Monday, January 22, 2024

100 Years of Collecting - new display with Wakefield Historical Society and Wakefield Civic Society (part 1)

2023 marked both 100 years since Wakefield Museum first opened, and the start of a century of collecting objects! 

To celebrate, our team picked 100 objects that tell the rich heritage of our district

Most of them are already on display, so we asked our friends at Wakefield Civic Society and Wakefield Historical Society to pick a selection from our storeroom.

Their members have picked an interesting mix of objects. These cover work and industry, sports and leisure, entertainment and creativity, politics and protest, and law and order.

The objects are now on display in the 100 Years of Collecting case at Wakefield One. 

Members of Wakefield Historical Society and Wakefield Civic Society, and curator John Whitaker, looking into the display case and discussing its contents
Members of Wakefield Historical Society and Wakefield Civic Society at the display's unveiling, with curator John Whitaker

This blog features the objects chosen by the Wakefield Historical Society, along with the captions they wrote. The Wakefield Civic Society captions are in this blog.

All of the full captions are available in the 100 Years of Collecting Online Exhibition (choose 'Objects on Display' and then 'Wakefield One'). 

Dress from the Wakefield Pageant, 1933

Written by Deborah Scriven, member of the Wakefield Historical Society
An ornate green and gold pageant dress in an Elizabethan style, with a wide boned frame and cap

Historical pageants were popular in the 1920s and 1930s. 
Not to be outdone, Wakefield staged its own in 1933. 

Mrs Mabel Crook wore this costume as one of Queen Elizabeth I’s ladies-in-waiting during the scene in which the Queen granted a charter to Wakefield for a free grammar school.

After more than four centuries, the school continues to flourish. The dress is a fascinating link between two very different periods in the city’s history.

Queen Elizabeth I and her ladies-in-waiting at the 1933 Wakefield Pageant. They are all in elaborate Elizabethan costumes, including the one in our collection.
Photograph courtesy of the Wakefield Express.

Mabel Crook (seated at the bottom left) as one of Queen Elizabeth I’s ladies in waiting wearing the dress. This photograph is from a series taken by the Wakefield Express showing the 1933 Wakefield Pageant.

'Snooker for Women' campaign t-shirt, 1970s-80s

Written by Olivia Rowley, council member of the Wakefield Historical Society

White women's fit t-shirt with 'Snooker for Women' and illustration of two snooker balls headed for the pocket on it

I have to choose the snooker campaign t-shirt, being involved in the campaign. It was an exciting time.

Sheila Capstick innocently joined her Dad to play snooker one afternoon at the City Working Men’s Club in Kirkgate.

The local committee, the Club and Institute Union determined that women couldn’t play snooker.

The t-shirt symbolizes the power that certain males own.

Although so many women now participate in all sorts of sports, the sexism hasn’t ended!

The struggles of so many women throughout history must not be forgotten.

Olivia at a Snooker for Women demonstration, with her baby daughter in a pram. Other people around her are wearing the iconic t-shirts and have placards

'Me with our pram containing our now 44-year-old daughter on her first demonstration, but not her last'
Photo courtesy of Olivia Rowley

Lead weight, 1300s - 1400s

Written by Richard Knowles, Vice-President of the Wakefield Historical Society

A small shield-shaped lead weight featuring a fleur de lys motif

A lead merchant weight, known as a Lys and Crown type, weighing 1lb and believed to date from the 14th / 15th century.

Their specific use remains uncertain, but they may be wool weights.

This example is illustrated in J.W. Walker’s ‘Wakefield Its History and People’ 2nd edition (1939). Walker states it was ‘dug up in a garden on the Eastmoor housing estate’.

Walker was also the founding President of the Wakefield Historical Society, established in 1924.

The suggested location of the find site and presence of a fleur-de-lys, may lead one to speculate on a Wakefield connection. This is perhaps understandable as there was, at this time (1930s) a lack of other archaeological examples. However, a number of very similar examples have now been found in North and East Yorkshire.

Drawing of a lead weight very similar to the one in our collection, shield-shaped featuring a fleur de lys design
Illustration of the weight in J.W. Walker's 'Wakefield: Its History and People' (1939 edition)

Weight and height scale from Wakefield's Hornsea Seaside School, 1930s

Written by Pete Taylor, member of the Wakefield Historical Society

Tall, thin weighing scales designed for children. There is a hook sticking out of the scales that weights can be added on to

These were used to monitor children’s health and physical development, a growing concern in the early 20th century.

From 1906 local authorities took steps to record the height, weight and chest measurements of children attending elementary school.

From 1921 they were empowered to provide children with vacation schools. 

Wakefield’s Hornsea Seaside School opened in 1938, operating as a residential elementary school for 24 weeks a year and a holiday camp during the summer break.

Mrs Paterson the matron weighing a young child on the weighing scales. She has a very stern expression as she reads the child's weight.
Weighing in: Mrs Paterson, the matron at the Wakefield Seaside School in Hornsea, weighing a new arrival.
Photo copyright of Hulton Archive / Getty Images.

Dunlop 200G Max Pro tennis racket, 1980s

Written by Jean Broadbent, member of the Wakefield Historical Society

Dunlop 200G Max Pro tennis racket, purple frame with orange handle

William Sykes, a leather worker, started a business making footballs but quickly moved into tennis rackets and other equipment.

After mergers with Slazengers (1942) and Dunlop (1959) they became well known particularly for tennis.

I loved playing and watching tennis but was never fortunate enough to own a Dunlop 200G Max Pro like this one.

It is evidence that this Wakefield company was at the forefront of scientific advances.

Horbury has an interesting history in sport, unusually in equipment rather than participants.

Steffi Graf and Virginia Wade posing with a framed 200G max pro racket, with Dunlop banners behind them

1980s Women’s tennis legend Steffi Graf presenting the millionth injection moulded 200G Max Pro racket to 1977 Wimbledon champion, Virginia Wade.
Photo taken at the factory in Horbury.

The display is at Wakefield One until end of May 2024.


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