Thursday, August 6, 2015

Collections Highlights: Addingley's liquorice tin

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.
Addingley's liquorice tin
This box is about 120 years old. It dates from a time when Pontefract had 10 or more 'spice' factories. Today Addingley’s has gone but Wilkinson's lives on in Pontefract as Trebor Bassett and Dunhill's as Haribo. Pontefract Museum probably has the largest collection of old liquorice packaging anywhere. Small tins, like this one, had the advert on the outside. Larger tins often had plain tops and the advert on the inside of the lid. This was so that they could be set out open in shops to tempt customers.
Apart from the company name, one of the ways to date this tin is by the style of the advert. The swirly plant forms are typical of the 'art nouveau' style. It came from Paris around the 1900s. This 'nouveau' or new style was a real change from what went before. Going back to nature and the shapes of plants, insects and birds was a break with the past (the front of Pontefract Museum and its tiled entrance hall are great examples).
Another way of dating this tin is from the picture of the castle. The ruins of the castle were turned into a park and open-air museum around 1890. Rockeries and follies were added to make the site more 'romantic'. One of the towers was half taken down so that the road (North Baileygate) could go round the castle. The other change was to knock a hole through the wall of the keep so that you could see the distant church of Saint Giles framed by the castle ruins! People looked at history in a very different way then and they thought that this damage improved the site. Twenty years later the wall with the hole collapsed. This tin shows us a bit of local archaeology that no longer exists.
You can see lots of examples of liquorice packaging and other tools of the trade at Pontefract Museum
Displays of packaging.  The picture on the right is of a 'Thumper' using a Liquorice stamp to decorate Pontefract Cakes

Visit Pontefract Museum on 12 August 11am - 2pm and take part in a free family workshop - Luscious Liqourice .  Make a liquorice themed paper collage to take home.

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