Thursday, July 31, 2014

George Kellett's World War One Diary: July 1918

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 George Kellett's June diary entries please see our previous blog: June 1918

1 July 1918
Parade at 8:30 work at 9:45pm on aerodrome switch

2 July 1918
Arrived in camp about 6am had breakfast then got into bed until 3pm had dinner then had another two hours.  Inspection at 7:15pm Parade for work at 10:15pm.  Received parcel from home.

 3 July 1918
Went to the rifle range this afternoon.  Our night in tonight, no parade.  Cleaning up for probable CO inspection tomorrow.

4 July 1918
Inspection at 4:30pm parade for work at 5:30pm on aerodrome switch left work at 11:30pm

5 July 1918
Got back to camp at 2am had breakfast and got down to kip until tea time.  Inspection at 7:15.  Mr Squires went into hospital today.

 6 July 1918
Out to work at 3:30 am digging sump holes in 10th avenue communication trench.  Range after dinner

7 July 1918
Rest today, Church Parade at 2pm.  Inspection at 6pm

8 July 1918
Working near Hameau farm digging trench for cables which RE are laying.  Breakfast 1am work 2am
Inspection at 8:45pm

9 July 1918
Working on the same trench nearer to Adinfer village
Inspection at 8:40pm.  Received a parcel from Pam

10 July 1918
Days rest today went to the range. I got a washout with the SBR on

11 July 1918
Working on the right of Adinfer, been warned to take on SB job tomorrow.

14 July 1918
Went out to work at midnight

15 July 1918
Arrived in camp at 7:15am. Wet through and covered with clay
Out again at 7:30pm no inspection

16 July 1918
Back from work at 6:30am.  Digging new CT from front line to support, connecting with windmill switch.  No inspection today.  Received a parcel from home and a letter from Harry.

17 July 1918
Out to work at 2am in Douchy Avenue laying cable.  I was
Out at 8:50pm connecting up from windmill switch

18 July 1918
Got back to camp at 8am
Inspection at 7pm out to work at 8:30

21 July 1918
Inspection at 6pm Pay at 6:30pm.  Parade for work at 8:30pm.  Had one casualty going up the line

22 July 1918
Got into camp at 4am
Inspection at 7pm parade for work at 7:45pm.
Willie went to Leeds Infirmary to undergo an operation

23 July 1918
Our party made a raid this morning put a good straff over for jerry
We were just coming home at the time .  Got into camp at 1am.  Inspection at 6:30pm.  Parade for work at 8pm

24 July 1918
Arrived in camp at 2:30am
Inspection at 6:30pm work at 8:30 in Douchy Avenue

25 July 1918
Arrived in camp about 3am.  Not out again until morning.  Inspection at 4pm

26 July 1918
Work at 4am got back to camp at 12noon.  Inspection at 4pm

27 July 1918
Out to work at 3:30am in Douchy Avenue where there was an ?-age of one foot of water. Got into camp about 11:30am no inspection.

28 July 1918
Day in camp to repair bivywacks Went to Old windmill to scrounge sheet iron.  Found entrance to underground passage leading to trenches behind.  Inspection at 12noon.  Pay parade 4pm made ours into a very good bivy

29 July 1918
Out to work at 2am in Douchy  Avenue arrived in camp about 10:30am.  Baths at 2:30pm.  Inspection at 7pm

30 July 1918
Out to work at 2am.  Arrived in camp at 9am.  Inspection at 3pm.  Wrote a letter to Pam in green [?]

31 July 1918
Work at 2am in Douchy Avenue.  Inspection at 3pm

Monday, July 28, 2014

Acrobatics at Wakefield Museums

One of the really great things about working in museums is the fact that people often donate wonderful objects.

Recently we were offered a unique home made toy, made in the 1930s.  John Whitaker, Museum Curator demonstrates :

Here John hits the target!

The toy was brought to the museum by Herbert Spur.  His grandfather, Tom Cartwright,  made it for him when he was 9.  Tom Cartwright was a joiner & undertaker who worked in York Street.

If you have an unusual or interesting object bring it along to show our Curators.  Bring your objects to be identified and receive advice on their care and storage:

Meet the curator at Wakefield Museum - Every Thursday 2.00pm  - 4.00pm
Meet the curator at Pontefract Museum - Every Wednesday 2.00pm  - 4.00pm
Meet the curator at Castleford Museum - Every other Thursday 10.00am - 12.00noon

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stanley Ferry Logboat

After years of planning Wakefield Library and Museum unveiled a new display of a Viking era logboat this week.

The logboat with Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council
This  very special object was found 6 feet under the River Calder when the foundations of the Stanley Ferry aqueduct were being built in 1838.  

Stanley Ferry aqueduct

The boat is known as a log boat or dug out because it is made it is made from a hollowed out tree trunk. They are the earliest known type of boat and as such this boat was originally dated as being prehistoric . Analysis of the wood has shown that it is around 1,000 years old making it relatively modern.

As the boat was found by the River Calder near Stanley it was probably used to take passengers from one bank to the other – like a ferry. It could be the original ferry from Stanley Ferry.

