Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A beautiful link

The Psamathe with the pier head building behind.
...between the last two blog entries.  This photograph was presented to the museum along with many other family pictures, by Mr William Sumner, mentioned in the previous piece.  It's a wonderful picture showing both the pier entrance building and the coble Psamathe.  The Psamathe was built by Hargreaves "Arg" Potter in about 1927 for two Morrow brothers, and it may have been the last true sailing coble built on the east coast. John and George Herbert sailed her from Flamborough to Hornsea and she was a common sight on Hornsea Beach in the summer holidays before and after WW II.  By the early 1960s, she was too much for the brothers to handle and was sold to a Mr Wigglesworth in Scarborough.

Monday, 29 August 2011

William Sumner at the handover ceremony

At Hornsea Museum on Saturday August 27th at 2:00 p.m., we held an event centred around the handing over, to the museum, of a splendid quarter scale model fishing coble.

The model is an amazingly accurate replica of an East Coast sailing coble, called the Psamathe, built in 1927 and in use up to the 1960s. Believed to be the last one built before powered craft took over, it was owned by two Morrow brothers, natives of Hornsea. The family was well known as owners of a chemist’s shop in the town.

Hornsea woodcraftsman and boatbuilder, Joe Gelsthorpe painstakingly constructed the model in his workshop at Mereside. It’s complete with mast and sail, and measures some six feet long. Exquisite details include scale sized crab pots and artificially rusted metal fittings. The model had undergone recent ‘sea trials’ and was found to be entirely seaworthy!

The model clearly displays the distinctive features of a coble— flat-bottomed and upswept bows necessary to cope with the conditions along the north-east coast. Its flat bottom is designed for launching from and landing on sandy beaches. The high bows were needed for launching into surf and landing on beaches.
Nephew of the Morrow brothers, William Sumner of Bromsgrove, commissioned the model and he's seen here performing the official handover

Other attractions on the day will included displays by Hornsea Inshore Rescue and RNLI, The Coble and Keelboat Society plus traditional boatbuilding tools and equipment from Joe Gelsthorpe's collection

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Image from the archives #1 - Hornsea Pier

This photograph is an interesting one; there are very few images showing Hornsea Pier in detail.  It shows the pier entrance building from the landward side.  In 1865, Joseph Armitage Wade established the Hornsea Pier Company. In the following six years, there had been little progress other than the sinking of a few piles.
Over the next few years, the race was on.  A Pierre du Gillon was moving ahead with his own plans for a pier, and had bought land.  His rather grand designs were for a pier nearly half a mile in length, and including a tramway.  Strangely, The House of Commons passed bills for both piers.  Du Gillon's company, however, was bankrupted in 1879.

Wade's 350 yard pier was completed by May 1880, at a cost of more than £10,000, but there was a dispute with the designer, Eugenius Birch, over payment, so its opening was delayed.  Then, on 28th October of that same year, a small brig, the 'Earl of Derby' ran into the pier, reducing its length to a mere 250 yards.  It finally opened to the public on Regatta Day of 1881.  Most of the income during its sixteen years was needed for repairs and maintenence, as well as legal fees.

Sadly the pier was demolished in 1897 and sold for scrap. The entrance building shown here continued to be used as an amusement arcade until the late 1920s.  Today, you can see the remains of one of the ornate cast-iron seats (recently restored) in Hornsea's Memorial Gardens, along with one of the wooden piles.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

We'd love your old pictures

Like many museums, Hornsea has in storage, as much as it has on show to the public.  Finding space for it all has always been a problem for the volunteer workers here.  In the last couple of years, a massive amount of organisation has been carried out by our Collection Managers, Lisa, Kevin and Peter.  We are reaching the point where every item in storage has been located, examined, listed, expertly re-packed and boxed.

In view of our limited storage space, the museum trust has to be increasingly choosy in what it accepts in the way of donated objects.  One of the most difficult tasks I have, as curator, is saying: "No thank you" when offered an item.  When someone has struggled in with a late 19th Century Niddy Noddy that has been in their family from new, it’s really hard to tell them that we already have two on display and another 43 in storage.  (Actually, we don’t have a single one, so if you do have an old one doing nothing, we’d probably be pleased to look after it for you

“What on earth’s a Niddy Noddy”, I hear someone ask! Well, in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting: “Madonna of the Yarnwinder” you’ll see the Christ Child with one in His hand. I’ll leave you to Google the full answer!

Park Street Unitarian Church Sunday School Trip to Hornsea C 1953.  Curator's cousins galore.

Objects that we’re always delighted to see being brought in are local (to Hornsea and North Holderness) photographs and picture postcards.  Even family snaps, often thrown out during a house clearance can be of immense historical value. They’re invaluable to researchers of family, social and local history as well as architecture, and costume.  And, of course, they take up little storage space.

