Calling all poets!
Give us your version of history! This year, the festival’s popular Open Mic event is challenging poets to respond to the Vale & Downland Museum’s collection of treasures from the past. To apply for a five minute slot, visit our small but perfectly formed museum and choose from the many artefacts on display in the main galleries. Alternatively, you can make your choice from the selection of objects below. Poems can be in response to one or many items. Then simply email your work to poetry-curators Cathy Dreyer and Amanda Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 30th.
Jurassic female ammonite (Kosmoceras macroconch), found in the Oxford Clay. Oxford Clay is the oldest rock to come to the surface in our area and forms the thick dark clay of the Upper Thames Valley.
Saxon Stone Carving
An Anglo-Saxon stone carving with a staring face. This stone may have been a grave stone or part of a decorative frieze on a building.
There is a long history of Anglo Saxon settlement at Eynsham where this stone was found. An important Minster church and monastic centre had been established there by the 7th – 8th Century.
This spring loaded metal trap was used for catching poachers and trespassers in the late 19th and early 20th century.
When activated the sharp metal teeth would meet in the victim’s leg!
Queen Victoria’s Crochet
In early Victorian Britain, crochet was often regarded as a cheap substitute for traditional hand made lace and as such was not popular amongst the wealthy. Queen Victoria strove to make crochet more fashionable by buying crochet lace crafted by Irish women striving to eke out a livelihood during the disastrous potato famine which decimated the population of Ireland in the mid 19th Century. The Queen learnt to crochet herself, making eigh crocheted scarves as awards for selected veterans of the South African War. These Royal scarves were worn as sashes with great pride.
This particular crochet comforter or scarf was made by Queen Victoria and given to Lady Wantage who presented it to Wantage Hospital. It’s pristine condition suggests that it was never actually used, but framed for posterity.
Nalder & Nalder Ltd
Challow Iron Works, Wantage
To get something manufactured, the designer/draughtsman draws it out on paper – normally at least A1 (841x594mm) if not A0 (1189x841mm) size (Or in days we are concerned with, the imperial equivalent sizes.)
The drawing then goes to the workshop and the craftsmen work from it to make the part(s). However, a big bit of paper is difficult to handle, gets dirty and gets torn, especially if its used to make something more than once. Nalders reproduced the essential shape and dimensions of all the bits for a component on a hard wearing, convenient sized and shaped board. So when parts were ordered, the worker picked up the relevant board off the peg, took it to his bench/machine and made the parts.
Dog Show Poster
This poster was produced by the North Berkshire Agricultural Society for a dog show to be held in Wantage on Thursday 7 September 1939. It was sponsored by ‘Spratt’s Dog & Puppy Foods’ and the Jeyes’ Fluid advertisement helps to set the scene.
It was to be held at Grove Park but was cancelled due to the outbreak of the Second World War