Artist impression of the logboat in use 1000 years ago

It dates to around the year 1,000 – before the Norman Conquest of 1066 and when Viking Kings, jostled with Anglo Saxon Rulers to control Yorkshire and England. 

Visit the Stanley Ferry Logboat at Wakefield Library & Museum, free entry.

Meet a Viking event
20 August
2pm – 4pm
Drop in to Wakefield Library & Museum and meet Njal Siggurdsson the Viking. Find out - What it meant to be 'A Viking!' How coins were made. Traiders, Invaders and Raiders! Try a helmet and shield.  Suitable for families with children aged 8 and over. Free

The Stanley Ferry Logboat is on loan courtesy of York Museum Trust (Yorkshire Museum)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Collections Highlights: Butlin's Badge

Wakefield Museums hold over 120,000 historic objects that have been acquired on behalf of those who live, work in or visit the Wakefield district.

Many of the objects are on display at our museum venues, but we can't display everything at once! This series of blog posts will highlight some of the collections, both on display and off, by showing a photograph and some information about the object.
We'd love to know your thoughts about the objects featured in this series so if you have a memory linked to an object or if you can add some more background information about them please do leave a comment for us.
Butlin's Badge

This colourful badge was issued in Filey in 1955. During the camp's life, from 1939 to 1983, Filey was the only Butlin's in Yorkshire. These holidays were very different with entertainment for both families in the day and for adults at night. The all-in cost enabled children to use the swimming pool and rides as often as they liked. For the parents, it meant a break from non-stop parenting and endless cooking and washing-up.

Holiday camps after the Second World War were just another aspect of Prime Minister Macmillan's "you have never had it so good" society. For many families, this was the fist time that you had an affordable holiday where you were not kicked out for most of the day as had been the case in boarding houses (a very real consideration in the British climate).

Butlin's, Pontin's and Warner's cannily developed a number of camps along the coast which brought together the recent legislation on paid holidays and the availability of old army bases no longer needed after 1945. Many families developed a strong preference for one or other site and returned year after year. As whole factories or pits closed for the same time, it was possible to renew friendships with staff and fellow campers. To a great extent, you holidayed with the people you worked with the rest of the year.

Fond memories come in different forms:
  • "Good morning campers, breakfast is now being served in the Ocean Lounge!"
  • The humiliation at the knobbly knees competition.
  • Fun flirting and the dream of romance on the dance floor...
  • The donkey derby.
  • The chair lifts.
  • The stamp on you hand if you went out of the camp.
  • The threatened lock out if you were not back by ten!
 Enjoy your summer holiday.....

Monday, July 7, 2014

Artists in the Atrium: Wakefield One Atrium Case Commission 2014

Wakefield Council Museums have been successful in securing funding from Arts Council England for a project to commission an artist or cultural organisation to create an installation using Wakefield  museum objects in an innovative and exciting way in two special showcases in Wakefield One.  Wakefield’s new flagship civic building opened in 2012, it accommodates a range of Council services including a new museum and library.

We are looking for an artist to use our collections as inspiration to create a beautifully engaging display. Combining artistic practice, be it sculpture or multi-media or painting, with museum objects to wow, thrill and surprise our visitors.   Take this opportunity to amaze us with ideas that allow people to engage with museum collections in a different way. As long as the objects are safeguarded we will consider anything…

Wakefield Council’s museum collections
Wakefield Council holds over 120,000 historic objects, which tell the stories of the people, places, events and activities of the residents of and visitors to the Wakefield District, from prehistoric times to the present day. The collections range from jewellery and small archaeological finds through costume, ethnography, both domestic and work equipment to architectural stonework and small vehicles such as bicycles.

We have preselected two areas to choose from to act as the centre point and inspiration for the installation. They are either:
  • Chairs - A selection of up to 25 chairs from the museum collection. 
  • Everyday pottery – A selection of up to 50 pieces of pottery.  Dating from 1000 years ago to the Twentieth century.   Any number of the pieces can be used.

(See pictures below)

Resources available:
Two Atrium showcases: Freestanding and glazed on all four sides and top with four internal lighting columns in each corner. Display dimensions (interior measurements) are (h x w x d) 1944mm x 2227mm x 1477mm and 1944mm x 1477mm x 1477mm [please see images below.]

Staff: curator for assistance with object lists, conservator for assistance with suitability / preparation of objects for display. 

Project budget: up to £3800

Project timetable:  Display to open week commencing 3 November 2014 and will be on display for 6 – 9 months.