Having said all that, if you know of one of those railway carriages converted for seaside holidays & still with its original 1930s interior, let us know!  We'll nudge over some of those niddy noddies!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

My favourite things from the museum #1

Figure of a Girl 1965

I don't know too much about Hornsea Pottery.  (What an admission when the museum has over 2000 pieces on display and a great number in storage!)  I'm learning all the time though; it can't be avoided thanks to the expertise and enthusiasm of Carol and Stuart who look after the pottery collection.

What I do know is that I love this piece.  When I'm at the museum, I pass her several times a day & often stop off to take another look.

It's believed that no more than forty or fifty were made and they were available as a lamp (like this one), an ash tray stand (sacrilege!) and a plant stand.  They were quite unstable, having a narrow base and many were broken.  Lamps stood a better chance of survival as the shade broke the fall.

The 1965 design brief from Desmond Rawson to Alan Luckham and John Clappison read: "To model the head, neck and shoulders down to the bust (the tops of which must show) of a young virgin similar in concept to the acquired birthday card.  This model must create the feeling of sweet innocence, yet have the slight suggestion of the provocative."

Monday, 8 August 2011

Car parking at Hornsea Museum

Graham Stuart M.P. hands petition to Cllr. Christopher Matthews
Behind the museum is a car park run by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.  Many of the museum's visitors and volunteer workers use the facility since on-street parking is limited to an hour and there is no other public car park nearby.  In the autumn of 2010, the three hour time limit was reduced to two hours.  Immediately, the museum, and some local traders, recognised that the reduced time limit was having an adverse effect.  Museum visitors find that two hours just isn't enough time to tour the museum, take a look in St Nicholas' Church, visit the shops and stop in a cafe for a snack.  The most serious effect for the museum is that some do not have the time to browse (and spend!) the museum shop.  The shop is an important source of income to us.

I approached Beverley and Holderness M.P. Graham Stuart and explained the situation.  He  advised me of the best approach to take and then, in July 2011, I was present when he presented our petition to Councillor Christopher Matthews, Portfolio holder for Highways and Emergency Planning.  I spoke at a meeting of the Environment & Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee and now, officers will consult with local traders to assess the impact on their activities of increasing the length of stay at the car park; look into whether there would be any changes in the car park pricing protocol and also look into any alternative means of resolving any difficulties.  We got good publicity in the local press and in the Yorkshire post!

We await the outcome with interest

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Craft event success

The results of my day's labour
 Here's the result of my labours on Sunday; a heap of bird box kits. (Note, also, the luxury carpet in my home workshop!)  I transformed 60 feet of 4" x 1" wood into 20 kits.  That's 160 pieces measured, cut, sanded, drilled and bagged! It was well worth the effort today though.  Once again they were a big hit with the young visitors.

Two girls have a go at rag rugging
 Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the day such a great success even though the weather wasn't quite as kind as last week.  I didn't have time to go around and count, but there must have been over a dozen different activities.  Knitting, French knitting, badges, rag rug making, and caricature portraits were certainly on offer.  And all for £2.50!  Our Education Manager Louise has done a great job in publicising the 2011 series, so that we have had nearly 100 participating children through the doors in two weeks.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Crypt keys return to Hornsea

About fifty years ago, the three locks on the door into the crypt of Saint Nicholas' Church in Hornsea were changed.  The beautiful old keys were kept by the family of the Reverend Bateman, vicar of the time, and were for much of that time displayed in a frame on the wall.  In March 2011, a descendant of the vicar, Rachael Thompson of Hampshire offered the keys to the museum and was kind enough to actually deliver them to us in June 2011. The photograph shoiws Rachael handing the keys to Curator Stewart Would as present day vicar Reverend Philip Lamb looks on.  St Nicholas' Church is in the background.  It is hoped that the crypt will, one day, be opened to the public and that the keys will be displayed there.

A recent donation to the museum

This is a recent donation; a Hornby train set that had been in the family of the donor from being bought new in the 1930s.  It was owned by the donor's brother who, sadly, had died of meningitis at the age of eight.  We are delighted to be given this beautiful set.  It's in really good condition, and still in the original box, despite being nearly 80 years old and  will go on display after some light conservation.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Knitting and needlework group at the museum.

Ten months ago, the museum held the first session of its knitting and needlework group.  It was inspired by the Knitting Cafe that's run by the Swaledale Museum in Reeth every month.  My wife and I stumbled upon on that when touring the Swaledale area on the Honda last year.  Patricia was invited to join the group whilst I looked around their museum.  The Hornsea ladies meet every Tuesday morning between 10:00 and noon.  The photograph shows a recent gathering in one of the Hornsea Pottery display rooms.