News In Brief - Week Ending June 24 2007

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 17 June 2007
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  • Archived article

Welcome to the 24 Hour Museum news in brief page for the week ending June 24 2007.

a photograph of pit head gear surrounded by landscaped slag heaps

22.06.2007 - New City Tip Nature Trail opened at Big Pit

A new nature trail allowing visitors to get a closer look at the heather and bilberry covered ex-coal mine Coity Tip has opened next to Big Pit: National Coal Mining Museum of Wales.

Funded by the Welsh Assembly Government Heads of the Valleys Programme, Big Pit: National Coal Mining Museum of Wales was able to build a pleasant walkway to previously unexposed Welsh land providing a link between the Museum, Garn Lakes and Pontypool and Blaenavon.

The trail will help protect land from damage previously caused by motorbikes and off-road vehicles. Deputy Minister for the Economy and Transport, Huw Lewis says: “The Valleys are greener and cleaner today then they have been for 200 years.”

There are also plans to build an education centre to further develop the area thanks to prize money from winning the Gulbenkian Museum of the Year award in 2006.

22.06.2007 - Stockwood Discovery Centre need your help with their new environmental development.

As Stockwood Discovery Centre’s £6m development gets underway heritage bosses have asked for a little help from their supporters in the shape of advice and tips on how to reinforce the new development's environmental theme.

“We’d like to include your tips on how we can make a contribution as part of our everyday lives,” said Maggie Appleton, Museum Services Manager. “So whether it’s that you walk to work or make your own rubber bands from old washing up gloves, we’d like to hear from you!”

The museum is set to be transformed into a visitor and discovery centre thanks to generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund among others. The new centre will include elaborate gardens, new facilities (including a café and shop), exhibitions and corporate venue hire.

a colour photograph of two mini cars driving down a cobbled roadway past a tram

22.06.2007 - Crich Tramway Village puts call out for Mini owners

Crich Tramway Village in Derbyshire is extending an invitation to Mini owners to join their Mini Meet this year on Sunday July 8.

There will be a host of Minis plus club and trade stands along with street entertainment. Timed Mini Parades will also feature in the event, with Minis driving though the Village’s period street, weaving in and out of the vintage tram service.

“The Tramway Village creates a unique atmosphere for vehicle rallies with its recreated village street and rides on vintage trams," said event organiser Aaron Johansson. "The events are always very well attended and much loved by vehicle owners. Our regulars thoroughly enjoy the day, but we would also like to extend a warm invitation to Mini owners who have perhaps never participated before.”

For more details and to request a booking form contact Crich Tramway Village on 01773 854321 or visit the website

22.06.2007 - Haig Colliery Mining Museum buys rare mining plan on eBay

A giant underground plan showing the geological strata relating to Haig Colliery's No 5 shaft in the 1920s has been bought by Haig Colliery Mining Museum from the interent auction site eBay.

Drawn by mining engineer W Johnson the large document, which measures 2.7 metres by 79 centimetres (9ft by 2ft 6 inches), once adorned the walls of the colliery's mines surveyor's office.

The Museum, which does not normally purchase items off eBay, paid several hundred pounds for the valuable map. They are now keen to hear from anyone who worked at the pit if they have any more information or memories about it.

a black and white photograph of a young man wearing a miner's helmet

21.06.2007 - Bevin Boys finally get recognition with commemorative badge

Conscripts who worked down the coal mines in World War Two are to receive a special badge from the government.

Prime Minister Tony Blair made the announcement during Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons on June 20 2007. "I think it would give them some recognition for the tremendous work that they have done," he said.

Many young men were forcibly conscripted from 1943 onwards to work down the coalmines of England, Scotland and Wales. Taking their name from the then Minister of Labour and National Service, Ernest Bevin, their contribution to World War Two was to vitally fuel the war effort from the coalface.

Some 48,000 were eventually conscripted to British mines to tackle coal shortages and it is anticipated that the badge to commemorate their efforts will incorporate a design showing colliery headgear and will be ready in March or April 2008.

