|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Collections update - shepherd's hut loan / From time to time we are able to help other organisations by lending items from our collections, but a request from Naomi Day at Bosham Primary School was for a larger opject than usual - a shepherd's hut. It was to be the focus of a themed week based on peter collington's book 'A Small Miracle'. We agreed to lend a shepherd's hut that was robust enough to move and found that it would fit onto our trailer - but only just! The journey to and from Bosham was extremely slow! However, we delivered the hut safely to a small area of lawn in front of the school.|
It was a magical opportunity for the children to sketch, investigate, discover and take part in role play throughout the week. The children's faces as they knocked on the door to have it answered by the lady from the story were delightful. They were able to spend a few moments experiencing the hardship she faced whilst having an insight into the simple things she valued in life. The week culminated with a cel \\
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Coppicing / Coppicing is a traditional method of managaing woodland where young tree stems are cut at their base to form a stool; new shoots then emerge which can be harvested after a period of years. The Museum has coppiced sections of woodland since the 1970s, the larger-sized end product being use for fencing and charcoal and the smaller material being used for spar making or fires.|
Many species of tree can be coppiced, but the most common are sweet chestnut, hazel, ash, birch and willow. Our coppice is mostly hazel, ash and sycamore and is divided into seven areas or cants. One cant is cut each winter, thus providing harvested material seven years old.
Some pollards of hornbeam are in the coppice area. In pollarding, branches are removed a few meters above ground and the resulting regrowth is safe from rabbits and deer.
Great emphasis is placed on working the coppice with appropriate hand tools such as axes and billhooks, and making use of every last piece of material. The brushwood is gather \\
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||The Access Project / The Museum is approaching an important anniversary - its 40th. The gates opened on 5th September 1970 and since then we have welcomed more than five million visitors. However, we now urgently need to improve our visitor facilities including car parks, ticketing facilities for special events and providing more indoor space for the caf|
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Museum's schools services in great demand / Workshops run by the Museum's Schools Service are in great demand by teachers, who say that, together with their own input to a visit, they can achieve up to a term's classroom work across the curriculum from one visit. Last year the Museum delivered more than 1,400 separate workshops with an average of 10 children on each, and a total of approximately 24,000 children visiting in school groups during the year.|
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Museum Friends' vital contribution / The Friends of the Museum make a significant financial contribution to the Museum's day-to-day operation and a variety of projects and activities. Last year's grant was |
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Conservation Courses for the Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership scheme / The Museum is taking part in the Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership scheme, providing courses in conserving and renovating the distinctive tile-hung, weather-boarded and half-timbered houses of the area, as well as teaching the conservation of historic ironwork. The scheme aims to resurrect the once well-known Weald Forest Ridge name and celebrate the area's local distinctiveness. The partnership aims to enable people to access more easily and enjoy the area, learn about its heritage and take part in caring for its distinctive natural and built features.|
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Timber Framing from Scratch |
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Interpreting the Museum's farming exhibit / Five years ago the Museum created six field strips as the start of a process of bringing land adjacent to the Museum site into use as an exploration of historic farming, and now we have four additional small fields. The strips ar ein two groups of three, one group being cultivated under a rotation including a fallow, and the other including a clover or root break crop, while the four new fields are being brought into a 19th century four-course rotation.|
One of the aims of the farming exhibit is to encourage the use of horses for farm work. The interpretation of a live farming exhibit is difficult, because by its nature it changes all the time. We have used static signage to help visitors undertand what they are seeing, but are now planning a different approach, a new horse-drawn rides vehicle will be used to transport people around the fields, with a trained volunteer guide explaining what they can see.
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Collections - 'Joseph Norkett' roof tile / Several e-mails have been received from readers who saw the item in Autumn 2008 Magazine about Joseph Norkett, whose death in 1841 was commemorated on the reverse of a tile in our collections. Joseph was born about 1775, married Fanny voller in 1827 at Pagham, and died of congestion of the lungs, aged 66, in Westhampnett. The informant on the death certificate was Thomas Norkett, probably his brother, who was born in Westhamnett in 1794 and was a Chichester-based brick maker. There were two brickfields close to Westhampnett where Joseph could have worked.|
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Collections - Tea dispenser? / The item, donated to the museum by Alan Menzies, is thought to be a dispenser for tea or tobacco - but could be something completely different! It was certainly used to measure out something in a shop and the manufacturer's plan shows that it was made by W M Still & sons, a company involved with both tobacco and foodstuffs.|
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Collections - Marshall's living van / The living van, reported in Autumn 2008 Magazine, the gift of Peter Tomkins and Ray Turbefield of Chalcroft Nurseries requires some significant work to return it to suitable condition for display, including a new set of wheels. All this work can be done at the Museum using our in-house skills.|
The South downs Society (formerly the Society of Sussex Downsmen) has generously agreed to grant aid its repair and conservation. The living van will be displayed in the newly-rebuilt Ockley haybarn where it will complement our Marchall's threshing machine conserved in 2007.
