Remembrance Field

Poppy Field

Congleton Museum’s Remembrance Field is now on display. Woven by museum volunteer Trish Lovell from donated plastic bags, and with poppies added by visitors, this fantastic poppy field can be seen in the foyer of the museum.

The field started life as a small sample which Trish then decided to enlarge in commemoration of WWI. With recycled plastic bags donated by Argos (blue), M&S and Spar (yellow), and Congleton Council (greens), the vista took shape over a number of weeks. As Trish wove the field on a peg loom in the museum, visitors were able to name poppies in remembrance and insert them into the fabric. All poppies were kindly donated by the Royal British Legion.

When the field was completed a banner was added with the words from John McCrae’s famous poem: ‘In Flanders fields the poppies blow’. The field was in place for Remembrance Sunday where it attracted comparisons to the Poppy Moat at the Tower of London . Trish said, ‘If people can genuinely consider that my idea for my weaving is anywhere near the league of the moat poppies, then I am highly honoured’.

The Remembrance Field will be on display at the museum for the foreseeable future.

 

Congleton Tapestry Comes Home

Tapestry 1

Congleton Museum is now the proud home of the Congleton Tapestry. Displayed in the foyer, the tapestry can now be seen by the general public in its full glory for the first time in its town of origin.

The tapestry started life in Sept 1994 at the instigation of Margaret Williamson, then Town Mayor, who had seen a similar one in Nantwich. Volunteers were called for and the idea gradually took shape into three panels: Congleton at Work, Congleton at Play, and History and Landscape. Completed in August 1995, the proposed home in the Town Hall fell through, and the tapestry went off to Chester, and later Manchester, for display.

Tapestry 2

In 2013 Trish Lovell, one of the original weavers, learnt that it had come into the care of Congleton Museum . Since the museum had no room to display it in its full length it was decided to divide the tapestry into its three panels. The Textile Group, led by Louise Adams and Trish Lovell, set to work dismantling and reassembling the tapestry and on 21 October 2014 the tapestry was finally put on display.

Trish said, “I would like to say that I express my thanks to Congleton Museum for finding such a beautiful home for the Tapestry, and the Textile group in particular, for the hard work and expertise which went into the final result.”

You can see the tapestry upstairs in the foyer at the museum.

Christmas presents on sale

Christmas 2014 Shop

Our crafters have been busy making affordable items for Christmas and these are now on sale in the museum shop.  Christmas cards range from 30p to £1.50, packs of wine glass charms made with Swarovski crystals are only £2.50, felt tree decorations for £1, packs of gift bows with tags for £1 and memo pads for £1.50.  Why not come along and take a look?   All sales benefit the museum.

Successful Bradshaw House Open Days

Congleton Museum had a very successful four days of opening Bradshaw House to the public. Nearly 400 visitors popped in during the event, really showing the local community involvement in the project. The entirety of the ground floor was open, and visitors were given impromptu talks on the history of Bradshaw House and its original owners by volunteers. With overwhelming words of support from visitors, donations given, and the response from the public it is unsurprising that Chairman Ian Doughty called the Open Days ‘phenomenal’.

The response from volunteers to the short notice of opening the building was brilliant. Their engagement with visitors and with the history was fantastic, and many thanks go out to all those who gave their time and effort over the four days.

Heritage Open Days

Bradshaw House BradshawHouse01 BradshawHouse06 BradshawHouse35 Fiona Bruce and Trustees 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heritage Open Days, Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th September – As a part of the National Heritage Open Days which celebrate England ’s fantastic architecture and culture, Congleton Museum will be opening Bradshaw House between 10.00am and 3.00pm each day.

Come and see this Georgian landowners’ town house, the museum’s proposed new home. Donations to the Bradshaw House Fund, which will allow the museum to move to these larger premises, are greatly appreciated.

The museum will be open as usual.

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.