Museum Gets Grant To Explore Past Present & Future Of Fox Hunting

By David Prudames | 18 May 2005
Shows a black and white photograph of a hunt gathering in the Sussex village of Findon in 1913.

A hunt gathering outside the Gun Inn at Findon Village in Sussex in 1913.Courtesy Valerie Martin - Findon Village.

Melton Carnegie Museum in Leicestershire has been awarded a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to record the impact of the ban on fox hunting.

In partnership with the Museum of Hunting Trust - based at Melton Carnegie - Fox Hunting Past, Present and Future will be led by Leicestershire County Council’s Heritage Service and has been made possible by a £50,000 award from the HLF.

"This is a unique and interesting project," said HLF regional manager, Sheila Stone. "As a key hunting area, Leicestershire's heritage service is well placed to study the impact of the hunting ban and their pledge to research and impartially record the immediate effects should be applauded."

"This is history in the making and it will form an important resource for generations to come."

Shows a black and white photograph of a hunt gathering in the Sussex village of Findon in 1913.

Courtesy Valerie Martin - Findon Village.

Hunting with dogs became illegal in February 2005; on the one hand officially bringing an end to an age-old method of disposing of a dangerous farm pest, on the other finally stopping a barbaric blood sport.

The legislation had supporters and detractors in equal measure and passing it through the House of Commons and House of Lords was a hard fought battle on both sides of the debate.

Whatever your view, the history of fox hunting and opposition to it is long, colourful and in many cases intrinsically linked to the rural life and economy of certain areas of the country.

One such area is the East Midlands, where fox hunting has gone on in pockets for centuries. Fox Hunting Past, Present and Future will record the impact of the Hunting Act on local and national life from all points of view, as well as facilitating a study into museum collections relating to fox hunting in general.

Shows a detail of a black and white photograph depicting an old man with a beard and top hat stood next to hunt horse.

Courtesy Valerie Martin - Findon Village.

The information generated will be used to create a virtual exhibition, including photographs, artefacts and peoples’ memories.

Museum staff intend to engage young people from across the region in the project by encouraging them to get involved in the recording process. By allowing them to interview people with a wide range of views on the controversial pastime, it is hoped they can develop an understanding of the cultural tradition.

The project will also see the creation of educational resources for use in Key Stage 3 and 4 politics modules in the National Curriculum.

"Leicestershire County Museums service has uniquely endeavoured to systematically and impartially collect the history of fox hunting and opposition to it over a long period of time," explained Ernie White, cabinet member for Community Services.

"Melton Mowbray was for centuries a focal point for fox hunting and the Melton Carnegie Museum is well placed to explore the sensitive issues around this particular aspect of our rural history and to become a centre of educational excellence."

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