Warwick Taylor, Vice President of the Bevin Boys Association, told the 24 Hour Museum of his delight at the announcement. “This is wonderful news, it’s history in the making, but they had better hurry up because we’re all well into our eighties now.”

Warwick (pictured above as a Bevin Boy) uses the 24 Hour Museum’s Direct Data Entry system to highlight events information for the Bevin Boys Association. He will be helping the government to track down the surviving Bevin Boy veterans.

As well as organising reunions the Bevin Boys Association organises a travelling exhibition that tells their story. It tours various venues in the UK and has in the past been resident at the National Coal Mining Museum near Wakefield and at Big Pit: National Mining Museum of Wales. For more information contact the Bevin Boys Association.

a painting featuring a dark disk on a tan background

21.06.2007 - Orkney Arts Centre buys vivid works of contemporary art

The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, Orkney, has bought three new works by important contemporary artists.

Olafur Eliasson’s The Colour Spectrum Series; Exposed Painting, Deep Violet, Charcoal Black, 2005, by Scottish painter Callum Innes; and Towards a Solar Eclipse (detail pictured above) by Garry Fabian Miller, were purchased by the Centre for £40,466.

£20,000 towards the purchases came from the Art Fund with additional financial support coming from the National Fund for Acquisitions and the National Collecting Scheme for Scotland.

The works will all go on display when the newly refurbished Pier Arts Centre re-opens on July 7.

21.06.2007 - College conservators restore 17th century church carvings

Conservators on the Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College MA in Furniture Conservation & Restoration have been restoring two wooden carvings, dated at c1675, in preparation for the return of the carvings to West Wycombe St Lawrence Church.

The carvings are thought to have been made in the workshop of Grinling Gibbons, the 17th century woodcarver who undertook commissions for Charles II, William III, George I and the architect, Sir Christopher Wren.

Students used a laser cleaner on the carvings, thanks to a collaboration with Simon Cane, the Head of Conservation Care at Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

The carvings will be returned to West Wycombe St Lawrence Church on Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 June. A team from the college will also be providing the church with advice about how best to look after the carvings once they are back in situ, and how to light them.

photo of a man in suit and tie and wearing glasses talking and gesticulating with his hands

20.06.2007 - Culture Minister reinforces government's commitment to promoting science through museums

Culture Minister David Lammy has reinforced the govenment's commitment to promoting science in the UK and emphasised the importance of museums in the process.

Speaking at London's Natural History Museum (NHM) on June 19 he said that the role of institutions like the NHM are becoming ever-more important.

"Today, museums are no longer the rather static, dusty places some of us, or our parents, remember - they are vital, dynamic places." he said.

"The relationship between science and the public is changing. People are more assertive in all walks of life, as consumers on the high street, as citizens accessing public services, and as communities demanding more say over their local areas. It's through museums and other institutions in civil society that interest, trust and debate can be built."

20.06.2007 – Join in the Sunday sing-a-long at the Museum of London

Sing London and the City of London Festival are bringing together songs of London old and new in a musical celebration of life in the capital at the Museum of London on Sunday July 1.

Talented choirmaster, Gareth Malone, of Bafta award winning BBC Two series The Choir, will lead a community songfest of classics from London Bridge and Oranges and Lemons to Maybe It’s Because I’m A Londoner and A Foggy Day.

“I’m really excited about getting everyone together for a great sing song on a summer’s day,” says Gareth. “It’s not necessary to be able to sing. Come along whatever the weather - I’ll be there singing my socks off!’

Sing London festival aims to unite the City in song – all kinds of people singing all kinds of music, in all kinds of places from cafes, museums, shops, libraries and even London buses!

Bring your voices, London spirit and a thirst for music trivia as the compère will also present fascinating facts about the repertoire. (Runs from 2.30pm to 4pm.)

Debate London logo

20.06.2007 – The Architecture Foundation launches London debates

Think tank The Architecture Foundation is presenting five debates on the future of a rapidly changing London, beginning on Friday 22 June. Questions asked will range from who is truly benefiting from the city’s growth, to what kind of buildings and public spaces Londoners really want.

