News In Brief - Week Ending November 26 2006

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 20 November 2006
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  • Archived article

Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending November 26 2006.

a photograph of a white horse carved into a green hillside

24.11.2006 - Westbury White Horse gets a fresh white coat

The Westbury White horse has swapped its tired grey coat for a fresh white one following a specialist cleaning and repainting programme overseen and funded by English Heritage, in partnership with Westbury Town Council.

The White Horse was carved into the chalk hillside at Bratton Camp in 1778, but replaced an earlier horse possibly created to commemorate King Alfred's nearby victory over the Vikings at the Battle of Ethendun (also known as the Battle of Edington) in 878. The horse was resurfaced with concrete in 1993.

"This is an important local landmark and we are pleased that we have finally returned it to the bright white colour it is famous for," said Beth Cavanagh, Head of Visitor Operations for the site.

"Before work started, we carried out extensive tests on the cleaning and painting products, to ensure we had a long-lasting product which would not impact on the land around the horse. Now the work is finished, the horse once again stands prominently on the hillside."

24.11.2006 - Folk legend donates his hand-woven suit to Aberdeen Art Gallery

Scottish folk legend Norman Kennedy has donated a hand-woven suit that represents the tradition of weaving in North East Scotland to Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Norman is an expert spinner and weaver who now lives in the US where he has built up a reputation as a folk singer, educator and weaver. The suit, which is made of thick green tweed and was made by Norman using the techniques learned from his family of weavers, is not yet on display at the Museum but is in the City of Aberdeen Costume Collection.

There is a long tradition of singer weavers in North-West Scotland, where entire families would sing folk songs to help them through the long hours of 'waulking the cloth.'

Norman will be performing at a special 'Waulking of the Cloth' event on November 25 at Lochester, Oldmeldrum. For further details and tickets phone Alison Bell on 01330 850740 or the Book Store, Inverurie on 01467 625800.

photo of an ornate Victorian public building

23.11.2006 – English Heritage grant £35,000 to Whitechapel Library repairs

English Heritage has announced a grant of £35,000 for Whitechapel Library in London, a building once known as the ‘University of the Ghetto’ due to being the intellectual centre of the East End’s Jewish community.

The money will pay for repairs to the ornate red brick and terracotta façade of the 1892 Grade II-listed building, designed by J Passmore Edwards. A £10million programme will soon link it to the neighbouring Whitechapel Art Gallery.

“English Heritage is an enthusiastic supporter of this scheme,” said Nick Collins, Team Leader for East London at English Heritage, “and has given the Whitechapel Gallery advice on creating imaginative linkages between the two buildings and on the general approach to the restoration of the library.”

23.11.2006 - Disability survey reveals how museums have come a long way but still have more to do

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) published the findings of their 2005 Disability Survey on November 23. Results reveal evidence of change such as enhanced awareness of the Disability Discrimination Act and service improvement, including the development of access provision for disabled people in museums, libraries and archives.

The purpose of the survey was to determine the extent to which disability access has become integral to the workings of museums, libraries and archives and the measures that have been taken to removing common access barriers and providing accessible services.

It found that 83% provide at least general disability awareness training for staff and about half extend training to all staff but at the same time less than half of respondents (43%) have an access plan for disabled people.

“Raising awareness of accessibility issues for people with disabilities in museums, libraries and archives is at the top of MLA’s policy agenda and this survey shows both the good progress that has been made and the need for continuing improvement," said Chris Batt, MLA Chief Executive.

"Equality of access for all people with disabilities must be the goal. Museums, libraries and archives, therefore, have a duty to embed within their work a planned, systematic and long-term approach to accessibility.”

The results of the survey can be found at:

23.11.2006 – Orleans House Gallery seeks help for 2007 slavery exhibition

Orleans House Gallery, Richmond, is appealing for local residents to contribute ideas, share their family histories and reveal what they know about the borough’s connections with slavery for a major exhibition in 2007.

