News In Brief - Week Ending October 8 2006

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 02 October 2006
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Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending October 8 2006.

illustrated advert for the Spennymoor Settlement

06.10.2006 – Spennymoor Settlement 75th Anniversary Exhibition in Bishop Auckland

The town of Spennymoor will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Settlement with an exhibition at Bishop Auckland Town Hall, running from October 9-28 2006.

The Settelement was founded in 1931 by Bill and Betty Farrell with funding from the Pilgrim Trust, to offer educational opportunities to what was then ‘one of the most distressed towns in England’.

Under Bill’s tutelage, Sid Chaplin the novelist learned his trade writing plays for the Everyman Players and pitmen artists Norman Cornish, Robert Heslop and Tom McGuinness were products of the Sketching Club – known as the Pitman’s Academy.

06.10.2006 - Historic Wembley Empire Exhibition Mosaic Given to Brent Museum

A restored mosaic taken from The Palace of Arts’ Basilica in Wembley has been given to Brent Council for permanent display at the new Brent Museum.

The new exhibit is one of three round motifs that the development company Quintain Estates has preserved from the floor of the building prior to its demolition. The remaining two mosaics are expected to be displayed in the newly refurbished Wembley Arena.

The mosaics originally formed part of a decorative floor in The Palace of Arts’ Basilica which was one of a number of buildings constructed for The British Empire Exhibition in 1924-1925.

“Wembley has a rich and exciting history and The British Empire Exhibition and its iconic buildings are an important part of the borough’s heritage," said Councillor Paul Lorber, Leader of Brent Council. "It is fitting that Quintain Estates has rescued, restored and donated a piece of history in the shape of this mosaic from one of those buildings to Brent’s new museum."

06.10.2006 – 200-Year-Old Pottery to be Unearthed in West Cumbria

The meaning behind a place called Pottery Park in the West Cumbrian village of Dearham will be uncovered thanks to a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery and Cumbria Community Trust.

Archaeologists surveying the fields now known as Pottery Park as part of an evaluation before development found that the 18th century Newlands Bank Pottery is buried there. Further appraisals are now going on to decide whether English Heritage should schedule this rare find as a monument.

a photograph of a woman holding a set of dentures

05.10.2006 - Museum of London puts on hard-bitten Display for World Smile Day

As grins are prepared for World Smile Day on Friday 6 October, an extraordinary set of 18th Century dentures is going on public display for the first time at Museum of London.

The 200-year old set of false teeth belonged to Arthur Richard Dillon (1721-1806), Archbishop of Narbonne in France. Archaeologists discovered them, still snugly fitting in his mouth, when they opened his coffin in London’s St Pancras graveyard during excavations in advance of construction work at the Channel Tunnel Rail Link’s new London terminus.

Museum of London archaeologist Natasha Powers, who has written a paper on the teeth for the latest edition of the British Dental Journal said: “These unique artefacts reflect a pivotal time in dental history, with the adoption of new materials and methods of manufacture. They also represent a period of significant social and economic change for the upper echelons of French society.”

05.10.2006 - Natural History Museum Ice Rink returns for the Winter

The Natural History Museum has announced that it will once again be hosting its popular winter ice rink.

The 1,000 sqaure metre rink attracted more than 120,000 skaters last year and this year the attraction will once again comprise a winter fair, cafe bar and a junior rink. There will also be a British Airways travel spa offering a range of 'complimentary treatments'.

The rink will be open for business from November 9 2006 until January 21 2007.

a photograph of Norwich Cathedral

05.10.2006 - Government says £50 Million has been spent on our Historic Churches

Churches and other places of worship have received £50 million over the last five years for essential repairs, according to Culture Minister David Lammy.

The landmark figure was passed as a result of the grants paid out in September under the Culture Department's Listed Places of Worship programme.

"The Government is committed to preserving our country's fine listed places of worship, and this scheme enables faith groups to use money raised from supporters to do substantial amounts of work which otherwise would have gone in taxes," said Mr Lammy.

The Listed Places of Worship (LPW) scheme was established in the 2001 Budget to repay to faith groups the equivalent of the VAT incurred in repairing listed churches and places of worship. It is UK-wide. Photo: Norwich Cathedral.

05.10.2006 - Harrogate Council Opens Refurbished Turkish Baths

and Arts is offering the public a chance to take a peek at the recently refurbished Turkish Baths in the town.

