Monday, March 26, 2012

Easter Holiday Activities

During the Easter Holiday, there will be a range of free fun family activities.
These include sessions run at Drury Lane Library:

Wednesday 4th April
Let’s get cracking!
Drury Lane Library – Children’s section
Age 2- 5
9.45am to10.45am or 1.15pm to 2.15pm
Come and join us at Drury Lane Library to find out what you could get out of an egg! Create some
cracking crafts and let us help you spring into the new season. 
Booking essential as places are limited.  Call 01924 302700

Wednesday 11th April
Spring Thing!
Drury Lane Library – Children’s section
Age 5-12
10.30am to 12pm or 12.30pm to 2pm
Spring is on its way! Hooray! Celebrate spring in this fun family workshop, in which we will be
learning all about some spring animals, and making some marvellous crafts to take home!
Booking essential as places are limited.  Call 01924 302700 
Click on image above to see a larger version!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Best Friend Ted

Objects from the Museum collection have also been taken on a trip out to work with a group of Entry Level Literacy learners at St Swithuns Eastmoor.  On 1 March, bibliotherapist Julie Walker led the session and worked with the learners on creating a group poem inspired by their choice from a selection of Museum objects. 

Julie Walker leading the session

The group chose a teddy bear.
1950s Teddy Bear 

All the learners have limited writing abilities but showed their creative side in putting together a marvellous poem.

My Best Friend Ted!
My Best Friend Ted

There’s only me and thee cocker
We’re on our own again
When I look into your sad brown eyes
I see you share my pain

You are my furry piece of home
My lifelong cuddly friend
Sunshine days and happy times
On you I can depend

Monday, March 19, 2012

Objects and their stories

These objects from our collections are all currently on display at Drury Lane Library, and will eventually be displayed at Wakefield's new museum.

They all have names on them, which give us tantalising clues about their past, but pose lots of new questions! 

Do you have any of the answers?


      Loving cup, 1802
A loving cup decorated with floral patterns, woodworking tools and inscribed ‘John & Ann Smith Wakefield 1802’.   

This cup may have been made to celebrate their marriage. Can you guess what kind of job John Smith might have had?  What sort of things could have been pictured to represent Ann?  Would Ann have had any sort of trade, or worked in service before marriage?

      Pot, 1845
Decorated with floral patterns and inscribed ‘Joseph & Elizabeth Robinson Wakefield 1845’

We think this pot may have been made as a writing set.  What do you think it was made for?

Cup and saucer, 1862
Decorated with a posy design and inscribed ‘Charlotte Harrap Born Jan 14th 1862’. Records show that a Charlotte Harrap was baptised on the 27th January 1862 and her parents were William (a farmer labourer) and Harriet Harrap who lived on Westgate Common.  

What happened to Charlotte?  Was this cup ever used, or just kept as an ornament?

      Jug, around 1790
This jug was made in Ferrybridge by Ralph Wedgewood. It is decorated with the crest of the Friendly Society of Cordwainers of England and inscribed ‘John Taylor’. A cordwainer makes shoes and this society was an early type of trade union. Records reveal that a cordwainer from Silkstone called John Taylor took on an apprentice in 1808. 

Is this his jug?  

Loving cup, 1794
Decorated with garlands and inscribed ‘Thos. Rishworth 1794’. Thomas Rishworth was a local banker and served as Chief Constable of Wakefield in 1805. This cup may have been made to celebrate the birth of the first of his eleven children in 1794 or at the start of his banking career when he was made first clerk of the Wakefield bank Ingram, Kennet and Ingram.  

Which do you think more likely?

This is just a selection of the named objects we have on display in Drury Lane Library.  We are using them to inspire creative writing, as they are great starting points for people's stories.

We would love to hear you thoughts!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Museum Displays at Drury Lane Library

We have already talked here about the museum displays at Drury Lane Library, and how they are being used in a range of workshops and activities.  We thought it about time we told you about some of what we have on display!  All of the objects on display in the library will be redisplayed in the new museum when it opens.

There are now 4 little museum displays in the library, including one on 'Before Wakefield'

Stone Head

Iron Age, 600BC - 43AD

Carved stone heads are thought to have been symbols of spiritual power for the Brigantes, a major Celtic tribe based in northern England and particularly Yorkshire. Heads were sacred to the Celts and were thought to have been a source of supernatural power, providing inspiration, fertility and healing.


Romano-British, 43AD – 410AD
Woodnook Lock, Altofts

This altar is dedicated to Brigantia, the goddess of the Celtic Brigante tribe. Several similar altars have been found in the north of Britain, and their distribution probably shows us the area that the Brigantes controlled. This was probably made after the Roman invasion, copying stone altars from the Romans.

Watch this space for information on the other displays in Drury Lane Library!

We would love to hear your comments or thoughts about these objects.

Monday, March 5, 2012

God Speed the Plough!

Writer, broadcaster and performer Ian Clayton led a creative writing workshop at Drury Lane Library on 29th February. 
Ian Clayton leading the Creative Writing Workshop 
One of the participants, Wakefield resident Vivienne Longley said
"The main emphasis of the workshop was on stimulating writing.  To that end, we looked at some of the artefacts in the library that had been placed there from the museum.  I was touched by the pottery mug which had ‘God Speed the Plough’ written waveringly on its side.’’ 
An agricultural mug made in Leeds inscribed ‘John Scofield Wakefield Woodside 1804 / God Speed the Plough’ and decorated with sheaves of corn and harvest tools. Currently on display in Drury Lane Library

Reverse of mug

  ‘God Speed the Plough’ by Vivienne Longley

It was meant to be a celebration of a working life.  I had spent all my days with the Clydesdales cutting lines in the chocolate earth and then setting the seeds.  It changed in my lifetime.  I used to have a soft hemp bag and followed the plough pulling through the lines.  Praying for rain – but not too much; praying for sun – but not too little; praying for frost – but at the right time.  Then watching the skies for the right weather to start the harvest.  Then clearing the chaff for the winter comfort of the cattle.  And the wheel of the years turned round again and again

As I watched the ice sculpture melt in the field, my lord said in his sing song voice that he had had it made especially and kept firm in the ice house.  The night was bright and sharp so it took its time dying.  So did I.  Each drop was heavy on the ground and froze again in the puddle surface at its feet.  The face lost definition and the nose and the chin softened. The shaped form of the hat rounded off and then the whole head began to melt.

 I sat the night through, turning the mug over and over in my hand.  By the morning both he and I were diminished, but still present, honed and glossy in the rising sun.

There are some more exciting opportunities to be inspired by the museum objects in Drury Lane Library.

On Saturday 10 MarchIrene Lofthouse will be running a session of stories and crafts for families with children aged 5 and over.

All aboard the ark!
Creative writing and craft for families with children aged five and over

Saturday 10 March at Drury Lane Library
10am – 12 noon

Booking essential as places are limited
Telephone: 01924 305376

On Saturday 24 MarchMichael Yates (author of 'The Bronte Boy') will be running a creative writing session.  

(author of 'The Bronte Boy')
Blue Remembered Chills: unpack those childhood memories

Saturday 24 March at Drury Lane Library
10am – 12 noon

Booking essential as places are limited
Telephone: 01924 305376

He says: "Our most important material is our childhood memories. My new play Sunday Afternoon Again, about to be performed in the Liverpool Drama Festival in April, is based on my own fifties childhood. But it raises the question: How far can you go with your depiction of real people from your own life?

The session will give an insight into how Michael Yates researched his play.  

The 1949 television currently on display in the library will act as a stimulus for participants to write poems or anecdotes from their own childhood.

1949 TV on display at Drury Lane Library