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Founded in 1884 by Louth Naturalists',
Antiquarian and Literary Society
Registered Charity No. 1145436

A Local Independent Museum
Nationally Accredited
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Ruth's Blog 2016

Welcome to Ruth's 2016 Blog, where I'll tell you about what we have in Louth Museum. You can also read and discover more from last year's blog.

7th December 2016

'Flower of Stenigot'

Flower of StenigotFlower was a national celebrity.  She was a roan shorthorn heifer, born in 1843 at Stenigot about six miles southwest of Louth.  She became an icon in 1844 when she won first prize in the North Lincolnshire Agricultural Show, open to all England.  The results of the show at Horncastle were reported in the Lincolnshire Chronicle on 2nd August 1844: “To the owner of the best one-year-old heifer £5 to Thomas Moses, Stenigot.  Flower, 1 year 4 months”.

Flower at this age weighed 80 stone 2 pounds or 510 kg, and Louth artist Bennett Hubbard painted her.  The painting is convincing, with details of the animal’s anatomy, and the background landscape.  However, her legs and head seem abnormally small in relation to her huge body, and I can’t help feeling that Flower’s proportions have been exaggerated in line with the owner’s pride in having the largest heifer in England.

Flower continued to win prizes in subsequent agricultural shows, until Mr Moses sold her for 57 guineas in 1846.

14th November 2016

'World War II evacuees in Louth - cultural disharmony'

Louth Street Names in 1317In a student essay written in 1942, Wilfrid Pridmore wrote:

At the beginning of the war Louth was a reception area for evacuation from Leeds. My personal impression was that evacuation was not a success. In this district the evacuees came from the slums of Leeds for the most part. The difficultly was the divergence of habits (mental and physical) between the industrial working-class mothers and the small-town middle-class families with whom they were mostly billeted.  It was the evacuated mothers with children, not the unaccompanied children who were the greatest problem.  The results of this disharmony were painful to both parties, and the evacuation scheme broke down because the mothers returned home.

The experience was not all loss insofar as it showed one part of the community how the other lived.  Considerable sums in compensation were claimed by those whose homes had been damaged taking in evacuees, for damaged furniture, ruined mattresses, etc.

A significant point about the evacuation scheme is that it took place under the impelling pressure of supposed imminent bombing, but when the danger failed to materialise the families that received the evacuees ceased to be sufficiently motivated to overcome the friction which inevitably arose.  Evacuation from bombed places would probably have been a different matter.

24th October 2016

'Louth Street Names in 1317'

Louth Street Names in 1317While sorting through documents from Louth Mansion House I came across a photocopy of an old article about street names. Almost 700 years ago in 1317 a deed listed gifts given by the Canon of Lincoln Cathedral to selected people in Louth. Some places where the recipients lived are recognisable today: Market Place, Walkergate, Westgait, Gospelgait, Gospel-lane, Estgate, and Pade-Hole. Walkergate became Queen Street at the time of Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee in 1887. Pade Hole is now Northgate; it was also sometimes known as Finkle Street. Gospelgate led to the goose pool which was in front of what is now The Lodge of the grammar school.

But some names are a mystery: Gredles, Toggemilne, Gayskholme, Sayntenmar’landes, Weselbusk, Ffoulmare, Langmare, Hargarth, Peslandes and Pakewang. I wonder where these were. Clues may be that a holme was a small island in a river or a low-lying piece of ground, mare meant a flat area of land, a garth was a yard or garden, and a wang (or more usually wong) was a small field.

Even though we don’t recognise all the names, I think it is wonderful that many of our street names have been in use for at least 700 years. What a magnificent cultural heritage we have in Louth!

10th October 2016

'Roman Roof Tile or Tegula'

Roman roof tile or tegulaWhile sorting through items in the Mansion House in Upgate, we came across this piece of fired clay. David Robinson had no hesitation in informing us that it is part of a Roman roof tile.

A Roman roof had two types of overlapping tile.  Flatish tiles with raised edges “tegula” and curved “imbrex” which covered the joints.  Our piece is part of a tegula.