The summer exhibition will mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, and a research project has just been launched to look for undiscovered links between the area’s landmarks, personalities and the slave trade.

Anyone with any ideas or information that could be helpful can contact Miranda Stearn on 020 8831 6485 or email

painting of a seascape with an iceberg like object jutting upwards

22.11.2006 – Kettle’s Yard Open exhibition in Cambridge from November 25

The Kettle’s Yard Open exhibition is back this year with 19 exciting artists, both emerging and established, from the East of England.

Selected by artist David Ward and artist-filmmaker Jayne Parker, the work in the exhibition ranges from painting and photography to film, sound and installation.

Highlights of the exhibition, running from November 25 to January 7, include a project involving school pupils and staff reciting the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner (TNWK); abstract seascapes inspired by bath foam (Amanda Ansell); a horticultural wall drawing (Jo Chapman); and a film taking trees and electricity cables as the musical score (Anton Lukoszevieze).

Many of the works on show will be for sale.

22.11.2006 - Royal Armouries Leeds to answer questions about refugees in our community

The Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, will host a talk on the controversial and confusing subject of refugees on November 25 2006.

Refugees In Our Community, presented by members of the Refugee Council Talks Team, will give a one-hour overview of the issues. The aim is to address questions such as is there a difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee, and what makes people flee their home. Speakers will also tell their own stories of persecution, flight, and life within the Leeds community.

The talk will take place at 1.30pm in the War Cinema.

a photograph of the side of a silver cup with two men engraved on it

21.11.2006 - X-rated Roman cup leaves British Museum for Yorkshire exhibition

One of the most famous and controversial pieces of Roman art in the country is travelling from its home at the British Museum for an exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum this December.

The Warren Cup, a first century AD silver vessel, will form the centrepiece of a new display The Classical Ideal, which will explore the debate around Greek and Roman attitudes to the development of the ideal male which often involved sex between men.

The cup, which depicts two male couples in sexual acts, was acquired in 1911 by Ned Warren, a wealthy American art collector after whom the cup is named. Warren kept it at his home, Lewes House in East Sussex, where he established a Hellenic style brotherhood.

It was eventually bought by the British Museum in 1999 and will be on display at the Yorkshire Museum from December 1 until January 27 2006.

21.11.2006 - Lutyen's model of 'Cathedral that never was' restored for display in Liverpool

A massive model of architect Sir Edwin Lutyens’ proposed Liverpool Roman Catholic Cathedral has been restored for display following a 13-year conservation project.

Conservators at the National Conservation Centre in Liverpool worked between 1992 and 2005 restoring the wood, plaster and metal model, which is one of the largest of its kind ever constructed.

The planned cathedral, which was never completed due to lack of funds, would have been crowned with an enormous 510ft high dome – 60ft higher than St Peter’s in Rome and more than twice the height of St Paul’s in London (250ft). Instead, the present modernist concrete Cathedral of Christ the King was opened on the Brownlow Hill site in 1967.

A Walker Art Gallery exhibition called The Cathedral That Never Was: Lutyens’ Design For Liverpool features the huge model – one of the world’s great model buildings – plus related exhibits. It runs from January 27 to April 22 2007 and will be the first opportunity to view it fully restored with Lutyens’ breathtaking interior.

a period portrait photograph of a man in unifrom

21.11.2006 - Plaques commemorate Welsh wartime heroes

Blue Plaques have been unveiled commemorating the lives of two Welsh wartime heroes.

133 High Street, Gilfach Goch near Pontypridd has been adorned with a plaque to honour its greatest inhabitant, Victoria Cross holder George Prowse. Born at the modest house in 1886, Prowse volunteered for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1915 and won his VC during a raid on a German strongpoint and machine gun bunker in September 1918.

He was later killed leading an another assault on an enemy stronghold.

A plaque in memory of another Welsh wartime hero, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, has also been unveiled in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral in London. Ramsay oversaw the evacuation of Dunkirk and was instrumental in the planning of the invasions of North Africa and Normandy; in the latter he served as the senior Allied naval commander.

