Thursday, January 30, 2014

World War 1 Diary - January

Throughout 2014 we will be tweeting entries from a World War 1 soldier’s 1918 diary.  You can follow George Kellett’s diary entries on Twitter @WW1_Diary.
We will also post the full month’s diary entries on this blog.

For some background information about George Kellett please see our previous blog: WW1 Diary blog, December 2013
1 January 1918

Had a good tea and concert in the ward tonight. Had a big convoy in today.

7 January 1918

Got a letter from home today with a birthday card enclosed.

8 January 1918
I received a Birthday card from Alice and Mary today.  With a 3/6 Postal Order enclosed from Alice and her mother.
9 January 1918

Received a letter from Pam with a 2/6 PO for a birthday present

10 January 1918
Received a letter from Ada and Millie with a Birthday card from Dorothy and a letter which her mother had helped her to write
Ada was George's sister.  Her daughter Dorothy is pictured here.
14 January 1918
Marked out for the con camp today. Have been in Hospital since Nov 30th 17 so I have had a good spell here
15 January 1918
I with Paddy Morrison drew own kakki today. Sister White came in the ward this morning and gave us ½ doz post cards of the ward and patients
This photo was provided by George's family.  It may show the ward that George mentions in his diary.

16 January 1918
Got to the con camp this morning gave in our pay books so that we can be paid tomorrow
17 January 1918
Got to the con camp this morning in time for breakfast after a good lecture by the RSM got the large amount  of 5/- For pay today.
Started work for RSM Phillips today.
20 January 1918
Working until dinner time today at the YMCA hut. In the evening I went to the service
This is the YMCA hut at Le Treport (For an interesting article on the formation and role of the YMCA huts and the story of a female YMCA volunteer see: YMCA info)

24 January 1918
I got my name put down on the roll to be paid with the staff  men which allows me to draw 10/- a week. I received a registered letter from father today with a 5/- postal order enclosed.
George Kellett's father, Moses Kellett
27 January 1918
Went to the service again tonight with Paddy Morrison and Sergt. Knife we had a very nice evening together
30 January 1918
Paddy and I went to Le Treport and ? tonight we had a good night out . We went to no 27 there just for a bit of sport


Monday, January 20, 2014

The Great War Inspires

This year Wakefield Museums were successful in securing funding from Arts Council England to deliver a two year development project to build stronger museums. As part of this we have commissioned Faceless Company to deliver a project using museum collections to inspire an artwork and exhibition to commemorate 100 years since the outbreak of World War One.

Faceless Company have written this guest blog about the community workshops they have delivered as part of this project:

With work almost complete on The Great War Inspires artwork, it’s time to reflect on the participation and engagement in the project so far.
We contacted a range of groups about the project, including the 2460 (Pontefract) Squadron of the Air Cadets; the Army Cadets, Pontefract Detachment; the Royal Air Force Association, Pontefract Branch; the Pontefract Branch of the British Legion, Pontefract Library and the Pontefract Live at Home Scheme. All of them were interested to hear about how we were working with Pontefract Museum to commemorate the First World War, and to remember those who had fallen and agreed to take part in a variety of ways, including advertising workshops to their members, sharing their memories, providing space for sessions or visiting the exhibition.
The Pontefract Air Cadets were keen to take part in a creative workshop, and Helen and Stephanie joined over 30 of them, on parade, to create individual silk paintings for the project. The paintings were inspired by photographs of Pontefract buildings during the war, images of local soldiers and associated regimental paraphernalia, and imagery of the battlefields of the Great War

Our silk painting sessions allow participants to create something beautiful within a relatively short space of time, even if they have never experienced this kind of art work before. Each participant approached the task differently and as a result we have an array of beautiful silks, some have used vibrant colours to depict their chosen image, and others have chosen muted, sepia or grayscale style paintings, such as the one shown. All the participants have received a printed copy of their artwork to keep and we have records of them all on file.

