Local museums represented at National Service of Thanksgiving

Staff from Epping Forest District Museum, Waltham Abbey and Lowewood Museum, Hoddesdon attended The National Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey on 11 November 2018, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, having been invited by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The Department for Digital, Media and Sport asked HLF to nominate people to attend the service, after recognising the huge contribution HLF and its First World War projects have made to the centenary. As a result over 300 people involved with these project across the UK, attended the service on Sunday.

Our HLF Projects

Our centenary projects were made possible by grants totalling £124,000 from HLF, which distributes the heritage share of National Lottery funding, supporting a wide variety of projects across the UK. HLF has invested £97million in 2,200 First World War centenary projects.

Spradbery events flyer frontThe Walter Spradbery, Artist in War and Peace exhibition is on display at Epping Forest District Museum until Saturday 22 December 2018. It focuses on the artist’s time in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War, and the paintings he made for the first Imperial War Museum displays.

 

 

all diaries closed and medal and photoStephen Warner, One Man’s Journey through War was on display at Lowewood Museum from May until September 2018. It explored the First War World through the diaries of Warner, who served with the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Essex Regiment in France and went on to win a Military Cross for bravery.

 

Broxbourne: We Will Remember Them, focuses on First World War soldiers from the Borough of Broxbourne. People are invited to share their stories, memories, photographs and other artefacts. Pupils from local schools will create embroidered postcards to commemorate the sacrifices given by soldiers. There will be a number of sharing days in the Borough of Broxbourne, through December to February, for people to come and tell their stories. The Broxbourne: We Will Remember Them display will start touring from the end of February 2019.

First World War Art on display at Epping Forest District Museum

For the first time in nearly 100 years, some of the art that was originally created for the first Imperial War Museum exhibition at the Crystal Palace is on show again at Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey.

Shortly after the Armistice in 1918, several artists were commissioned to create art for the Army Medical Gallery in the exhibition.  Among these were local artists, Walter Spradbery and Haydn Mackey.  Both were pacifists so had signed up to serve in the Royal Army Medical Corps at the outbreak of war.  Their role would be to save life rather than take it but they were at no less risk of danger and death, receiving medals for their bravery in rescuing comrades under intense enemy fire.

1996.49.3 Sunet on the Somme.jpg

Spradbery tended to paint more landscapes and the effect of light.  This image of the Somme in April 1918 contrasts with the scenes we usually associate with the area – muddy, war torn battlefields.

Their experience meant they were able to create very strong paintings of their time on the front line.  Spradbery’s watercolours showed the effects of war on the landscape, while Mackey produced some monumental portraits of soldiers, praised at the time as being ‘a most powerful and truthful portrayal of the conditions of modern war, eloquent in persuasion against a recurrence of such things.’

1996.70 Crystal palace

This is Spradbery’s painting of the Imperial War Museum display at the Crystal Palace.  This was the museum’s first exhibition.  Spradbery and Mackey were commissioned to create art for the displays, but this is possibly one of the only paintings of the exhibition itself.  The exhibition opened in 1920 and closed in 1924.  4 million people came to see it.

 

 

 

The Great War exhibition opened at the Crystal Palace on 9 June 1920.  Its purpose was to record the ‘toil and sacrifice’ of Britain and the Empire in the Great War.  The building was crammed with displays of artwork, weapons, models, uniforms, photographs and all manner of things connected with the war. By 1924 four million people had seen the exhibition.

When the exhibition closed some of the art remained in the collections of the Imperial War Museum when it moved to its new location.  Others were transferred to the Wellcome Trust.  Sketches that Spradbery made for the exhibition works are now in the collections of Epping Forest District Museum.  As part of the special exhibition, ‘Walter Spradbery, Artist in War and Peace’, reproductions of some of the art including Mackey’s monumental works can be seen hanging alongside loans from the Imperial War Museum to recreate this incredible display of art and the role it played in recording the memory of the Great War for generations to come.

The exhibition ‘Artist in War and Peace: Walter Spradbery 1889 – 1969’ runs from 21 July 2018 until 22 December 2018. 

Epping Forest District Museum, 39 – 41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 5pm.

 

Halloween Blog Post – Myths about Witches

As you may already know Epping Forest District Museum has a selection of Touring Exhibitions available for hire – one of which covers the theme of Witch Hunts. For our Halloween Special Blog here is a little bit of information from that exhibition.

Many people imagine that witches were lonely old hags tending cauldrons and casting spells. This image recurs in many novels, plays and films, like the much-loved Wizard of Oz and the more recent Harry Potter stories. However, many of the ideas and characteristics associated with witches are actually myths. Here are some of the common ones:

Witches were all women
Women were associated with witchcraft because of links between femininity and weakness to temptation. Many deaths blamed on witchcraft occurred in female spheres within households and neighbourhoods. Despite this, 20% of witches were male. An infamous case involved John Lowes, the vicar of Brandeston in Suffolk. He confessed to sinking ships and other terrible crimes, and was hanged at Bury St Edmunds in August 1645.

