Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery would like to share the top 10 objects currently on display.
Museum volunteer Pete first took a camera around the museum and snapped objects
that stood out as interesting and inspiring items to him. The museum team then managed to whittle these down to just ten objects. Museum volunteer Steph then wrote her personal responses to these objects, the responses are listed below.
Objects can act as powerful inspiration for triggering memories and stories. We hope the
Objects below inspire you in some way, if they do, please share these with us.
Larry Grayson Caricature
If you’ve never heard of him you may have seen the name on the side of a Stagecoach
Bus in Nuneaton. A local lad who started performing in working men’s clubs and went on to become famous as a comedian and gameshow presenter on TV during my childhood. At a time when being gay was spoken of by innuendo, I missed the clever wordplay of this fascinating character; who bizarrely even had a lifeboat shed named after him. [*Curators Note * we believe Larry was actively involved in fundraising money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution].
Princess Mary Gift Box
Imagine if you can a dreadful time in the Trenches during Christmas 1916. Not knowing, as we do, that the cold and desolate muddy landscape of warfare would end. Being one of nearly half-a–million who received a small shiny present. I wonder who opened this one and what 1917 and their future was.
Polly Button’s Stone
This is what gets the imagination going. This roughly carved stone showing a man and woman apparently drinking must hold many untold stories, from what must be a very long past. We do know that it is linked to a public house and the site of a murdered woman’s home.
The tale of the gruesome murder of this heavily pregnant woman at a barn in the area now of Aston Road, has come down the generations from 1832. Rather disturbingly it is even remembered in a children’s skipping rhyme. I wonder how it would feature these days on Crimewatch or a crime drama on TV.
George Eliot’s Supper Dishes
I can imagine myself being invited to Supper at Mary Ann’s grand table. What interesting
conversations would I be part of as we pass these dishes and serve ourselves from the
Tureen. I hope she learnt to cook well while growing up at Griff.
A girl who walked the same lanes as me down by Griff Farm grew up to be so well educated and travelled, yet spoke to me of the same countryside in her poems and stories.
Before the Deluge
So much older than I thought. Not so long after Elizabeth I died, this Flemish artist working for among others, an Emperor and King in Europe, created this huge oil painting. He used themes around religion and nature popular at the time It so reminds me of a wall tapestry. And I remember being amazed by all the animals as I walked up the stairs at the museum when I was a child in the 1960s .
Officers World War I Boots
These are for real, not a costume from the final episode of ‘Blackadder’ or ‘Parade’s End’ on our TV. Who was the ‘Baldrick’ who cleaned off the trench mud and kept them polished? My parents knew some of those who survived. Who could fill these boots?
Sterling Metals Plaque
Known as ‘Sterling’ and out of town in Gypsy Lane, this skilled foundry was nationally famous and employed my cousin and so many of my school friends and their families – an alternative to the pit or Coventry factories. I mostly remember having Manor Park Grammar School Speech Days in the large Hall here; where I sat through long moralising lectures and reports of “House” sporting successes by the black-gowned and mortared staff.
Model of Tuttle Hill Windmill
What a landmark this would have been on the skyline, raised on the top of a now lost hilly ridge at the top of Tuttle Hill and the corner of Camp Hill Road. I can remember the Mill Tower from the 1960s and 70s It lost its spectacular sails back when my Dad used to get animal feed milled here in the early 1930s What a clever man took the time to make this big scale model.
Statue of Euterpe – Goddess of music and lyric poetry
This 2m plus tall statue would have been part of the ornate decoration on the outside of the Hippodrome, a Theatre and later Cinema; near where the Fish and Chip Shop is now in Bond Gate opposite the Chinese Restaurant.
During the War in 1940, my Dad remembers soldiers stationed at Arbury bringing him to see the ‘movies’. I remember it derelict and on fire before this was rescued during demolition.
Not everyone could afford this household helper even in the 1950s- not everyone in Nuneaton had much carpet, we still had a lot of lino. But this machine’s owner as a teacher could afford to pay £28. I wonder how long she saved up, or perhaps paid on what was called HP ( Hire Purchase instalments). She still had the messy job of emptying the cloth dust bag.
I remember my Gran’s one scattering clouds of dust when she did.