As well as photographs from World War 1, our artists also took along images of World War 1 objects such as medals and the handkerchiefs that have inspired the artwork. Along with World War 1 paintings, these images provided colour references for the participants, as the majority of photographs from the Great War are black and white due to the technology of the time. The reason we chose to use images of buildings from the Pontefract area as they were in 1914-1918, alongside the more obvious wartime imagery, was to give the piece a sense of place, we did not want to forget those at home, or the impact that war has on a community such as Pontefract.

During the workshops participants also have the opportunity to look at 1st World War poetry and to see other more personal artefacts such as letters home from soldiers, to give them some insight into life as a soldier during the Great War.
We approached Pontefract Library about hosting a few sessions in their space for local families to access, in part so we could widen the reach of the project to the Pontefract Community and to increase the trans-generational nature of the project, but we also wanted to encourage families to think about this anniversary and what it means to us, together. We also used this as an opportunity for the British Legion and the Royal Air Force Association to invite their members’ families to enjoy a creative activity together as part of the project.
During this session, as well as individual pieces, we created a large communal silk painting which made the session accessible to those with very young children. Our youngest participant was 2 years old and the oldest was a participant who recorded a letter written by his Uncle for us. Aged 91, he is a veteran of the 2nd World War, where he served in the Navy.

In total we worked with around 60 participants on the participation elements of the project. Their silk paintings and recorded poetry and memories are now being worked into the artwork for the exhibition which will be unveiled shortly. As the work begins to take shape, I can feel the excitement building amongst artists, staff and participants alike. Final artistic and technical details are being ironed out in preparation for The Great War Inspires which opens next Saturday 25th January at Pontefract Museum.

The Great War Inspires exhibition opens Saturday 25 January at Pontefract Museum and runs until 30 August 2014. Free admission.
Pontefract Museum, Salter Row, Pontefract, WF8 1BA

Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10.00am - 4.30pm, saturday 1030am - 4.30pm

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Will you be our 50,000th viewer?

In just over 2 years this blog has generated nearly 50,000 views!  That's amazing!

To say Thank You for your amazing support and regular visits we would like to offer a small prize to our 50,000th viewer.

So, if you are the one that ticks the counter over to exactly 50,000, take a photo of the page as proof and email it to us along with your name and address, telling us how you found the Museum Blog and we will send you a small gift!

No photo, no prize!

Do keep visiting the Blog, to find out about what we're up to in the museums and behind the scenes.

We are sorry, but prizes can only be sent within the UK. 
Offer not open to Wakefield museum staff!

Beards are so 2013!

Jeremy Paxman has shaved off his beard,   In an interview with the Radio Times he said:
‘If a chap can’t shave on holiday, what can he do? Beards are so 2013.’

If you're planning on following Jeremy Paxman's lead, and getting rid of your bothersome beard.  If your facial hair is all a fluster, if your moustache is causing mischief then take some inspiration from these examples of shaving equipment on display at Wakefield Museum as part of the Men In The Mirror exhibition:

Shaving Mug, 1800s


This shaving mug belonged to naturalist and explorer Charles Waterton of Walton Hall, Wakefield. Shaving mugs date back to the use of open razors.
A cake of shaving soap was fitted in the base of the mug and a water soaked brush was swirled over the soap whipping up a creamy lather.
Depending on the design some allow the shaving brush to be placed safely whilst using the razor to shave.
The mug and brush method became less popular after the First World War when safety razors and manufactured creams and sticks became available.
There are many types of mug designs and they have become popular souvenirs and collectables.
Rolls Razor, 1930s

This safety razor was sold with the claim: ‘The razor that is stropped and honed in its case’.
The case has a rigid rectangular frame enclosed by two detachable lids, one lid carried a stone and the other a leather strop.
The razor has a safety guard and was easy, fast and safe to use. It was a very popular product and many different designs were produced. The name evoked speed and class.
Braun electric razor, 1993

In 1950 German company Braun produced their first electric razor.
Whereas competitors' models had a comb-like metal layer that shielded the user's skin from the blades beneath it, the S 50 featured a thin, perforated metal foil that covered the cutting blades. When the user placed this surface against his face his facial hair went through the holes and was trimmed by the blades.
The 1990s brought more experimentation. The Braun Universal featured a dual head, the world's first, as well as visual feedback: Red and green indicator lights revealed the charging status.
Remington electric razor, 1960s
Many electric razor advertisements in the 1960s were aimed at women. They were encouraged to buy them as gifts.
The company began in the 1930s and offered a cheaper product than rivals Braun.
Remington made a breakthrough when they pioneered the incorporation of flexing soft foil system with their shavers in 1975.
Visit the Men In The Mirror exhibition at Wakefield Museum for lots more beard (and hair) related displays.  The museum and exhibition are free. 
Men In The Mirror runs until 31 May

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bringing back a Castleford tradition!