The debates are tied into the current exhibition Global Cities at Tate Modern. Speakers and chairs will include architect Zaha Hadid, Janet Street-Porter and Boris Johnson.

Debate titles are as follows (see for further details) -June 22: Is London a United City?
June 23: The 2012 Wishlist – what do you want for London?June 24: How Can a Boomtown be Green?June 25: Can London be Both Big and Beautiful?June 26: Generation London – a youth debate for young people from London schools.

Book tickets on 020 7887 8888 (£8/£5 concessions). Debates run from 7.30-9.30pm.

a photograph of a man scything

19.06.2007 - Cambridgeshire man becomes West Country scythe champion

Simon Damant, forester at the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate near Cambridge has won the Third West Country Scythe Festival Competition which was held at Thorney Lakes, Muchelney, Somerset Levels on Sunday June 17.

Simon uses a scythe at Wimpole as part of his management of the wildflower grassland, cutting small areas of grass usually inaccessible by larger machinery.

“It was a really enjoyable day and I was surprised to win as I was not the first person to finish my five metre square patch, but the judges also took into account the neatness of the cut and overall I came out on top," said Simon.

"Scything, as well as cutting the grass, is also very good for all the core muscle groups especially the stomach muscles, so you get a good workout whilst doing it. It really makes you appreciate how fit the farmers of yesteryear must have been when cutting whole fields.”

The use of a scythe, particularly for mowing grass involves some skill, particularly in sharpening it, and in understanding how to set the blade up so that it is running smoothly and not stressed. Professional instruction to apprentices has died out (agricultural colleges stopped employing instructors for hand tools around the 1960s) and unlike most European countries Britain has not had a reservoir of smallholder farmers able to keep the knowledge alive.

19.06.2007 - Film Heritage Group sets out strategy for UK's screen heritage

The BFI-led UK Film Heritage Group has published a consultation document detailing a strategy that aims to deliver more public access to the UK’s screen heritage.

The strategy recommends a more coordinated approach to the care and preservation of national and regional moving image collections and the increased use of digital technologies; an urgent need for the safeguarding collections; a national and regional investment in securing an infrastructure to care for the collections and the mass digitisation of archive film material.

The Strategy for UK Screen Heritage will have two phases: the first phase is focused primarily on the BFI National Archive, Regional Screen Agencies and Regional Film Archives and aims to stabilise the core infrastructure and demonstrate clearly the public value of our screen heritage.

A second phase will focus on engagement and further consultation with other collections such as those held in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, UK organisations with moving image collections such as the BBC, ITN and the Imperial War Museum, plus universities, museums and other key stakeholders.

A consultation will run until Friday September 7 2007 involving stakeholder events across the country and will be publicised on To access a copy of the consultation strategy visit

an aerial view of westminster showing buildings and a river

19.06.2007 - English Heritage announces first ever management plan for Westminster World Heritage Site

New guidelines for the management and protection of Westminster World Heritage Site have been published in preparation for the World Heritage Committee’s 2007 meeting in New Zealand later this month.

The area comprising the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including St Margaret’s Church was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, but until now there has been no official plan agreed by all the relevant parties for the management of the site as a whole.

Published by English Heritage on June 18, the plan aims to provide an understanding of the World Heritage Site within its historical and contemporary context.

One of the key objectives in the plan is to produce a dynamic visual assessment of local views around, into and out of the World Heritage Site so that local authorities and developers are better able to assess the impact of proposals upon it - including those for tall buildings.

The document is designed to be reviewed periodically and to complement existing policies developed by the site owners and managers as well as Westminster City Council and the Greater London Authority.

19.06.2007 - Trail to reveal forgotten heritage of Loughborough

Residents and visitors will soon be able to stroll along a new trail highlighting Loughborough’s rich history, thanks to a £17,400 award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The trail will lead people on a journey of discovery of the significant places, people and events in the town’s past within a short walk of the Old Rectory Museum which is set in the medieval centre of Loughborough. The museum building in Rectory Place was first documented as a rectory in 1228 and is believed to be one of the oldest rectories in the country.

The HLF money will also pay for the creation of a new exhibition called Women at Work which will chart the changing role of women in the domestic and industrial workplace.

