Stonehenge for the Nation

on Friday, 26 October 2018.

On 26 October 1918 Stonehenge was formally gifted to the nation by Cecil Chubb with speeches delivered from the stone in the centre of the monument. The Salisbury Journal reported on the event with detailed coverage of the speeches of the day.

Ref P11773  

Mr Chubb made a speech where he described how as a Wiltshireman, born almost within the shadow of the stones, he was only too proud to think he was predestined to do this thing.

Sir Alfred Mond, M.P., First Commissioner of Works expressed profound gratitude felt towards Mr Chubb for his action in giving Stonehenge to the nation, and said his name would go down in history as one of those who seized the great opportunity in the great way...
…The fact the ceremony took place at what was, perhaps, the turning point of the war, the end of four years of anxiety, of toil, and of peril, when we saw at last the sun of victory appearing over the horizon of dark clouds, was a good augry. Our ancestors worshiped the sun when it rose, and to-day we could turn our eyes towards the sun of victory won so gallantly by the men who had gone out and died for us, and by those who were still fighting, and in time to come many of those who would come here would commemorate that event as the great event in this war.

Sir Hercules Read of the British Museum remarked ‘when he called it a historic occasion, he might perhaps more rightly call it a pre-historic one’ (boom boom).

The proceedings concluded with the signing of God Save the King, followed by hearty cheers, given on the call of the Mayor of Salisbury, for Mr Chubb.

You can find out more about Cecil Chubb, the monument through prints and photographs from our archives on display at our annual open day Saturday 27th October 2018!

To celebrate this anniversary we are offering copies of various 18th and 19th century prints for sale, printed on A4 photographic paper, for £7.90 plus £1.50 postage (collection from the History Centre is free). Order yours now.

Celebrate Black History Month

on Tuesday, 02 October 2018.

Join Town Hall Arts in Trowbridge this Saturday 6 October 2018 to celebrate Black History Month.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush, which docked in London on 21 June 1948 carrying 492 passengers from the West Indies who planned on settling in the UK. The arrival of the Windrush is traditionally taken to mark the beginning of a period, lasting from 1948 to 1971, of migration from the Commonwealth to the UK – the “Windrush Generation”.

To celebrate the arrival of the Windrush and its passengers, and to mark Black History Month, we have put together the exhibition ‘Wiltshire Remembers the Windrush Generation’ to showcase the stories of some of the many West Indians who came to settle here in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Remembers the Windrush Generation will be on display at Town Hall Arts , Trowbridge, on 6 October 2018 and will tour Wiltshire libraries and community venues in the future. Many thanks to Helen Pocock of HP Source of Design for designing the exhibition.

Binding the Past to the Present through Remembrance at Salisbury Cathedral

on Friday, 31 August 2018.

Wiltshire artist Suzie Gutteridge gives us an update on her HLF funded project “Binding the Past to the Present Through Remembrance”.

"Since May I have been working with Salisbury Cathedral on a Heritage Lottery Funded project "Binding the Past to the Present Through Remembrance". This community based project commemorating the end of WWI will culminate in a hanging installation of 100 Puttees decorated with hand felted poppies in the Morning Chapel at Salisbury Cathedral from Friday 26 Oct - Sun 25 Nov 2018.

The project, based on a pair of puttees (lower leg wraps worn by WWI soldiers) given to me and used by my father, has involved a number of workshops throughout the community during which participants learnt the skills necessary to make a sheet of red felt along with finding out about the history of the puttees. 

From these sheets poppies have been cut out which will then be sewn onto both sides of the puttees, creating a thought provoking and visual artwork". 

The exhibition will showcase Wiltshire both as a military county and as a wool producer.

Creative Wiltshire

on Friday, 31 August 2018.

4394/3/1MS Poster design for London Underground by Clifford & Rosemary Ellis, 1938

This HLF project, in conjunction with Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council and participating museums and archives in Wiltshire, is now in its final year. We have made many purchases, adding to creative collections in the county by allowing curators to select significant pieces that will fill gaps in their collections while telling the story of creators who have been inspired by the beauty of our county. Participating museums include Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Salisbury Museum, Chippenham Museum, Trowbridge Museum, Pewsey Heritage Centre, Athelstan Museum, Swindon Local Studies and the Young Gallery in Salisbury.

An end of project exhibition will be taking place at Salisbury Museum from January to May 2019 and we are delighted to announce that we have employed an Exhibitions Assistant Trainee to plan and run this event. The one day a week post over the next ten months will provide valuable experience in Heritage Services, allowing our trainee to gain valuable knowledge and understanding about how a museum exhibition works, while being mentored by the Salisbury Museum Curator and staff. We are very pleased to be able to offer this unique role as part of Creative Wiltshire.

Our group of ARTeologists are planning their second exhibition, which will run from October 13th to November 3rd at Chippenham Museum. Their journey has been about exploring this ever growing Creative Wiltshire collection as a catalyst for new work and the results are beautiful and inspiring, illustrating the benefit of looking at past work of creative people to inform future directions. We are proud to see the collections used in this way. Their final exhibition will take place at Town Hall Arts, Trowbridge, from January 11th to February 16th 2019.

Some of the work we have purchased has concentrated on representing artists associated with the Bath of Academy of Art based at Corsham Court. It became an important educational establishment for the training of young artists thanks to the commitment of Clifford Ellis and his wife Rosemary who were instrumental in the success of the BAA. You may be interested in the upcoming exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath; Making Art Matter. Clifford and Rosemary Ellis which is on display from 8th September to 25th November 2018.

We have also purchased work by this family; artwork has been added to the Chippenham Museum collection and archive material added to the archives held at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre thereby demonstrating the importance of art education and the role of creativity in the everyday.

Joy Bloomfield, Project Officer

Gravitational pull of the History Centre?

on Friday, 31 August 2018.

For many years my colleagues and I have been aware of the phenomenon of gravitational pull of the History Centre, whereby over time archives tend to find their way into our custody. A good example of this occurred this week.  A number of records collected by a past president of Melksham Historical Association were brought to the History Centre by his daughter (ref 2145A). These largely comprised  20th cent miscellaneous items relating to the town. However, one item stood out as of particular interest; two sections from an account book of the mid 18th century. Their contents suggested that they were kept a grocer and clothier, and that they were from separate books. A typed note with them stated that they had been found at Stratton’s premises when they were being pulled down. Stratton and Mead was a long established grocer’s business in the High Street, Melksham. A search on our catalogue revealed that we had a series of account books that had been identified as belonging to the Bourne family of Melksham, wine merchants, grocers and drapers that were deposited in 1975 by W Stratton.

1303/2 Account books of the Bourne family of Melksham, wine merchants, grocers and drapers, and Joseph Udall, same, grocer and clothier. 1764.

Comparison of the ‘new’ material revealed that a section covering the week beginning 17 Nov 1764 came from one of the books already here, and it has been returned to its rightful place. It was possible to re-arrange the folios of the other section by matching up the water stains in the folds. It is all that remains of an earlier volume, which on close inspection appears to be the accounts of Joseph Udall, a grocer and clothier. They had been seen by economic historian, Julia de Lacy Mann, who referred to it in her account of The Cloth Industry in the West of England, 1640-1880.

Steve Hobbs, Archivist

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