We are really excited about a workshop set to take place in Castleford Forum Museum on Saturday 15 February.

Classes for amateurs to paint pottery began in Castleford about 1920 and went on until the 1950s.

Henry Moore himself took part in pottery painting evening classes in Castleford run by his old art teacher, Alice Gostick.
Henry Moore painting pottery in Castleford (Moore on left)

Hand painted enamelled plate by Henry Moore c.1920, produced at Alice Gostick’s Peasant Pottery Classes held at Castleford Secondary School. On loan from Leeds Art Gallery and Museums

Artist, Karen Slade from the Company of Artisans will be coming to the Forum in February to revive this tradition!

Karen has designed special workshops based on the Castleford pottery. 

Participants will be able to use ceramics blanks and glazes to create their own works of art. The pieces will be taken away to be fired, and be brought back to the Forum to be collected later.

Two workshops will be run for families with children aged 7+.  This is not a session just for children!  Everyone participating will have their own piece to work on - adults and children alike.

The third workshop will go into a little bit more depth with technique, and is suitable for adults (and young people over 15).

Saturday 15 February
Painted Pots
9.45 to 11am or 11.30 to 1pm - for families with children aged 7+
2 to 4pm - for adults and children aged 15+
Booking is essential as places are limited - call 01924 302700 or email.

Participants will also have the opportunity to contribute to Castleford's history!  
The museum's pottery collection includes a plate decorated with the names of people who took part in pottery decoration classes in the 1930s and so the workshops will also work on a new piece for the museum to keep!

Plate handpainted with the names of people attending the pottery decoration class taken by H. Worrill at Glasshoughton Evening Institute, 1933-1939. The pottery was made at Clokie and Co. Ltd. and after painting it was returned to the pottery for its gloss firing.

So, just for a little bit more inspiration, here are a few more pieces from the Castleford Pottery Collection...
Jug made by Clokie and Co. in the 1930s.

This is one of several pieces made by Clokie and Co. in the 1930s which were influenced by the work of the Art Deco designer Clarice Cliff.

Dish handpainted with an abstract design in about 1920. It has been suggested that this may have been painted by the artist Henry Moore at an evening painting class.

Painted by F. Marshall of Castleford in 1924 at an amateur pottery painting class The pottery was made at Clokie and Co. Ltd. and after painting it was returned to the pottery for its gloss firing.
There is a lot more available to see in Castleford Forum - and also in our online collection!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

Wakefield Museums wish you a Happy New Year

Happy New Year card from the museums' collections 1950-1970

We hope that 2014 will be a happy and healthy year for you.  As for Wakefield Museums, we are going to be very busy.  Here is a taster of what we'll be up to. We hope you can join us....

At Castleford Forum Museum we will be welcoming lots of visitors to this fantastic new venue and exploring ways of working with the local community to develop our displays and tell the stories of the area.

2014 marks 100 years since the start of the First World War.  We have a programme of events and activities planned to commemorate this including:

- Tweeting entries from a 1918 diary in the collections (follow on Twitter @WW1_Diary)

World War 1 Diary entry blog.

- The Great War Inspires exhibition at Pontefract Museum from 25 January

The Great War Inspires blog

- A Great War trail at Wakefield Museum from July 2014

Special exhibitions & displays next year will include costume, bikes & boats.  Events will be hosted for families throughout the school holidays; as part of the Wakefield Art Walk & to support national campaigns such as Museums at Night.

Our You Are What You Ate Travelling pod will continue to tour around the district's libraries. 

Whatever we do next year we'll keep you informed on this blog.  Thank you for reading throughout 2013 and hope you continue to enjoy our offer next year.