  • This budget covers fee and delivery of the following:
  • Object selection (in conjunction with curator & conservator)
  • The  formation of a visually interesting display using the selected museum objects; carefully balancing the protection of the objects with innovative display
  • Graphic interpretation explaining the installation (text writing, proof reading, image selection and sourcing, graphic design and production)
  • Text and image selection for marketing material (marketing material will be created by Wakefield Council)
  • Regular updates of progress to exhibition manager
  • Delivery of one supporting event for an Artwalk.  5pm – 8pm November 2013, January 2014 or March 2014 (date to be confirmed)
  • Object selection, text content, graphic design and display techniques to be signed off by Wakefield Council museum team
Please note that in the interest of conservation you cannot:
  • Dismantle objects without agreement
  • Use organic display material or props
  • Use non-conservation grade adhesives and fixings

How to apply:
If you are interested in submitting a proposal for the atrium commission please provide the following information:
  •          An outline of your idea, giving a summary of the potential objects you would like to use and how they would be displayed
  •          A breakdown of budget (including a clear indication of your fee).
  •          A delivery timeline, featuring key dates for object selection, text writing, graphic design and production, installation
  •          A list of sub-contractors and or suppliers used to deliver the brief
  •          An explanation as to how you would ensure the safe and appropriate display of the museum objects

Email to  by 5pm on Monday 4 August 2014.  [Selections will take place by 7 August 2014. Work to commence on development week commencing 11 August 2014.  Display to be in place week commencing 3 November 2014]

For further details of the collections held by Wakefield Council please visit:

Wakefield Museum, Burton Street, Wakefield, WF1 2EB

If you require further information about the project please contact Maya Harrison,, 01924 305350

Examples of chairs & pottery from the collection:

Images of Atrium cases at Wakefield One:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Forum, Castleford

Following a tip off from one of our community curators at Castleford Museum, we have recently become aware of a painting by T. Wainwright showing Castleford's 'Forum'.  The lamp post at the junction of Aire Street and Bridge Street acted as a meeting place and a starting point for events and public debate, and therefore became known as the Forum.

Yorkshire Square
T. Wainwright
Oil on canvas
© Compton Verney, Warwickshire. Photograph by Jamie Woodley. 

The painting is held by Compton Verney in Warwickshire and is currently on display in their Folk Art Galleries: Compton Verney Folk Art Collection.  As a another local connection, Compton Verney currently have on an exhibition about Henry Moore, who was born in Castleford - Moore Rodin Exhibition

During the General Strike in 1926, photographer and hairdresser Jack Hulme of Fryston photographed the lamp post. This photograph and others by Jack Hulme can be seen on display at Castleford Museum.

Killing time at 'The Forum' during the general strike in 1926
The lamp post can be seen again in these photographs from the 'Twixt Aire & Calder website: 'Twixt Aire and Calder.  

Bridge Street, Castleford, in the early 1900s

The Forum around 1900

The George & Dragon Inn seen to the right of the T Wainwright painting was demolished in 1976 to make way for a new roundabout.  This photo was taken in 1970.

You can see the surviving shop front, and the George and Dragon in this 1960s photograph:

Wakefield Museums also have some other paintings by T. Wainwright in the collection:

'Fryston Road, Airedale', 1907

'Pontefract Road, Castleford' 1907
'Pontefrcat Road, Castleford' , 1907

The idea of a forum connects Castleford to its Roman past. In Roman Britain’s bigger cities the Forum was a public space where business was conducted, meetings were held and decisions made. Roman forums have long since gone and so has Castleford’s lamp post. Castleford Forum Library and Museum is a new opportunity to meet up and start a new conversation.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Battle of the Somme & Captain England's Watch

The Battle of the Somme began on 1 July 1916.

It was thought that the Battle of the Somme would be a decisive breakthrough in the First World War, however the German soldiers were ready for the attack and on 1 July 1916 and the British suffered 60,000 casualties of which 20,000 were killed; 60% of all the officers involved on the first day were killed.

At the conclusion of the battle in mid November the Allies had advanced by only 5 miles.

Captain R. Ede England’s watch

This watch is from Wakefield Museums collection.  It was worn by Captain R. Ede England Officer commanding D Company, 12th Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry , Miners Pioneers, on 1 July 1916. 

D Company were timed to ‘go over the top’ at 7.48 am on the 1 July at the Battle of the Somme, this is the watch that timed that event in the battle.

Roll up, Roll up: The Portrait Sideshow at Pontefract Liquorice Festival

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step this way....

You could be the star of the show.

We are very pleased to announce that The Portrait Sideshow is in town capturing The Soul of the Pontefract Liquorice Festival for a salon style exhibition.

That’s right folks, for one day only, come and have you portrait made by our National Portrait Gallery exhibited Soul Harvester, Richard Stanley.

He’ll be using advanced lighting, posing and pouting techniques to conjure beautiful portraits to dazzle and amaze.

Step this way for your portrait-making/soul-taking! Come as you are, or dress to impress. Strike your signature pose; YOU ARE THE STAR OF THIS SHOW.

As part of your visit to the Pontefract Liquorice Festival on Sunday 13 July pop into Pontefract Library between 10.00am and 4.00pm and visit The Portrait Sideshow.  Your portrait will then be used in an exhibition at Pontefract Museum later this year.

Sunday 13 July, 10.00am – 4.00pm
Pontefract Library, Shoemarket, WF8 1BD

All welcome. 
Perhaps you could take inspiration from these poses created by liquorice workers from the Museum collections!