He did not live to see final victory in Europe, however, dying in a plane crash in France in January 1945. Picture above - George Prowse VC, courtesy Navy News

a photograph of a country house with a large tree in the foreground

20.11.2006 - Plas Newydd calls for volunteers to help cull the rhododendrons

The National Trust is appealing for volunteers to help staff clear the invasive rhododendron from the woodland surrounding its country house Plas Newydd, near Anglesey.

As millions of rhododendron seeds are spread by the wind each year in the woods of the country estate, the plant emerges into a dense jungle, casting shade over the native plants and causing them to die.

Anyone who can spare three days at the beginning of December to clear and chop the foliage will also be rewarded for their effort with a 'Green Woodwork Course' - a day of learning how to carve small craft items out of wood, such as candlesticks, stools and spoons.

No skills are required. For more information on the woodland management volunteering project at Plas Newydd contact John Whitley on 07748 983016.

20.11.2006 - Town's oldest sock goes on display at Horsham Museum

Horsham Museum will be celebrating the yuletide ritual of hanging up a Christmas stocking by displaying what is believed to be Horsham's oldest stocking.

The 370-year-old sock dates to the 17th century and is made of finely knitted linen. It is now on display in the front hall of the museum together with a 21st century Christmas stocking stuffed full of goodies.

a photograph of an old coin

20.11.2006 - Saxon coin discovered in cable trench

An eighth century Saxon sceatta (coin) has been discovered by an archaeologist working for Wessex Archaeology while he was keeping an eye on the excavation of a new cable trench in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

The 1,200-year-old silver coin was minted in Hamwic (Saxon Southampton) and examples are very rarely found outside of Southampton. It was probably issued by Cynewulf, King of Wessex.

Two stone-lined graves were uncovered in the base of the trench and were deep enough to be safely left undisturbed. Traces of footpaths were also discovered, which were probably used by the Saxon inhabitants of Malmesbury when visiting an abbey that once stood in the centre of the ancient town.

20.11.2006 - Patron Saint of blacksmiths celebrated at The Historic Dockyard Chatham

Malcolm White, Chatham Historic Dockyard's nationally-acclaimed blacksmith, will be celebrating St Clement's Day by hosting a 'Forge-In' to illustrate the many uses of metal on November 25 and 26 2006.

St Clement is the patron saint of blacksmiths and smiths from all over the country will be travelling to the Historic Dockyard for what has become one of the major events in the blacksmithing calendar.

Top blacksmiths and students will be taking part in a series of demonstrations on a particular theme for the forge-in, this year's being 'Transubstantiation', which the Oxford English Dictionary describes as: "the mystical process by which one substance changes into another."

Further details about the 'Forge-in' can be obtained by phoning Malcolm and his wife Anita on 01634 853236 or visitng

photo of a castle on a wooded hill

20.11.2006 - Edinburgh and Stirling Castles scoop education heritage awards

Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle have both been selected as winners in the annual Sandford Awards for Heritage Education by the Heritage Education Trust.

The judges were particulalry impressed by the way education officers at the two castles created tailormade tours to suit what each visiting class was studying. The way staff used the features of the castles, such as the art, architecture and heraldry, to bring the past to life also came in for praise.

The 2006 awards were made at Edinburgh Castle on November 20 2006. Other winners included The Tower of London, Tatton Park, Goodwood Estate and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Gallery in Exeter.

20.11.2006 - Jersey Heritage Trust publishes definitive guide to agricultural implements

The first definitive history of Jersey agricultural implements dating back to Neolithic times is published this week by Jersey Heritage Trust.

The culmination of a lifetime’s work, Sticks And Stones, Antlers And Bones is written by Mervyn Billot, whose first-hand knowledge of farming implements was sparked off when he drove his first tractor on the family farm at the tender age of nine years old.

The fascinating collection of historic and contemporary photos and narrative will also be used as a comprehensive aid to Jersey Heritage Trust's work as interpreters of the island’s agricultural heritage.

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