Witches rode on broomsticks
Some believed that witches met at night in remote places, to which they travelled through the air on broomsticks. This is rarely mentioned in legal records relating to witchcraft. In 1712 an English judge is said to have laughed at the suggestion that a Hertfordshire witch had a magic broom, declaring that there was no law against flying!

Witches were all burned at the stake
The terrifying image of English witches being burned at the stake has featured in horror films like Witchfinder General (1968). Although witches were burned on the continent and in Scotland, other types of execution included beheading, drowning and burial alive. Some were merely imprisoned, banished or forced to repent. In England, the punishment for invoking demons and murder by witchcraft was hanging. A rare witch-burning took place at Ipswich in 1645, when Mary Lakeland was executed by these means for bewitching her husband to death – the crime of petty treason.

Millions died in the witch-hunts
Estimates of the number of people executed for witchcraft varies wildly, reaching as high as 9 million. Legal records show there were around 100,000 witch-trials in early modern Europe, and that death sentences were passed in about half of these. This may seem a lot for an impossible crime, but compared with the size of the population witchcraft prosecutions were quite rare.

Here are some objects from our collections relating to the Witch Hunt topic:
BELLARMINE
Bellarmine jugs have often been used as ‘witch bottles’ and the bearded or ‘wild’ man figure was even thought to scare off witches. When used as ‘witch bottles’, these jugs would contain hair, nail clippings and urine, all believed to help capture evil spirits. Witches spells were considered harmless if these bottles were burned at midnight.

bottle
Small glass bottles, like the type shown here, have been found in many 16th and 17th century houses. Many contained salt or nails- all considered effective safeguards against witches.
This and other glass bottles were found in 1966 during the excavation of 46/48 Sewardstone Street, Waltham Abbey.

1840StocksNWhip
This image shows the pillory which stood in Waltham Abbey’s churchyard. Sited next to the pillory was the Tudor stocks (or whipping post). The Elizabethan Act (1563) prescribes that for a first offence of any attempt to use witchcraft that did not result in the death of a victim, the punishment would be one year in prision and “once in every Quarter of the said yere shall in some Market Town, upon Market day or at suche tyme as any Fayer shall be kept there, stande openly upon the Pillorie by the space of Sixe Houres, and there shall openly confesse his or her Error and Offence”

This exhibition was put together by Epping Forest District Museum in conjunction with Malcolm Gaskill.
To find out more about our Touring Exhibitions email us at museum@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Museum on the Move reopens

11201810_1288186537863313_6734758118269799242_nEpping Forest District Museum reopened it’s doors to the public on Saturday 19 March 2016 after a 2 year long Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment.

The bells of Waltham Abbey Church rang as reenactors from the 44th East Essex Regiment marched up Sun Street towards the museum.

Party atmosphere

A party atmosphere was enjoyed by all who came to celebrate the museum’s special day. They were treated to a jive dance demonstration and a morris dancing display by the Chingford Morris Men in Sun Street.

Over 750 people visited the museum, they enjoyed activities including decorating eggs in the new community space, and were given access to all the museum’s new galleries for the first time.

Welcome back

Museum staff were thrilled with the positive feedback they received. Comments include “Big improvement, proud to live in the Abbey” and “Welcome back! We’ve missed the museum and love the new look!

Museum on the Move

The museum team also celebrated the reopening of the museum by making a film showing what has been going on behind the scenes. The ‘Museum on the Move’ film also features as part of the museum’s first temporary exhibition all about transport through history.

 

Epping Forest District Museum reopening date confirmed!

image.jpgAfter a two year long Heritage Lottery Funded project, the reopening of Epping Forest District Museum is on the horizon. The museum would like to welcome members of the public to the museum on Saturday 19 March 2016 from 10am to 5pm to see the fantastic improvements and changes that have taken place on site.

With a new community room for schools, groups and activities, a lift making all galleries accessible to the public for the first time and the chance to see behind the scenes the museum will be a unique offer to both local people and the wider community.

The museum team are now in the process of reinstalling the objects in the six new galleries ready for the reopening in March, with a much greater number of objects going on display than ever before.

What will feature in the redeveloped Museum displays?

As you might have seen in our recent blogs, the building work at the museum is well underway and the building itself is starting to take shape. While this work continues the Museum team are starting to plan and select objects to go on display in the newly redeveloped museum.

Over the coming months we will be giving you a sneak peak at some of the objects will be displaying!

