News In Brief - Week Ending August 20 2006

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 14 August 2006
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Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending August 20 2006.

photo of a stately home in a landscape

18.08.2006 - Earl Grey's Writing Table Goes On Display At Temple Newsam, Leeds

A historic writing table used by former prime minister Earl Grey has become the newest attraction on show at Temple Newsam House, Leeds.

It is likely that he drafted his most famous piece of legislation - the Great Reform Bill of 1832, which set the blueprint for the modern democratic system in Britain - on the table. Perhaps he was drinking the distinctive blend of China tea which now bears his name, while he wrote?

The decorative rosewood table is believed to have been made by Royal furniture-makers Morel and Hughes in 1825. It was acquired from the descendants of Earl Grey with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund, the Leeds Art Collections Fund and the V&A/MGC Purchase Grant Fund.

“Everyone at Temple Newsam House is absolutely delighted that we have managed to acquire this amazing piece,” said Councillor John Proctor, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Leisure. “This writing table may well have played a part in the most influential piece of legislation in our history, so to have something of that significance on show for the people of Leeds to see is fantastic.”

18.08.2006 - Planet Rover On Mission To Science Museum Before Going To Mars

Visitors to the Science Museum, London, will be able to meet Bridget, a UK-designed robotic vehicle heading for the Red Planet in five years time to look for life on Mars, on August 22 and 23.

The six-wheeled vehicle is due to fly on Europe's next venture to Mars in 2011, but Science Museum visitors can meet this prototype when she shows off her moves in a mocked-up Martian terrain at the museum. The engineers who designed and currently maintain her will be on hand to answer questions.

Bridget is about the size of a go-kart and will act like a laboratory on wheels. She will also be able to drill two metres deep into the Martian surface - a first for any mission to Mars.

Visitors can see the rover from 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm at the Looking for Life on Mars drop-in event.

18.08.2006 – Funding Sought To Renovate Lewes Priory Ruins

The Lewes Priory Trust is looking for £400,000 to make the ruins of the 13th century priory in Sussex more attractive and accessible to visitors.

Plans include establishing pathways, seats and interpretation boards.

“Lewes Priory is one of the most important ecclesiastical sites in southern England and is studied and appreciated by amateur and professional historians and archaeologists, by enthusiasts and scholars,” said John Lawrence of the Priory Trust.

The huge Priory of St Pancras was founded by William De Warenne and destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in 1538, though ruins remain. During the building of the Lewes/Brighton railway in 1845, the tombs of De Warenne and his wife were found. They are now in the nearby Church of St John the Baptist.

black and white photo of two large houses

17.08.2006 – Early Georgian Des Res To Be Restored With English Heritage Grant

The future of a Grade II*- listed Haringey building – one of the longest-running cases on the Buildings at Risk register – has been secured by an English Heritage repair grant of £325,000.

One of a symmetrical pair of red brick houses built around 1715, 810 Tottenham High Road would once have been the residence of a rich businessman enjoying the fashionable village of Tottenham on the outskirts of the capital. From this heyday as a sought-after country retreat, the house has become a derelict eyesore with a history of 20 years’ failed attempts to save it.

The grant will enable Haringey Buildings Preservation Trust to finally start repair works and bring the house up to the standard of its neighbour, 808. English Heritage has already poured £3.5million into other parts of the road to regenerate its many historic buildings – the most it has spent on any one area of the country.

“Today I am delighted that the first major step has been taken to return Number 810 from a sad, neglected shell into a living building once again,” said Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage.

“Number 810, like its pair, 808, is a rare, beautiful and important piece of London’s heritage. The house tells the story of Tottenham’s past – a country village where well-off merchants made their homes in the 18th century; a rapidly growing urban community gripped by industrialisation in the 19th century; followed by post-war economic depression and decline in the 20th.”

17.08.2006 – Engineering Archives From 1847 Go Online

One of the UK’s oldest engineering publishing arms dating back to 1847 has taken over a century of historical documents onto the internet for the first time.

The move, by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) publishing arm, Professional Engineering Publishing (PEP), means that academics, students, engineers, scientists, historians, biographers, can access major documents at the touch of a button by going to

PEP, based at the IMechE’s headquarters in Westminster, London, has placed 250,000 records online, with subjects ranging from medicine, transport and aerospace to manufacturing.

Jane Insley, Senior Curator of Engineering at the Science Museum, London, which is using the system, said: “The archive covers the extraordinary period of the 19th century when engineering really came into its own and the Science Museum is delighted to be able to use it.”

photo of a kimono

16.08.2006 – Japanese Whisky Wife Recalled In Kirkintilloch Exhibition

A kimono belonging to the wife of the man who founded the Japanese whisky industry is on show in at Auld Kirk Museum in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, until August 26 2006.

Rita Cowan met Japanese student Masataka Taketsuru when he came to teach her brother jujitsu. The Kirkintilloch girl fell in love with him and they married in 1920, against the wishes of their families.

