#VolunteersWeek – Backlogs and Ephemera

In our last volunteer blog update, we explained how our volunteers had been assisting staff in repacking and relocating objects at our off site collections store. Since January, we have recruited five new volunteers, from all different walks of life – some are students, some are recently retired and some are wishing for a change of career – but they all have an incredible amount of enthusiasm and diligence in common. In this blog we’ll give you a catch up of what our volunteers have been doing with us, and why they get involved in the first place!

In mid January all new and existing volunteers took part in documentation training workshop with Katie, the Volunteer Coordinator and Jill, the Collections Officer. Through this they learnt the essentials of museum documentation, and the journey our museum objects go through in their time with us.

With their new found documentation training skills, our volunteers have been assisting Katie, the volunteer coordinator, in going through our ‘recent acquisitions backlog’. This is essentially the same as a build up of paperwork, or bits you haven’t had a chance to look at, in your home, or non museum office. Our backlog ranged from a 20 strong collection of spectacles to romantic love letters.

We all swiftly discovered our favourite things to register into our collection; everyone found their own particular interest – even if it was nothing that they’d previously thought of before. Everyone learnt to spell ephemera correctly, and we all got pretty clued up on its definition – ‘Ephemera is any written or printed matter that is meant to be temporary, or throwaway. The word derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day. Some examples of types of ephemera are advertisements, letters, postcards, posters or tickets. It’s a funny thing to collect these, but they provide a wonderful example of normal life throughout the decades.

Favourite Objects

As well as our favourites, objects hauled out of the boxes proved to be really useful and downright strange.

Since January, our volunteers have undertaken an impressive 323 Hours with us and fully registered a whopping 426 objects for the museum.

We are incredibly proud of our volunteer team, and we’re very thankful that they devote their free time with us. We recently nominated our collections volunteer team for 2015 SHARE Volunteer Awards in the Behind the Scenes Award category. The volunteer collections team has been nominated for their contributions and fantastic work during 2014.

Our volunteers have joined us for all sorts of reasons, below is a collection of all the words used when our volunteers were asked ‘why are you interested in volunteering with Epping Forest District Museum?’

Volunteer Word Cloud

Our collections volunteers are getting a bit of a break whilst we prepare our museum collections for relocation back to the new Epping Forest District Museum and their new home in our onsite collections store. But we will be starting new projects in the autumn and finding more new learning experiences!

We will be looking for new volunteers to join us, in both the collections team and other aspects of the museum so keep an eye out for adverts in the next six months.

The Pubs of Epping

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook you may have seen our Pub of the Day campaign. The museum has a fantastic photograph collection showing the pubs of the district so we thought we would share them with you.

Here are some great photographs of all the pubs in Epping.

Artwork of the Month – Lucien Pissarro

Lucien Pissarro The Garden Epping oil on canvas 1893-1897

The Garden in Epping
Oil on Canvas
1893 – 1897

Lucien Pissarro was born in Paris in 1863, the son of Camille Pissarro and Julie Velay. Lucien was a skilled painter, engraver and lithographer. He was taught by his father, Camille, who was a celebrated Impressionist.

As an artist Lucien’s work combined elements of both the French and English traditions and he was a founder member of the Camden group of artists. His paintings record the landscape of Dorset, Westmoreland, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. Lucien’s works are reflected in a number of public collections including the Tate and the Ashmolean.

Lucien visited England in 1870 as a child, worked there briefly in 1883–4, and settled permanently in the country in 1890 (although he often made trips to France), becoming a British citizen in 1916.
Between 1893 and 1897 Lucien and his family lived at 44 Hemnall Street, Epping which he named ‘Ergany House’. This house still stands today and is marked with a blue plaque commemorating Lucien’s occupancy.
During his first stay in Epping between 1893 – 1895 Lucien produced some 23 oil paintings of Epping as well as a number of watercolours. These capture a variety of scenes in the vicinity of Hemnall Street and also studies of local landmarks such as Coopersale Hall.

He continued to paint right up until his death in 1944.

The Stuart Turner Photograph Collection – donation by The Epping Society

Donation to Epping Forest District Museum

On Tuesday 22nd July the Epping Society formally handed over their donation of an extensive collection of original monochrome photographs taken in Epping in the early 1970s by Stuart Turner.