When the Romans came to Britain, they brought their art of tile-making with them, and Roman tiles are common finds in archaeological sites.  In the later Roman Empire each tegula had a raised border on the two long sides, to channel rainwater, rather than allowing it to seep between tiles.  Imbrices and tegulae are still in use in Rome.

24th August 2016

'Ready, Steady, Go'

Ready, Steady, GoThis photo of the start of a race in Louth Cornmarket was taken by professional photographer Pete Conner, probably in the late 1980s.

It shows the determination of the children, and details such as their trainers and the background buildings and spectators.

Pete Conner kindly donated a very large number of photographic negatives to Louth Museum, and these have been diligently sorted, scanned and listed by museum volunteer Keith Scott.  Topics covered include Playgoers productions, Cadwell Park, Gayton Engine, RAF Binbrook and activities of the various mayors.

This collection, which gives us glimpses of life in Louth in the 1980s, is now available for viewing on the museum computers.  If you would like to have a look, please contact the curatorial team.

28th June 2016

'Medicines Bottles' - by Jess

Written by work experience student Jess from Cordeaux Academy

Lung mixture bottleI have chosen to come to Louth Museum for my work experience, which is taking place this week. As one of my tasks I was asked to choose any exhibit from the museum and write about it.

Some of my favourite exhibits in the museum are the medicine bottles. I like them because they give us a good idea of what medicine may have been like in the 1800 and 1900’s. We can see that medicine such as ‘Lung Mixture’ is being used, this may be because there were lots of coal mines open in the late 20th century so lots of people may have suffered from poor breathing. We had no mines near Louth but we did have other things such as brick works and fires which produce smoke.

I like the medicine bottles because they also show improvement in glass and metal work from other eras. Metal work improved for the first time in the Ancient Egyptian period of time, this improved medicine and surgery for the Ancient Egyptians because better metal work meant better tools. They were able to write down information on a type of paper called papyrus so that we had written records from this era. The bottles in Louth Museum have a nice curved shape compared to what they used to be like: sharp and dangerous.

6th June 2016

'Louth Railway Station: Past and Present'

Drawings by Tommaso

Click the image for a larger version

Louth Railway Station by Tommaso

These eye-catching drawings of Louth Railway Station were created by Tommaso, an Italian artist who contacted Louth Museum on the internet and offered his services. They show the station in 1848 and in the present day.
In 1847 the foundation stone of Louth Railway Station was formally laid by Claribel, a talented seventeen-year-old musician who later became nationally renowned for ‘parlour songs’, the Victorian equivalent of modern pop songs. She was the daughter of Louth solicitor Henry Pye, who lived in the large house known as The Cedars in St Mary’s Lane. The first drawing shows Claribel singing one of her ballads outside the station.

Click the image for a larger version

Louth Railway Station by Tommaso

After more than 160 years as a great asset to the town, Louth Station closed to passengers in 1970 (although the line northwards to Grimsby remained open for freight until 1980). The original station building has been preserved, and now provides residential accommodation. The second drawing shows Louth Railway Station in 2016, behind the new Aldi supermarket.

The purpose of these pictures is to encourage small children to think about the differences between Victorian Louth and the present day.

Louth Railway Station 1848 - by Tommaso

Louth Railway Station by Tommaso

Louth Railway Station 2016 - by Tommaso

Louth Railway Station by Tommaso
10th May 2016

'The Playhouse Cinema - Louth'

Louth PlayhouseMany people go into this building, but few will recognise this early 20th Century photo. It is Louth’s Playhouse Cinema, located in Cannon Street, not far from the museum.

It was built in the 19th Century as a Congregational chapel. The chapel closed in 1919, and the building became a cinema with its first showing on Boxing Day 1921. Its present art deco frontage was created in 1935.

This photo was taken a few weeks after the cinema opened. Comparison with an earlier photo shows the newly-constructed entrance area that was built onto the front of the original chapel building.

Thanks to Steve in the Playhouse Cinema, and who has astonishing knowledge about its history, we know that the poster is advertising “Suds” starring Mary Pickford. This means that the photo was taken in the week beginning Monday 9th January 1922.

This photo is a print from a glass slide taken by photographer Edward C Woods, from the collection of the late J K Bourne of Louth Manor House.