Now back to their original glory, free tours of the once popular Victorian baths will take place on Wednesday October 18 at 10am and 11am. Places are limited so call Harrogate Museums and Arts on 01423 556188 for more details.

an old black and white photograph of a young African boy balancing a large log on his head which has been chained to his ankle as a punishment

04.10.2006 – HLF Invites More Slavery Bicentenary Funding Applications

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is looking for more community organisations to join the 40+ to which it has awarded funding for projects marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain.

For ideas and inspiration, as well as advice on how to apply, the HLF has created a special section on its website at

“I am delighted at the diverse range of projects that the HLF has funded to mark next year’s bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade,” said David Lammy, Culture Minister.

“I hope that the information provided through this new web page will encourage more community organisations to take up the opportunity to apply for funding and inspire them to explore the full range of narratives that make this such an important turning point in the country’s history.”

photo of a metal sculpture of a head

04.10.2006 – Paul Merton To Open Mission Gallery Exhibition

Comedian, writer and producer Paul Merton will be in Swansea on October 14 to open the exhibition Inner Portraits by the Swansea-based sculptor Robert Conybear.

The exhibition at the Mission Gallery has been sponsored by Merton who first met Robert when performing at the Fringe Festival in Swansea many years ago.

Merton’s support has enabled the creation of a new body of work; large sculptural objects, and drawings. The exhibition runs until December 31 2006.

photo of a crushed car standing against a tree

04.10.2006 – Polar Opinions On National Trust Stourhead Exhibition

When the National Trust launched its exhibition Beauty and the Beast at Stourhead in Wiltshire in September, it invited critical appraisal of the contemporary art in a classical setting from the public.

Comments received so far on the exhibition’s interactive website, have included highly emotive feedback from both ends of the spectrum – people seem to love the new artworks or loathe them.

“Totally and completely out of place,” said one respondent, “For me it destroyed and devalued the Stourhead experience.”

Another visitor praised the Trust: “It is good to see the National Trust looking forward in this way. Keep up the good work and remember not all middle England OAPs feel the same way about modern art!”

Others were just confused: “The rubber tyres on the lake and the squashed mini against a tree left me completely baffled.”

a photograph of a a bridge being lowered across a river as people watch from an old stone footbridge

03.10.2006 - Cocklemoor Bridge is centrepiece of new Somerset art project

Crowds of sightseers turned out in Langport this week to witness the craning-in of Cocklemoor Bridge across the River Parret in Somerset.

The high-specification footbridge is the centrepiece of a series of public artworks created to enhance and celebrate The Parret Trail, a 47-mile footpath that runs alongside the river from source to mouth.

"This is a ground breaking project for Somerset County Council which will deliver massive benefits to the community," said Councillor Justin Robinson, Somerset County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult and Community Services. "The Parrett Trail is a great asset for Somerset and this contemporary and striking bridge will be the jewel in its crown, allowing the whole community to safely enjoy the trail.”

Designed by internationally recognised artist and Somerset resident, Richard La Trobe Bateman, the bridge has been funded by Somerset County Council’s Local Transport Plan, the Levels and Moors Partnership, the Arts Lottery and South Somerset District Council.

03.10.2006 - Yorkshire Sculpture Park to host major Goldsworthy exhibition in 2007

To celebrate its 30th anniversary Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is to host an exhibition that brings together an unprecedented range of work by Andy Goldsworthy, forming the largest and most ambitious project ever curated at the park.

Opening on March 31 2006, the exhibition will occupy four indoor galleries and the open air spaces and feature much of Goldsworthy's most recent work, new permanent outdoor commissions, new indoor stone, tree and clay installations, together with sheep paintings and blood drawings.

Photographic archive material and key works will offer context of an artist who was artist in residence at the YSP in 1987.

03.10.2006 - New mooring secured for Cold War submarine

The decommissioned Cold War-era submarine HMS Onyx, which was left 'homeless' by the closure of a naval museum last year in Liverpool, has found a new museum home in Cumbria.

Plans are afoot for a new submarine heritage centre in Barrow town centre and the submarine, which saw action in the Falklands War, is to go on show opposite Barrow's Dock Museum.

The Barrow area is also to be the setting for a new Air Museum at nearby Walney Island and the team behind this venture are believed to have funded the purchase of the submarine.

a drawing depicting elephants and hippos at a waterhole

02.10.2006 - Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project moves onto next phase

The second phase of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (AHOB) has started thanks to a grant of a £999,000 from the Leverhulme Trust.

The project is a collaborative effort that involves archaeologists, palaeontologists, and geologists at a number of different British Institutes, including the Natural History Museum and the British Museum, working together with leading universities to build a calendar of human colonisation in Britain during the Pleistocene period (1.8 million to 12,000 years ago).

