags. I have to rummage if I want to make or carry on with anything…remmage, rummage, rummage…!!

  11. LABW permalink
    March 1, 2009 9:12 pm

    Mud and stud…I think ( know ) the correct term is daub and wattle. The wattle being a green stick of either hazel or willow split in two and woven in between up rights. ( You know what a stick is don\’t you …Sandi…………\’s a boomerang that won\’t come back….. ). The daub is / can be a mixture of mud/ straw/ cow muck.I don\’t know if have noticed that when a good hedge layer..lays an hedge the top row / top should be woven with green /living sorta sticks in between the new vertical posts he will have driven in. As I go about the country I notice the different sorts of farm buildings each designed for a specfic task and very well built…no wonder people convert them to dwellings…lol . A few years ago I had a female friend ..who at week ends used to go to Shugbourgh Hall to dress as per yourself and carry out various tasks in and around the farm museum..which amused me \’cos she did not seem the type of ladieee who would find time for such past times…funny \’ole world \’aint…;)) Sorry I have rambled on your blog. LABW LABW xx ex brother to the ox…mangold cutter.

  12. Sandi permalink
    March 2, 2009 9:47 am

    Ramble all you like, m\’dear…I don\’t mind people rambling/waffling at all…!My stint at the museum certainly made me take notice of the buildings around the county, hedges, farms, fields, etc….even the humble brick! I now have books about the Georgian house, Victorian house, Edwardian house, Victorian farms (I should have watched the TV prog that was on recently), English villages, folklore myth and legend, cooking implements…as well as a great many of those excellent little Shire Albums on all manner of subjects.I love history…and find that people dressed and demonstrating brings the whole shebang alive and puts it all in context…not like when we were little and had to follow teacher around dry, dusty old museums with stuff exhibited in glass cases. Hands up who got bored very quickly…?!!

  13. LABW permalink
    March 2, 2009 7:58 pm

    Ramble…I\’m a ramblin\’ kinda guy…wooo hoooo …. lol . LABW LABW xx

  14. Sandi permalink
    March 3, 2009 9:09 am

    Right…since my stats counter was showing bugger-all and the homepage was also showing bugger-all and my e-mails seemed to have gone on strike…I got fed up with it…so I let off steam via the Feedback button (bottom right of page) Now everything is back to normal again…!Now it\’s my turn to go woo hooooo…..!!!!!

  15. Cornish permalink
    March 3, 2009 9:21 am

    I called in yesterday but thought you weren\’t home so left quietly by the back door. You really should lock that you know, all sorts of strange trolls may just walk right in. Stompy doodle dee. xx

  16. Sandi permalink
    March 3, 2009 9:37 am

    Make yourself at home…you know where the kettle is…help yourself to tea or coffee…I won\’t be out long. I don\’t think there\’s too much problem with strange trolls because of the tigers and wolves that wander these parts…!

  17. Cornish permalink
    March 3, 2009 9:41 am

    Got any choccy biccies or cake? Scoff nurrumph humfs nibcrumbsh schlurp. I leave you to clean up the mess Sandi. Hehe.

  18. Sandi permalink
    March 3, 2009 9:51 am

    Well…thanks a lot…! Where did I leave the vacuum…?!! I need a new dustpan and brush….mumble, mutter…

  19. Cornish permalink
    March 3, 2009 10:23 am

    Hehehe. xx

  20. Sandi permalink
    March 7, 2009 10:12 pm

    Pics at last!! And sepia toned into the bargain…brilliant!!!

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