New booklets by Peter Boon

P Boon Congleton Soldier

Congleton Museum is happy to announce two new booklets by Peter Boon are now on sale.  These two booklets tell stories important to Congleton, from the Green Island district to the tale of a Congleton soldier. ‘A Congleton Soldier in the Great War 1914 to 1918’ recounts the tales of Peter’s father who served during the First World War, surviving both the Somme and Ypres to return home to his family. ‘Gibraltar Rocks and Green Island district of Congleton’ explores the geography, history and people of the Green Island district of Congleton. The booklets cost £2 and £3 respectively.

The Vikings – raid or trade?

Viking Strap End

This 9th century strap-end (pictured), now housed in Congleton Museum, was recently found in Church Lawton and has raised questions about the Vikings in Cheshire. Made from copper alloy, it is decorated with an intertwined animal design, originally inlaid with a black metal alloy to highlight it. With an animal head terminus, the strap-end would have been used as a metal piece holding the end of a leather strap such as a belt.

Analysis of the piece shows that the owners were the Vikings. The common view of the Vikings today is as a single horde invading Britain, raiding monasteries and slaughtering the inhabitants, but the Vikings were actually various groups of Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians who came to England over a period of 300 years.

The Vikings believed that the loyalty and service of fighting men could only be bought with gifts. This meant that the Viking leaders needed access to large amounts of wealth, be it the gold of England or the silver of Byzantium.

The Danes were the first Vikings to arrive in England, attacking the rich settlements of the coastal regions and finding great riches. By the 9th century the ‘Danelaw’ of the north was fully established. At this time the border with Mercia was a mere 25 miles away from Congleton, near Runcorn. There seems to be little evidence that the Vikings ever raided this region, with this strap-end being the first Viking artefact found in the county.

A more likely possibility is that the strap-end was traded. Across the Norse world, which stretched at one time from Iceland to Constantinople, trade was the other main method of acquiring wealth. Furs, skins, and amber were all traded for silver, gold and other precious items.

Even on a local scale the Viking traders would have been looking to turn a profit. It is possible that a Mercian merchant liked the different style of Viking goods and acquired, but subsequently lost, the strap-end.

Repair of Town Tapestry is complete

Tapestry

It’s finished! The Town Tapestry has been repaired, redesigned and backed in preparation for re-hanging in the Museum. It’s taken at least a year of consistent hard work to achieve this and on Monday 8th August Trish Lovell snipped the last thread!
The textile group will now have to return to is more mundane Monday afternoon activities.

Thanks to everyone, especially Trish Lovell and Mary Waller, who were members of the original tapestry group and to the museum’s textile group of Louise, Dorothy and Janet and in particular Linda Ward whose expertise on the sewing machine proved to be invaluable.

Music history at the museum!

RodeHallSilverBand
Music history at the museum! Congleton Museum is proud to host a special exhibition on the Rode Hall Silver Band. Established in 1837 to lead parishioners from Scholar Green to Astbury Church, the band is now a staple of local events and celebrations.
Included in the display is an 1837 brass drum, still used by the band, along with information about the band’s membership during the two world wars.

This free exhibit is open until September 8th. Pictured: the band in 1880.

Winners of Summer Art Competition

artwinner

We have a winner! Congleton Museum is proud to announce that Xander Greenwood, from Congleton High School, is the overall winner of Congleton Museum’s first summer art competition. Xander has won a £10 WHSmith Gift Voucher. Other winners include Macy Rigby (pictured) from Quinta Primary School, who won in the group B category(ages 7-10). Her entry was a watercolour interpretation of a black and white photograph of old Congleton. Group C (ages 11-14) was won by Samantha Cowling from Congleton High School. Both Samantha and Macy won a Congleton Museum pen of their choice. Also on display is the entry by Elizabeth Corfield from Congleton High School (11-14 age group), whose piece was ‘Highly Commended’.

Congleton Museum’s summer art competition for the local schools has produced some excellent pieces which are now on display in the museum. Attracting considerable praise, the artwork is based on the topic of ‘History of Congleton and Astbury’. The new competition was a success; with trustee Diane Ritherdon saying, ‘The young people have produced excellent work, and they deserve a wider audience.’ We would like to thank all entrants for their excellent entries and we hope to run more art competitions in the future.

Rotary Club WW1 Concert

RAF Band

The Rotary Club of Congleton is proudly hosting a WWI commemorative concert in aid of Congleton Museum and The Royal British Legion. The concert will be performed by the RAF College Band in the Town Hall on Sunday 28th September at 7pm. Tickets cost £15 and are available from Congleton Tourist Information Centre and Rotary Club Members. For more details, please contact: 07779 132656 or 07764-781657

Celebrating 100 years of Brownies

 

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Congleton Museum is celebrating 100 years of the Brownie Guides, in style, with a fantastic new exhibition.  Documenting the last hundred years of the Brownies, the exhibition reveals some of the little known history of the organisation.

Lord Baden-Powell decided to create a junior section of the Girl Guides in 1914, for girls of 8 to 11 years old. First called ‘Rosebuds’, the girls had to pass a basic entrance test before they could take their promise.  They had to be able to wash up the tea things, hem a duster, and plait their own hair.  Originally in a uniform of dark blue, the Rosebuds were encouraged to contribute to the local community.

The name change to ‘Brownies’ occurred in 1915 at the request of the girls.  It was based on Mrs. Ewing’s story of little people who did good turns.  With the motto of ‘Lend a Hand’ the Brownies set out to do just that.

Over the next 100 years, hundreds of thousands of little girls have joined up to gain badges, help their communities and have lots of fun in the process.  “Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, with 546,406 members,” said Cheshire Border Heritage Adviser, Ann Harris.  “We give girls and young women a space where they can be themselves, build brilliant friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives.”

The brand new promise of 2013 shows how the principles of the Brownies have little changed from 1914, with an emphasis on doing their best, helping other people and keeping the Brownie Guide Law.

The free-of-charge exhibition runs until 7th August, so be sure to pop in and take a look at the surprising history of the Brownie Guides.