Sun Street, Waltham Abbey

Here is a gallery of some of the images in the Museum’s collection of Sun Street in Waltham Abbey.

Find more images of Waltham Abbey and the District at efdhistory.org.uk

Waltham Abbey Shops and Trades

Below is a small gallery of images of old shops and trades in Waltham Abbey.

Find more images of Waltham Abbey at efdhistory.org.uk

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

Sporting Heritage in the Epping Forest District

Today is #sportingheritage day and we are encouraging people to share their memories and photos of sports with us via Facebook and Twitter. The best one will win a goodie bag!

The district has many connections with sport from the cycling history to the more recent Tour de France and much more.

Below is a gallery of images from the Museum’s collection showing sports in the district – why not share your memories with us?

 

 

Artwork of the month – John Varley

John Varley

John Varley

John Varley was a British artist born in London in 1778. He was an English landscape painter mainly working in watercolour.

Varley was working at a time of transition and his work shows the transition from tinted drawing to the more fluid and bolder watercolour painting that took hold in the 19th century.

In 1798 he exhibited a highly regarded sketch of  Peterborough Cathedral at the Royal Academy  and became a regular exhibitor at the RA. In 1805 the Old Watercolour Society (OWS) was founded and as a founding member of the OWS Varley exhibited over 700 drawings there.

As well as being an artist, Valey was a teacher with pupils including Copley Fielding, David Cox, John Linnell and William Turner (artist) of Oxford.

He died in London in 1842.

Varley’s work is represented in many major museum collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum.

John Varley
This image, part of Epping Forest District Museum’s collection, is one of a number of studies of the church made by the artist, showing the path along the south side of the church.

Waltham Abbey Town Hall

Below is a gallery of images of Waltham Abbey Town Hall.

During the First World War it became a make shift hospital which you can also see in the images below.

Find more images of Waltham Abbey on our local history site efdhistory.org.uk. Find out more about the Waltham Abbey Town Hall Hospital here too: http://www.essexregiment.co.uk/vadhwaltham.html

Queen Elizabeth II and the Epping Forest District

On 9 September 2015 Queen Elizabeth II claims the title as Britain’s longest reigning monarch, having reigned since the age of 25.

She acceded the throne in 1952 following the death of her father and has reigned during a time of great change in technology and the transformation this has had on the world.

Queen Victoria previously held the title of longest reigning monarch.

The Epping Forest District has a number of connections with Queen Elizabeth II, including a visit she made as a Princess prior to acceding the throne.

She made a visit to Grange Farm in Chigwell in 1951 and was the first person to sign the visitor book there. The Museum is lucky to have this in the collection and below you will see her signature.

The Museum also has a collection of images showing street parties and events for Queen Elizabeth II coronation.

Here is a small gallery of images:

 

Waltham Abbey’s old schools

Below is a small gallery of images of schools and Sunday schools from our archives.

Find more images of Waltham Abbey at efdhistory.org.uk

 

Waltham Abbey Stonework

As part of the redevelopment project the museum has decided to undertake an assessment of some of the collections. One area of the collection that is being assessed is the stonework from the Augustinian Abbey Church.

The Abbey Church has a long history dating back to the seventh century when a wooden church existed on the current site. At this time Christianity was coming back to England. The church has within its collection a small book clasp which features eagles and a fish in the Salin II style. Both these animals have links to Christianity therefore it is likely this clasp dates to the earliest times in the church’s history.

Book Clasp

This church was then enlarged on the same site in the ninth century and later the Holy Cross was installed at the church.

The next stage in the church’s history comes during the time of Harold. After he was cured of a skin disease by the Holy Cross and as a response to Edward the Confessor building Westminster, a new church was founded on the site in 1060 by Harold.

Following Harold’s death at the Battle of Hastings Henry I builds a church which is similar in structure to today’s church.

The Augustinian Abbey Church was then built by Henry II in 1177 as part of his penance for the murder of Thomas Becket. The museum’s stonework collection comes from this part of the church’s history. Below are some computer generated images of what the Augustinian Abbey Church would have looked like.

The Augustinian Church was later demolished in the reformation during the reign of Henry VIII (1536) and the stonework was used in various parts of the town.

After several excavations the museum now holds a number of pieces of stone from the Augustinian Abbey in the collection which are being assessed as part of the Museum’s redevelopment project. Here are some images of the stone work within the collection.