5th April 2016

'1430s Stone Pinnacle From St James’ Church'

1430's stone pinnacle from St James’ ChurchStone pinnacle from St James’ Church being installedThis year visitors to Louth Museum cannot fail to admire the stone pinnacle recently installed in the outside courtyard. It was brought to the museum early one morning by Rodden and Cooper, dangling from the arms of a telescopic handler. The medieval pinnacle has spent several decades in the garden of David Robinson in Eastgate, and before that it was in a garden in Edward Street. But as you may imagine the original location of this pinnacle, which was probably carved in the 1430s, was on the nave of St James’ Church. In the 1860s when James Fowler, the Louth ecclesiastical architect, was restoring the church this particular pinnacle was removed and replaced because one side had become seriously worn away by weathering. We are grateful to the previous custodians of the pinnacle for preserving it and to Andy Cooper for his expertise in relocating it to Louth Museum.

22nd March 2016

'What you should NOT eat at Easter!'

What you should not eat at Easter!The Museum has been given a transcript of a report dated 1696, entitled: “A Culinary Disaster"

There was a Commission of Sewers lately in Louth. Amongst other dishes of meat that was brought up there toward the latter end thereof was a tansey. After they had eaten of this tansey all the Commissioners fell sick. Immediately some vomited, some purged, some fainted and others were so gryped that they did not know what to do, yet put as good a face on everything as they could. After dinner their servants were called in, and asked what sort of liquor they had drunk and what sort of meat they had eaten; they told them the very same that came from their table, only they did not eat any tansey because there was enough meat besides, and they said they were very well. Upon this they sent for their hostess and asked her where she had got so much tansey this cold and backward year to make her tansey as green as it was. She told them she knew what they meant and begged them pardon, told them truly that she could not get anything to make her tansey green, and therefore going into the garden she got a great handful of daffodilly leaves and stalks, and having bruised them and squeezed out the juice, it was with them she had coloured them green.

I should explain that the Tansy is a yellow-flowered plant of the aster family. In previous centuries young Tansy leaves were used as food flavouring, to give food a green colour, and to kill intestinal worms. Tansy pudding was traditionally eaten at Easter to kill off the worms that resulted from the Lenten diet of fish.

3rd February 2016

'Mr George Eddison and Miss Ann Smith'

George Eddison NoticeSome items in Louth Museum just grab your attention and this is one of them! It is a public declaration made in 1817 by middle-aged George Eddison (born 1767, died 1827) who was a butcher in Upgate.

Mr Eddison felt he needed to explain his relationship with young Ann Smith who, the declaration suggests, might have been supplementing her income by prostitution. We know very little about Ann Smith, but almost 20 years later on 30th October 1835 the Stamford Mercury newspaper reported, “Ann Smith a notorious prostitute, was found guilty of stealing a pocket-book containing a £5 note from the person of David Fowler, at Horncastle Fair, and sentenced to seven years' transportation. She thanked the magistrates for her sentence.” However, a week later a correction was printed, “In the report of Lindsey Sessions last week, the sentence against Ann Smith for robbery at Horncastle should have been printed 6 months' imprisonment, instead of 7 years' transportation”.

Interestingly an official witness is named on Mr Eddison’s declaration: Joseph Leeman was a young man who had left Louth Grammar School only the previous year in 1816, and who later became a solicitor in Dartford Kent.

The declaration was printed by respected bookseller and stationer Henry Hurton in Mercer Row. He had the bow-windowed shop that was, and still is, on the corner of Pawnshop Passage which was formerly known as Hurton’s Yard.

6th January 2016

'School books have changed dramatically over the years'

School bookIn the 17th Century William Walker who was the Master at Louth Grammar School, produced a book on English-Latin Grammar. It is a guide to translating English into Latin, a procedure which seemed to form the basis of the school curriculum at that time.

Walker’s book was entitled “A Treatise of English particles Shewing How to render Them According to the Proprietie and Elegancie of the Latine: with a Praxis upon the same”. Although initially intended for pupils in Louth, the book became popular throughout England and several editions were produced. In Louth Museum library we have a copy of the 1655 edition.

It is interesting to see this book, but I am thankful that our educational system has moved on substantially!

Ruth's blog 2015
Ruth's blog 2014


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