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Collections - Sussex wagon wheels / We reported in the Spring 2006 Magazine that Tony White of Yapton had given us a fine example of a Sussex wagon. Museum volunteer Adrian Locke carried out repainting and minor repairs to the upper bodywork, but the wheels were in a poor state, often the case with such wagons, and at various times theyhad been repaired with varying degrees of skill and success.|
We identified it as a vehicle which could be used on site by the Museum's team of heavy horses and we are grateful to the Friends of the Museum for funding the construction of new wheels. Using the old wheels as templates and reusing the tyres and metal fittings, wheelwright Douglas Andrews produced a superb set of wheels which we collected in December 2008. They are now being painted in the same colours as the original set to matcht he wagon and prolong their working life.
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Rediscovered herbal secrets from the past / My interest in herbs began with research into daily life in the 17th century for historical novel I planned to write. The research revealed such an importance for herbs that it became a fa scination and my passion for herbs began. I was soon growing them and experimenting with a wide variety of historical recipes.|
I soon began writing on herbs, lecturing and taking workshops and now teach at a number of museums and historical sites. The workshops have led to enjoyable challenges, for instance on the 15th century cookery days we have begun with recipes giving ingredients, but now amounts. With a little guidance on the use of strong seasonings, some delicious dishes have resulted. As a medical herbalist I find historical medical recipes both fascinating and informative. My mission is to rescue recipes that may have been abandoned without good reason and I have found some which are proving effective today.
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Collections update - Wheat samples / Tony White of Yapton was a long-standing friend of the Museum. Since his death in 2007 his widow, June, has continued to donate items from his collection. One of these is a beautifully-framed display of 19th-century wheat saples grown in the Brighton area. There are four different varieties: Original Red, Victoria Wheat, Hunters Wheat and Golden Drop Red Wheat, with a sample for each year from about 1860 to the 1890s. It is an extremely valuable record of cereal growing in our area.|
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||"And That Will Never Be |
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Learning to love weeds / My first day was memorable - torrential rain all day. So much for Bob Holman showing me round all six period gardens. Initially I came as an "interim gardner" through an agency, while a decision was made about Bob Holman's replacement when he retired after 20 years as Museum Gardner. After four months I realised how much I enjoyed the role of Museum Gardner, so when I was lucky enough to be offered a permanent position I jumped at the opportunity and haven't looked back since.|
I soon learnt that 'historical gardening' was quite different to 'modern gardening'. I have spent most of my gardening career digging up 'weeds', only to discover that I now had to specifically grow 'edible weeds', such as fat hen, chickweed, dandelion and sowthistle, between the sown crops.
As part of my training I have attended several courses and Christina Stapley, medical herbalist, has been a great help. As well as herbs being used medicinally and for culinary purposes, I found that fruiting herbs \\
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Apples old and new / Twenty years ago the Museum planted an orchard by Bayleaf farmstead using old varieties of apples, but the names of the varieties have since been lost. Last autumn we sent 16 appleas to RHS at wisley and were thrilled that Jim Arbury, from their Fruit Department, managed to identify most of them. Among the varieties is Court Pendu Plat, which Him says is "of uncertain origin, but one of the oldest apples in existence. This apple was quoted as 'an old variety' even in the 16th century." This information will be shared with visitors through identification signs.|
|2009/3||Magazine / Spring 2009||Museum's unique resources attract corporate events / The Museum provides a unique and interesting venue for a wide range of events, conferences and meetings, making use of its indoor and outdoor resources. One of our major banks in London sent 200 staff last year to sample countryside activities and 200 Guiders held a party in the Jerwood Gridshell space. The Museum has been used by a number of organisations for conferences and AGMs to which delegates came from all over the world. Professionals and volunteers from other museums came for focused visits and we hosted visitors from many countries. One family came for a huge family picnic. An auction of promises was held in October for Breast Cancer Care and more than |
|2010/10||Magazine / Autumn 2010||Up Weald and Down Land / Between 29th July and 12th August over 3,000 people came to the museum to see an outdoor play. The play was "The Firework Maker's Daughter" by Philip Pullman.|