Jill Holmen (Museum's Collections Manager) and Andrew Smith (The Epping Society Chairman)

Jill Holmen (Museum’s Collections Manager) and Andrew Smith (The Epping Society Chairman)

Stuart Browning Turner was born in London in 1904. He attended Ardingly College in West Sussex and started his working life as a filing clerk with an insurance firm in the City of London. In 1929 he joined the British Xylonite Company, the first British firm to successfully manufacture plastic material in commercial quantities. During World War Two the firm worked on Bexois, a material that replaced scarce alloy that was normally used for fittings in wartime planes. By 1950, he was a director of the company. Between the 1960s and the 1980s Stuart compiled an extensive collection of photographic prints and postcards showing harbours, mills, viaducts, quays, an oast house and a tin mine. This material is to be found in the English Heritage Industrial Collections.

Most of his married life was spent living in Beulah Road, Epping. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society in 1977. He was also a founding member of the Epping Society and used his photographic skills to make an extensive record of Epping and the surrounding area.

This fantastic collection of photographs show Epping as it was only 40 years ago showing the changes, losses and preservations of some of the historical buildings within the town. This is a fantastic collection which the Museum is really pleased to have acquired. The photographs will be stored safely during the Museum’s redevelopment project until they can be used on reopening.

33 High Street Epping, Blue Star Garage Petrol and water tower now Gates Ford

33 High Street Epping, Blue Star Garage Petrol and water tower now Gates Ford

Epping Forest District and the Great War

A new temporary community exhibition “Epping Forest District and the Great War”
WW1 Exhibition poster

Epping Forest District Museum was one of the Museums selected to receive funding and be part of the SHARE Museums East Community Cabinet project. The ‘Community Cabinet’ is an invitation to members of the public and community groups to curate a single, dedicated cabinet with objects of their own choice. Objects may come from their own lives and ‘collections’ or from the museum’s vast array of objects.

Epping Forest District Museum’s community cabinet will be displayed in Epping Civic Offices while the Museum is closed for a Heritage Lottery Fund redevelopment. Once the Museum reopens the dedicated community cabinet will feature within the newly redisplayed museum and we will have a series of exhibitions throughout the year.

Our first project was working to help document the links between Epping Forest District and World War One. As part of the project the team have been going out and about into the district, holding Heritage Events in various venues to allow people to share their stories with us. The objects have been recorded and stories documented and these records will become part of the Museum’s collection.

The objects and stories discovered have now come together as the museum’s first community cabinet display. These unique and unheard stories feature in a free temporary exhibition at the Civic Offices in Epping High Street from 4th August to 4th September 2014.

exhibition opening

The exhibition was opened on Monday 4th August by the Chairman of the Council, Tony Boyce, who also met invited guests who had loaned objects to be part of the display.

Here are some photographs of the exhibition.
WW1 ExhibitionWW1 exhibitionWW1 exhibition

If you have a collection or might be interested in putting on a display in our community cabinet then get in touch with the museum:

T. 01992 716882
E. museum@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Tour de France – cycling history in Epping Forest District

There has been a lot of excitement building with the Tour de France coming through the district on 7th July.

As part of the Museum on the Move programme the Museum team will be at Epping Town Show on Sunday 6th July making masks and flags ready for Monday 7th July.

Leading up to the day the Museum has been sharing historic cycling images from the district on the Museum’s twitter page @EFDMuseum. We will be sharing many more things from the Museum’s photographic archives throughout the Museum’s redevelopment so why not follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to see them!

The District has a long cycling history; from Ongar Cycling Club and the Cottis family of Epping to the increased interest in cycling as a pastime within the forest. So here are some of the best historic cycling images from the Museum’s collection.

W. Cottis and Sons

W. Cottis and Sons

W. Cottis and Sons was the main employer in Epping. Their iron foundry, based just behind the High Street, produced a range of agricultural and domestic wares that were famous around the world for their high quality. Cottis was also very good at moving into new markets, making bicycles to capitalise on the increased popularity of this leisure activity in the forest, then opening a garage to make the most of the rise of this form of transport. In the image above you can see the bicycles on display at their shop as well as Crispus Cottis, part of the family, at a fancy dress cycle race and one of his medals dating from 1892.

Ongar Cycling Club

Ongar Cycling Club

This image shows The Ongar Cycling Club standing outside Ongar station with their bicycles, mostly penny farthings. It’s possible they used the train to travel further with their bicycles as it can’t have been easy to peddle far on one of these!

Here are a few more great cycling images for you:

Robin Hood pub on Epping New Road c.1890

Robin Hood pub on Epping New Road c.1890

Wedding at St John's Church in Epping c.1890-1900

Wedding at St John’s Church in Epping c.1890-1900

Billy Prentice, nicknamed the 'midnightbaker' as he delivered bread at all hours in Epping

Billy Prentice, nicknamed the ‘midnightbaker’ as he delivered bread at all hours in Epping