Singing in the Wilderness

Swinging in the wilderness poster

 
Where: St John’s C of E Primary School, High Road, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5RX

When: Saturday 29 September

Time: 3pm – 7pm

Price: Free (some activities may be charged for; all money raised will go to the school)

Everyone welcome

 

 

 

Epping Forest District Council’s Museums, Heritage and Culture team and St John’s C of E Primary School, Buckhurst Hill are hosting an event to celebrate the life and work of local artist Walter Spradbery.

IMG_1022 Open Air SocialIn 1938, Spradbery and his wife Dorothy held an ‘Open Air Social’ with stalls, sideshows, donkey rides, traditional dances and art displays. This will be recreation of that event on its 80th anniversary.

There will be a specially choreographed dance performance by Flux Dance Collective who has been working with pupils from the school to create a piece inspired by Spradbery. A historical interpreter will play the role of Walter Spradbery, leading tours into the wilderness to visit the site where the house once stood. The day will end with a fun performance by Impropera, the world’s only improvised Opera Company. Buckhurst Hill Community Association will have an art display, and there will be a small exhibition about Walter Spradbery.

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The Wilderness

 

He lived next door to St John’s C of E Primary School, in a house known as ‘The Wilderness’ from 1929 – 1969. The site is now part of Epping Forest and a stone plaque marks where the house once stood.

 

 

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This event is part of a programme of activities for the ‘Walter Spradbery, Artist in War and Peace’ exhibition, at Epping Forest District Museum, Waltham Abbey; on display from Saturday 21 July to Saturday 22 December 2018. For more information visit http://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/museum

 
Walter Spradbery
Spradbery is best known for his poster designs for London Transport, one of which was recently used on the new signboards marking the boundaries of Epping Forest. He and his wife, opera singer Dorothy D’Orsay, also held many musical and opera performances in the gardens of ‘The Wilderness’ for the local community.
Spradbery was also a committed pacifist. He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War, receiving the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his bravery in rescuing injured comrades under intense enemy fire.

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.

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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.

 

December fun thanks, to The National Lottery players

From Monday 11 to Saturday 16 December 2017, Epping Forest District Museum and Lowewood Museum will be offering a 10% discount in our gift shops (and at Lowewood Museum’s refreshment area) to National Lottery players.

 

We are two of the 350 participating National Lottery funded visitor attractions across the UK in saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket.

 

Epping Forest District Museum has received £1,782,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  The money paid for the recent redevelopment as well as a range of projects, enabling community engagement and collections acquisition.

 

Lowewood Museum has received £156,000 for exhibition and engagement projects including the restoration of the Pulham kiln site in Broxbourne.

 

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:

 

“December is a wonderful time to experience the UK’s rich, diverse and exciting heritage, which has been transformed by more than £7bn National Lottery funding since 1994.  This is a small gesture of thanks and a way of giving something back to the people who buy tickets.”

 

Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor Helen Kane said: “Thanks to National Lottery players we’ve been able to provide a fantastic new museum offer in the Epping Forest District and the opportunities for our community to explore the heritage has been massively enriched.

 

 

Terms and Conditions

  • One National Lottery ticket provides 10% off in the museum gift shop and refreshment area (at Lowewood Museum).
  • All National Lottery games qualify for the offer, including tickets from any National Lottery draw based game or National Lottery Scratchcard. Proof of ticket can be paper or digital.
  • The offer is valid on the days the museum is open between Monday 11 and Saturday 16 December. Epping Forest District Museum is open 10am to 4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and from 10am to 5pm on Saturdays.
  • Only one ticket can be used per transaction.

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.

Update on the Museum redevelopment project

Since our last update lots of changes have happened at the museum site. The majority of the building works are now complete and the project is on to the furnishing and decorating stage.

A key milestone in the last month or so is the installation of the lift. A big part of the museum project, the lift now makes the museum fully accessible throughout.

The new spaces are also taking shape with the education/community room, temporary exhibition gallery and core gallery ready for decoration and furnishing.

The project is progressing well and still on track for a Spring 2016 opening.

Sneak Peak: Objects going into the Museum’s new archaeology display

Catherine Hammond, the museum’s Education and Outreach Officer, has been busy at the stores selecting objects for the Archaeology display in the new museum which is due to reopen early 2016.

‘I’ve been trying to find objects from all different periods of history and from different locations around the District. My aim is to show how long people have lived and worked all over this area.

As you go through box after box, taking photos, checking lists and making sure everything is recorded properly, it can be easy to forget what an incredible amount of history has passed through your hands. Its only now looking back through all my photos of potential objects I realise I took a journey through 5000 years worth of history in about 7 hours! One of the most exciting objects I found was this Neolithic bowl from Waltham Abbey. It is around 5000 years old and hasn’t been on display since it was sent away for conservation work.

Neolithic Bowl

Neolithic Bowl

Sometimes an object gives a direct link with the past when it shows what we have in common with people who lived here over 1500 years ago. These Roman tweezers used by a Roman lady to tidy her brows have hardly changed from ones we might use today.

Tweezers

Tweezers

As a horse lover, I can’t resist including something horse related, but I didn’t expect to find this ornament, made from a horse’s tooth! It dates from Saxon times and was found near Nazeingbury.

Horse Tooth

Horse Tooth

Sadly, some objects have no information with them so we have no way of knowing how old they might be or where they were found. This Axe Head is one such mystery object, but such a good one I’m tempted to include it.

Axe Head

Axe Head

My favourite find of the day had to be this Giant Mug, found in York Hill, Loughton. I happened to look in an unusual shaped box and was delighted to uncover this. After a day spent sorting over 150 objects from over 5000 years worth of history, I wished I had a mug as big as this for a cup of tea.’

Giant Mug

Giant Mug

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:

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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.

Museum Redevelopment Update – Building work has begun!

Museum team on a site visit

The building work has begun on Epping Forest District Museum’s Heritage Lottery Fund redevelopment project. Work began on site on 20th April 2015 after Coniston Limited was appointed to do the construction work.

Coniston Limited have worked on a number of museum based projects including the Imperial War Museum, The British Museum and are also currently working on the refurbishment of the Europe Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Work has started to prepare the building for its new layout and expanded facility. The museum which is extending into the first floor above the local library has been opened up to create a blank canvas for construction to begin on the new room layouts. The stairs have been removed and work has also begun to prepare the space for the lift which will be installed to make the museum fully accessible.

The next stages of the project will include the installation of new wiring and electrical systems before the decoration can begin as well as the continuing work to install the lift and new staircase.

Another major part of the project is the opening up of the front door to 39 Sun Street which will form the new main entrance to the Museum. This work will also take place in the coming months.