Our first sneak peak is the whipping post:

195-Waltham-Abbey-Whipping-Posts-and-Stocks-q75-330x500

The Whipping Post dates to 1598. It is over 400 years old. It was used to punish people who had committed crimes in Tudor times. The person’s arms were locked in at the top so they couldn’t move or escape.  They were then whipped as a punishment for their crime.

Below are some images of the whipping post being unpacked and measured for its new case at the museum.

Museum Heritage Lottery Fund Project Update

Building work is progressing on the Museum’s redevelopment project so we thought we would share a little update with you.

Since our last blog all the internal walls in the new extension to the museum have been installed. This is the area above Waltham Abbey Library.

plan

This means the new spaces in the museum including the community room, temporary exhibition gallery, Core gallery and new storage spaces are really taking shape. The team can get a feel for the spaces and what each space can really be used for.

Community Room

Community Room

Temporary Exhibition Gallery

Temporary Exhibition Gallery

The preparations for the lift are also complete and this will be installed as one of the next tasks. Once all the wiring and electrics are complete the decoration work can begin!

We hope you are looking forward to seeing the completed museum and visiting us next year.

Museums at Night – Victorian Extravaganza!

As many of you know while Epping Forest District Museum is closed for redevelopment there is the chance to visit our sister site, Lowewood Museum.

On Friday 15th May we would like to invite you to visit Lowewood Museum and enjoy our special Museums at Night Event.

Museums at Night invite

Lowewood Museum will be staying open late for a special Victorian Extravaganza to celebrate Museums at Night, a National initiative, on the 15th May 2015, 6pm – 9pm. We are inviting the community to come and take a fresh look at the museum as part of this one off FREE event.

To celebrate 200 years since the birth of beloved Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, join us for our Victorian Extravaganza as the museum opens its doors from 6pm to 9pm for one evening only.

Explore the museum in a new light and join in the wide variety of activities we have on offer. There is the chance to enjoy our tea party with fantastic food and that all important cup of tea as well as some very special cocktail jellies! Have a go at getting dressed up in Victorian costume and get your photo taken in our Victorian photo booth and join in and try out some famous Victorian decent and profane games.

If you haven’t heard of the museum or been meaning to visit for a while this is the perfect opportunity.

Lowewood blue
Lowewood Museum
High Street, Hoddesdon, EN11 8BH
T. 01992 445596
W. http://www.broxbourne.gov.uk/lowewoodmuseum
E. museum.leisure@broxbourne.gov.uk
Twitter: @Lowewood

New Touring Exhibition – Mythical Creatures

Mythical Creatures is a NEW regional touring exhibition produced by Epping Forest District Museum and co-curated by students from Epping Forest College. Mythical Creatures is funded by Arts Council England and Royal Opera House Bridge. This exhibition is free to hire for venues in the East of England.

Here are some photographs from the exhibition.

New Touring Exhibition: Mythical Creatures

From the dawn of human history, stories have been filled with tales of strange and mysterious beasts. The product of fantasy, dreams and imagination, these mythical creatures are often invented to explain strange events and can take the form of gods, omens or heroes. Taking you on a journey from the ocean’s depths to the mountain’s peaks, Epping Forest District Museum’s new exhibition, Mythical Creatures, explores the provenance of mythical creatures from around the world, delving into the fantastical stories that explain their existence.

The exhibition is divided onto four main sections, Earth, Wind, Water and Fire, as, according to the Swiss Alchemist Paracelsus, mythical beings draw their spirit from these four universal elements. Using Paracelsus’ theory of the elementals as building blocks, the exhibition weaves the tales of new and old together to create a rich tapestry of mythical beasts.

Although produced by Epping Forest District Museum, Mythical Creatures has been curated by Art students from Epping Forest College as part of the museum’s Young Curators Programme. Inspired by the stories and legends, these students have crafted a series of original artworks that feature their own interpretations of mythical creatures. Visitors can marvel at these artworks that range from a giant origami Nidhogg Dragon to chilling photographs of a modern medusa.

The exhibition launches at Epping Forest College on the 13th April 2015 and in the lead up to the opening, we will be posting fun facts on our social media outlets to see just how much you know about the enchanting world of mythical creatures. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to discover the link between a narwhal whale and Elizabeth I or what rhyme you must recite to vanquish a suspected changeling fairy from your home.

Its time to suspend your disbelief as in here, they do exist…

Mythical Creatures launches on 13th April 2015 and runs until 8th May at Epping Forest College, Loughton, Essex.

If you would like to be added to our Private View Invitation list please get in touch by:
Email – museum@eppingforestdc.gov.uk
Telephone – 01992 716882

EFDM Mythical Creatures Exhibition Poster