She returned to Japan with him when he had finished his science studies at Glasgow University, never to return to her native land. Masataka had also gone to Scotland to learn how to make whisky, and set up his own distillery, Dai Nippon Kaju KK, in Japan with the knowledge he had gained at the Hazelburn distillery, Campeltown.

16.08.2006 – Developer May Save Historic Sunderland Ship

A historic Sunderland-built clipper earmarked for breaking up by museum trustees in Scotland has won a last minute reprieve.

A private developer wants to buy the City of Adelaide (also known as HMS Carrick) from the Scottish Maritime Museum for £1, after which he will restore her and turn her into a visitor attraction in Falmouth, Cornwall.

A spokesperson from Sunderland Maritime Heritage said the news was “disappointing” as “her final home will not be on the river where she was born”. The ship was launched in 1864 on the Wear, and carried passengers and cargo between the UK and Australia. In 1923, after several changes of use, she was sold to the Admiralty and converted into HMS Carrick at Greenock.

The proposed plan may yet fail as the Adelaide is listed as a Grade A building in Scotland.

photo of the royal pavilion in brighton which is a large white building with lots of domes and minarets

15.08.2006 - Brighton Pavilion Secures Funding To Restore Prince Of Wales' Bedroom

Brighton's Royal Pavilion has successfully bid for a grant of £40,000 from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation. The money will be used to create a new space for temporary exhibitions in the presently closed former bedroom of George, the Prince of Wales.

The bedroom has been out of use for many years and will be fully renovated and refurbished to create the space, which will be the first permanent area dedicated to temporary displays at the Pavilion. Changing exhibitions will explore the rich history of the building, its treasures, archives and conservation.

15.08.2006 - Young People Make Ghost Film To Show At Bolsover Castle

Teenagers from Bolsover in Derbyshire have created a short film of the ghost stories associated with Bolsover Castle which visitors will be able to watch.

The film, called The Tour, was made by the group of six 11-15 year olds from the Talking Hedz youth group. They spent their half term at the castle researching, writing and filming the 15-minute account of the strange activities there.

It will be shown in the discovery centre of the castle and there is also an added feature where visitors can get to see the making of the movie.

aerial photo of a complex of warehouse buildings

15.08.2006 - £2m Grant Saves Historic Dockyard Chatham's Smithery Building

No.1 Smithery, built in 1808 and the last building at Historic Dockyard Chatham on the English Heritage 'at risk' register, has been saved by a £2m grant.

This funding, from the Department for Communities and Local Government, Medway Renaissance and English Heritage will allow emergency stabilisation work to commence. The Smithery fell out of use in 1974 and needs essential repairs to secure the structure and weatherproof it.

It is hoped that the building will eventually house the planned National Museums at Chatham, which is currently looking for funding options. The space would contain purpose-designed education facilities, a gallery for temporary exhibitions and a permanent gallery drawing on world renowned maritime collections, plus specialised storage and research facilities.

photo of the tate britain gallery

14.08.2006 - Teenagers Take Over Tate To Make Music

Tate Britain will become Loud Tate for an event on September 23 2006 as teenagers are invited to create music in the galleries as part of the venue's BP Saturdays series. A recording studio will be installed for visitors to make their own recordings while MCs will perform their responses to the art on show.

All the live performances, MCs, spoken work, art and film on show will explore the theme of conflict and resolution. Loud Tate is a free event for 13-19 year olds and aims to encourage young people to express themselves through art and music and to make their voices heard.

Visitors will be able to send postcards to politicians and find original ways to express the issues they consider vital to their generation.

14.08.2006 - MLA Unveils Plans To Save Libraries Up To £20m A Year

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has announced a plan to save libraries up to £20m a year, creating major opportunities for investment in improving library services.

The Better Stock, Better Libraries report outlines a national library purchasing model and the new buying arrangements would mean better availability and more efficient management of stock, more flexibility to meet local needs and reduced unit costs of stock.

New innovations include reducing duplication of book ordering, invoicing and other back room functions, simplifying and standardising library book processing requirements, greater use of e-commerce and automation and encouraging a more competitive market for library book supply.

Culture Minister David Lammy said: "MLA and the DCMS are giving libraries the tools to work together to save money when they buy books, money that can be reinvested in longer opening hours, in better computer and internet access and of course in more books."

14.08.2006 - Art Worth Eating in Felixstowe!

An edible sculpture made from 30,000 sticks of rock will be created for Felixstowe's annual Art On The Prom event on September 3 2006. Artist Bryony Graham will create the unique artwork using rock made by Great Yarmouth firm Docwras, all with 'Art On The Prom' baked into the centre.

"I'll be creating the sculpture overnight on September 2," said Bryony. "The sticks will be handed out throughout the day. The photograph will include a mini-questionnaire, which can be sent back to us - we're hoping to make it as interactive as possible."

Along with the rock sculpture, Art On The Prom will see more than 50 artists displaying their artwork on the beachfront walk. The event attracted some 15,000 visitors to the Suffolk town last year.

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