Julie, one of our far-from-ephemeral ephemera volunteers, has certainly come up with an intriguing post this week. This old, undated, paper appears to be a riddle! All we know about it is that it came in to the collection in 1972 as part of a collection of mid-late nineteenth century objects. Around the edges we can read as follows;
‘In the right sense it ought to be
Come try your skill and bet with me
I’ll hold a wager of a pot
In half an hour you read it not’
But the sense of the lines in the middle – though evidently about tobacco – remain a mystery! Can you read it? For clarity we’ve ‘translated’ the text as best we can;
‘Chear and Tobacco
Potent Man to shew’d Goodness its
Herb whose kindled leaves such Plant
And exhaling contain …oth virtues this
Sweet healthfull fumes the head in
Repast noxious of clear to Heaven
Friend humours and the Spirits task
To the Thought gratefull to thee’
Make of it what you will…
Our scanning volunteer Stan’s selections for the blog this week show how diverse Beamish’s photographic collections are – from last week’s capture of German airmen during the Second World War, to this week’s theme which can only be described as ‘locomotives come to grief at Brandon Colliery’!
Brandon Colliery was a couple of miles outside Durham and was worked between 1856 and 1968. At its peak of operation in 1921 the colliery employed 1,461 men.
65660 – An un-identified 0-6-0 steam locomotive lies overturned after an accident on the line to Brandon Pit House in 1929. We don’t know much about this incident but sadly it seems that four men were killed.
65654 – This view is undated but It looks like loco’ no. 555 (of the North Eastern Railway class J26) has over-run buffer stops on the Boldon Colliery railway and slid down an embankment, barely missing a road. Despite appearances the engine was salvaged and ran until 1960, when it was scrapped at Darlington works.
2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, as well as 75 years since the start of the Second World War, so our scanning volunteer Stan’s choice of images from the collection this week are certainly topical!
This fascinating series of photographs show the capture of the crew of a German Heinkel III bomber 74 years ago in Amble, Northumberland, on 15th August 1940. The aircraft was shot down over Druridge Bay and the airmen picked up by a Fisheries Protection vessel. The pictures were taken as the crew were escorted through the streets of Amble by the Police and soldiers from the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Given how restricted photography was during the war, particularly of subjects directly associated with the war, the existence of these images is quite remarkable.
70104 – The crew of the Heinkel are escorted through Amble. On the left is Inspector Dodds of the Police and Zimmerman, the German officer, is wearing a cap in the centre of the group. The aircrew were carrying a good deal of Norwegian money as they had flown from an airbase at Stavanger in Norway.
70103 – Another view of the captured German aircrew being marched through Amble.
70102 – One of the crew members, Henrichsen, was wounded as the plane was forced down.
Our volunteer Stan has been busy as ever scanning the museum’s million+ photographic negatives, and this week has chosen to share a real treat.
Below are some highlights from a collection of glass-plate negatives depicting the transport of turbine electricity generators from the works in Heaton, Newcastle of C.A. Parsons & Co. Ltd. The company was founded in 1889 by Sir Charles Parsons, inventor of the steam turbine, and for more than a century produced turbine generators which were exported across the world and even found their way into several of Britain’s nuclear power stations. Parsons & Co survives today as part of the Siemens group.
As can be seen from the photographs, transporting the behemoth generators was no easy task!
Quite a change of pace from furniture removals – a Pickfords Scammell lorry picks its way through an unknown location in the early 1960s while transporting a generator to Kincardine Power Station in Fife, Scotland. The station opened in 1962.
Sadly the photographs are mostly of unknown date or location, and this image gives little clue as to either. It ably demonstrates though the size and weight of a typical Parson’s load – requiring two tractor units to move and presumably a route avoiding low bridges…
Another undated view, though likely to be pre-WW2 based on the vehicle, owned by Currie (?) and Co, Transport Contractors, Newcastle. Handily, the load tells us exactly what it is and where it is going!
’15,000 K.V.A. Transformer
For Central Electricity Board
Weight 26 Tons
From C.A. Parsons & Co. Ltd. Heaton Works
Julie and Bill, the volunteers auditing the museum’s vast collection of ephemera, have a real treat for Magpie fans this week – they write;
‘Here is an interesting character! Septimus Donaldson (1877-1949) was Newcastle United’s first mascot. His family were well-known chimney sweeps. We have a newspaper cutting about him and also one of his business postcards, which is very eye-catching!’