19.06.2007 - Welsh heritage hero gets recognition

A heritage manager who works for Forestry Commission Wales has received a commemorative bowl made from a 2,000 year-old tree in recognition of his services to heritage.

Chris Tucker received the Millennial Bowl from Marilyn Lewis, director of ancient monuments body Cadw, in a presentation ceremony at Wenallt Ironworks in the Neath Valley.

Chris looks after more than 50 archaeological sites in the forests of South Wales and has recently been involved in the restoration of the Wenalt Ironworks and the nearby Pentreclwydau Colliery, along with other industrial heritage projects.

a photo of a couple in period costume dancing in a garden

18.06.2007 - Red House launches Garden Festival with Victorian garden party

A Victorian Garden Party on Sunday June 24 will provide a spectacular period-style launch to this year's two-week Red House Period Garden Festival.

There will be vibrant performances from the Arbeau Victorian Dancers on the lawns throughout the afternoon (with a chance to join in) as well as lots of colourful period costumed characters’ from Red House’s past, who will chat to visitors as they wander around the gardens.

It's a chance to meet 'Joshua Taylor’, ‘Aunt Laetitia’ and the cheery eccentric servant ‘Hannah’ amongst others.

The Victorian Garden Party takes place from 1pm-4pm and admission is free. Some activities are accessible by stairs only. Gomersal WI will serve refreshments in the adjacent Public Hall on Oxford Road.

The Red House Period Garden Festival runs from June 28-July 8 and includes talks, trails, costume presentation and tours. Please contact Red House on 01274 335100 for a full festival programme or visit the website on

18.06.2007 - Wolverhampton Art Gallery all wrapped up for exhibition

Wolverhampton residents this week discovered Wolverhampton Art Gallery has been transformed to welcome Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa’s latest exhibition.

The gallery building has been covered in swathes of colourful fabric due to stay for the duration of the exhibition.

The high-profile artist, already known for his bright and quirky art, is exhibiting his internationally-influenced works at the new gallery space from June 23 to September 1 2007.

18.06.2007 - Plans for Margate Turner Gallery re-drafted

Ambitious plans for the Margate Gallery have been re-drafted to bring soaring costs under control. The new plans, which are due to be unveiled by the architect David Chipperfield, are said to reduce the £50 million bill to under £17.5 million.

The original elaborate offshore plans had to be scrapped due to financing and are now to be replaced by a spectacular land location with an impressive sea view.

Due to open in 2010, the gallery is to include an exhibiting area for artists and also exclusive area for young artists, a café, a shop and educational facilities. The gallery is hoped to help boost Margate’s culture value and generate international as well as national visitors.

a detail of a painting showing a landscape with a house in the distance

18.06.2007 - English Heritage secures Dutch masterpiece for Chiswick House

English Heritage has managed to secure its sixth major landscape piece by Dutch painter.

Through the generous support of private individuals and other organisations, such as the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the National Arts Collection, English Heritage secured the picture at a Sotheby’s auction on June 6 2007.

The painting portrays a view of the old and new wings of Chiswick House and its well-kept gardens designed by patron, the third Lord Burlington.

It is thought the painting was commissioned by Lady Bedingfield, the patron’s sibling, between 1729 and 1732 when the gardens were transformed to a more natural landscape.

After the summer this painting, along with the five others bought by English Heritage, will reside within Chiswick House, the house that it depicts.

18.06.2007 - £1.2m silent cinema complex opens in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Minister of Culture, Edwin Poots, has unveiled the result of a £1.2 million project to develop a 1920s cinema complex at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Gilford, County Down.

The project is intended to encourage the public to reminisce about the way people used to live, how our leisure activities today contrast with the past.

As tourism and the economy are fast growing in Northern Ireland this project is hoped to boost the visitor’s in the Ballycultra area. The museum is hoping to increase the 170,000 visitors from last year, with the addition of a ‘picture house’ showing classic 1920s silent films starring Chaplin and Keaton.

New learning areas within the complex have been built to attract school children whilst facilities such as period tearooms and a photographer’s studio will help encourage visitors to the community.

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