Begun in 2001, the project has already made groundbreaking discoveries dating human occupation of Britain back as far as 700,000 years, 200,000 years earlier than previously thought. Phase two will continue to add data on the earliest human colonisations of Britain, but the project will also compare studies with those in continental Europe.

An attempt to recover DNA from a fragment of human jawbone found at Kent's Cavern in Devon will be made to determine whether it comes from a modern human as previously believed, or a late Neanderthal. The date of the jawbone fossil lies right at the time when modern humans could have first encountered the Neanderthals in western Europe.

For more details visit the AHOB website

02.10.2006 - Bradford's Colour Museum to close its doors to casual visitors

Bradford's is to change its name to The Colour Experience and only take pre-booked guided tours.

In response to dwindling casual visitor numbers, the museum will now be focusing its efforts on providing workshops and colour-related activities for schools and groups, which have proved a success in the past. A new website, colour experience has also been launched that explains some of the wonders and the science of colour.

The museum, which is run by the Society of Dyers and Colourists, is now open to bookings from schools and other interested groups. Call (01274) 390955 or e-mail: for more information.

02.10.2006 - Weald and Downland Open Air Museum ushers in Autumn with annual celebration

All the sights, sounds and smells of the autumn will be celebrated at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum’s Autumn Countryside Celebration during the weekend of October 7 & 8.

The popular event allows an evocative glimpse into the rural past with its celebration of a traditional harvest, displays and demonstrations of country crafts and skills.

Heavy horses, vintage tractors and a steam-driven threshing machine will be in action at the museum, which occupies a 40-acre Downland site at Singleton, near Chichester, West Sussex. There will also be a produce fair featuring trade stands with a countryside theme.

an Edwardian poster showing several bluebirds and the words The Blue Bird

02.10.2006 - Edwardian Blue Bird set designs bought by Fitzwilliam Museum

The Fitzwilliam Museum has bought a series of original set designs for Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Blue Bird, one of the most popular and celebrated theatrical productions of the Edwardian era.

A grant of £25,000 from the Art Fund helped to make the purchase possible with additional funding coming from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund towards the total cost of £80,000.

The designs go on public display as part of Chasing Happiness, Maurice Maeterlinck, The Blue Bird And England, a new exhibition at the Fitzwilliam, which opened on October 2 2006. Of the group of seven set designs, all but one, plus the design for the original poster, are by Frederick Cayley Robinson (1862-1927), one of the most intriguing and enigmatic British artists of the early 20th century.

The museum already owns two of Cayley Robinson’s illustrations to the English translation of Maeterlinck’s classic, published in 1911. Duncan Robinson, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, said: "To be able to add to these this important group of drawings was an opportunity not to be missed and we are grateful to The Art Fund for helping us to make this important acquisition.”

The exhibition runs until January 7 2007.

02.10.2006 - Museum of Liverpool goes on the road with Boneshaker Bicycle

Museum of Liverpool's On the Road inititiative launches on Wednesday October 4 2006 with an old bicycle being displayed in a hotel lobby and the bust of a poet displayed in a hair dressing salon.

The Radisson SAS Hotel will be hosting a Rushton Velocipede (boneshaker bicycle) in its reception and the new Andrew Collinge salon on Castle Street will be the temporary home to the plaster cast bust of Liverpool poet Brian Pattern.

"The initial idea was to get some great objects from the collection out across the city whilst we are in the process of developing the Museum of Liverpool," explained Jen McCarthy, head of social history. "However we also wanted it to be fun and accessible to as many people as possible."

"Hopefully the locations chosen will encourage people to think about the history of the city in new ways and raise awareness of some of the fantastic objects that will be going on display in the new museum."

Further objects from the collection are planned to go on display in locations across the city in the lead up to the new museum’s opening in 2010.

02.10.2006 - Art installation to float beneath Serpentine bridge in London

The Long Water in Kensington Gardens is to be the site of a floating art installation from Wednesday October 4 2006.

A series of jewel-encrusted island sculptures will emerge from beneath the lake and from under the Serpentine Bridge to suggest the formation and blooming of living islands of algal inflorescence. The forms are based on enlargements of microscopic pond life and amoeba.

This strange phenomenon is the latest art installation by Tony Heywood, in association with The Royal Parks. The final resting place of a touring art installation first commissioned as part of the Cork European City of Culture 2005 celebrations, Super Algal Bloom will be viewable from Wednesday October 4 until Tuesday October 31 2006, during park opening hours.

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