Front of Donaldson’s business postcard.
Reverse of Donaldson’s business postcard.
Objects GS 24/06/1998.25 a + b
Our scanning volunteer, Stan, has this week chosen to share with us a much more colourful item from the museum’s archive than the usual black-and-white photographs. It is a postcard advertisement for a production of C. W. Mill’s ‘A Wrecker of Men’ at the Theatre Royal, West Stanley, likely around the time of the First World War. Charles Watson Mill (died 1933) was a noted playwright and theatre owner whose other works included ‘The Eve of Her Wedding’, ‘The Sinner’ and ‘A Warning to Women’. A copy of the manuscript for ‘A Wrecker of Men’ is held in the National Archives in London, and if anyone can enlighten us as to what it is in the play that wrecked men (early guesses among the staff include alcohol, women, restricted substances or more women), then we’d love to hear from you!
68616 – Postcard advertisement for production of “A Wrecker of Men” by C Watson Hill at the Theatre Royal, West Stanley.
Our ephemera collection volunteers, Bill and Julie, are busy as ever with auditing the museum’s collection of historical ‘bits of paper’, while trying to keep cool in our tropical (northern) weather! Here’s a highlight from what they have come across this week – one of the older items in the collection. It is an original Quaker marriage declaration for George Coates and Dorothy Cartwell, dated 7th August 1721. The document has been signed by members of the Backhouse family, who were a well-known banking family in Darlington, as well as many other notable local persons.
Stan ‘the Scan’, one of our busy volunteers, is continuing to scan his way through the museum’s million-plus photo negatives and as usual has picked out a highlight to share with us. This week’s archive gem concerns the 1921 miners’ strike.
21494 – Officials at the Dean & Chapter Colliery, Ferryhill, distributing coal rations to strikers during the 1921 strike.
Beamish museum represents life in the North-East of England, which means our collections hold a wealth of material relating to mining and the sadly frequent disasters which befell this dangerous work. Here we have highlighted an object which marks a disaster being averted exactly 140 years ago today! On 9th July 1874 Robert Trotter, a miner at the collieries of West Pelton – very close to the museum site – saved his colleague Henry Porter from drowning. To show their gratitude the workers of the colliery presented Robert with this ceremonial clock, bearing the inscription;
’Presented to Robert Trotter by the workmen of West Pelton Collieries for his bravery in saving Henry Porter from Drowning at Twizel Pit on July 9th 1874′
Visitors will be able to see this clock for themselves when it goes on display later this month in our new open stores aisle in Beamish’s Regional Resource Centre.
Julie and BIll, two of our volunteers who are auditing the museum’s ephemera collection, are coming across hundreds upon hundreds of historical ‘bits of paper’ as they work. The piece they’d like to share with us this week is a car registration document (acc no. 1971-176) dated 29th May 1908. It’s for a two-seater, nine horse-power motor car belonging to Henry Lawson of Morley, who bought it for £210 (approx £21,000 today!) from George & Jobling, Motor Car Agents and Engineers of Darlington. The car resgistration number was J1027.
Our ever-reliable scanning volunteer Stan is continuing to work through the museum’s millions of photo’ negatives. This week he has been scanning some of our material relating to the First World War, in connection with some of the events the museum is working on as part of the centenary commemorations. Here is one of the highlights of Stan’s scans this week.
16119 – This pocket watch belonged to Charlie Lightfoot, a soldier in the Durham Light Infantry, and saved his life by stopping a bullet!
Since the museum began collecting objects in the early 1960s we’ve amassed a vast collection of ephemera which includes everything from posters, handbills and trade catalouges to birthday cards and even bus tickets. It has been estimated that we hold over 40,000 pieces of ephemera and Bill and Julie, two of our hard-working volunteers ,are currently auditing our collection to ensure it is stored and catalogued correctly and available for museum staff and outside researchers to view. Here Bill and Julie present one of their favourite pieces from the First World War collection;
‘We really like this posters that we have just found which depicts in caricature the ladies who were working at Armstrong-Whitworth’s in the aviation department during the First World War. They all seem so individual with such amusing comments. We particularly enjoyed Miss I.F. Capfits, who evidently was too shy to appear’.