Author Archives: jillgoodfellow
John Myers came to see his photograph in Pages from History: Celebrating 200 Years of The Cumberland News, our current exhibition, and brought with him a very special guest.
John and Eric the Monkey worked together from 1986-89 on Border Television, presenting the very popular Border Birthdays – which ran for many years – reading out birthday greetings for children across Cumbria, Dumfries and Galloway, and the Scottish Borders.
John shared his memories of working with the puppet, revealing that he had found Eric whilst on holiday in Spain and brought him back to present the show with him.
In 1986 Eric was so popular in the region that 1000 replica Erics were made and sold in County Stores – most of the monkeys sold out – topping kid’s Christmas lists that year!
John was kind enough to donate one of the last remaining replicas to Tullie House to add to our collection. Eric is currently being accessioned, which means our Curatorial team are taking his photograph and some measurements and adding him to our database. You can come and see the Eric replica, which we’ll be putting on display in Pages from History in time for half term.
John and his wife Linda spent quite some time in the exhibition and shared more of their memories with our staff, and reporters from The Cumberland News.
As soon as we entered the exhibition Linda spotted he front cover of The Cumberland News from November 1983 – which was the first time The Cumberland News printed a colour photograph. The photograph featured Princess Diana on her visit to Carlisle.
Linda shared a precious memory
“I was there, I was right in the front row and she shook my hand”.
Linda was certainly not alone, thousands of people turned out to see the Princess in the City Centre. Linda had a look at this crowd shot but couldn’t see herself there. Perhaps you can see someone you recognise?
As we got further into the exhibition John spotted a picture of Grapes Lane, which was in the city centre before the streets were demolished to build The Lanes Shopping Centre.
“We used to walk past the Lanes all the time, I remember watching when the demolition crew moved in and hundreds of rats came running out from everywhere”
The Lanes were some of the oldest buildings in the City Centre, some dating back to medieval. By the late 1970s they had fallen into a state of disrepair and the process began to clear the area to build The Lanes, which opened in 1986 – just as John and Eric were taking to screen for Border Birthdays. The development of The Lanes roused a few Carlisle citizens to protest and you can see a poster from The Lanes Presevation Society in Pages from History.
The exhibition also brought back sad memories for John. This image of Lockerbie following the terrorist attack which rocked the nation brought back a very specific memory for John.
“The night this happened (21 December 1988) was the same night as the Border Television Christmas Party. The news came through, and because all the journalists and cameramen were already there, they headed straight out.
Border Television were the first on the scene and captured some truly memorable and shocking footage. News companies from across the world were getting in touch with Border to use their images”
A huge thank you to John and Linda (and of course Eric the Monkey) for coming to visit the exhibition and sharing their memories with us.
Pages from History: Celebrating 200 Years of The Cumberland News is open until Sunday 21st February. Why not visit and tell us Your Story.
Local Hero- Charlie Shepherd reminisces about winning Commonwealth super-featherweight title on home soil #CNMyStory
Local sporting legend Charlie Shepherd visited the Pages from History exhibition for the first time last week, and as well as being interviewed for the press, took time to talk to our staff about his photo in the exhibition.
‘It is very emotional to see this photo in the exhibition’ he told us. ‘My trainer Jackie, who is on the right passed away recently. He was a top guy- I think I was his Golden Boy really! I was his only World Champion.’
Ever the Carlisle man, Charlie told us that he counts competing at the Sands Centre to home crowds as one of the best moments of his career.
‘The tickets sold out within 22 minutes. It was an amazing experience to be on home turf. I’d competed in the Royal Albert Hall only the week before, but I was definitely more nervous be out in front of a Carlisle crowd.’
Charlie Shepherd knocked out his opponent Trust Ndlovu in the sixth round of the 1999 Commonwealth games super-featherweight boxing final. The Sands Centre stadium with a 12,000 seat capacity was sold out.
And what was it like to see himself in a museum exhibit?
‘It is nice to be recognised!’ he jokes. ‘And I can’t wait to show my kids when I bring them to see the exhibition.’
Charlie Shepherd’s commonwealth photographic print, together with other high quality photographic works in the exhibition is available for sale. Please enquire at the museum for more information.
Do you have stories to share? Send us your stories on Facebook or Twitter #CNMyStory #CN200 or post them in the exhibition.
Tullie House’s current exhibition Pages from History explores news stories from across Cumbria and the world from the last 200 years – but the biggest story has always been the strength and character of the Cumbrian people – this has been proved this last couple of weeks and countless times across the centuries. In this blog post we explore the stories of three iconic Cumbrians shared by visitors to Pages from History.
Have you ever been in the local paper? Most people have a story to share, and we’re asking people to contribute theirs, in celebration of the iconic local stories featured in The Cumberland News over the last 200 years.
Featured in this first blog entry are three uplifting, tenacious and pioneering stories sent to us from Nicki Butterworth, K. Harkness and Paula Jennings.
Nicki is an inspirational woman, who on finding out that her cancer had spread, wrote a bucket list of experiences she did not want to miss out on. Nicki’s story was followed by The Cumberland News and the News and Star. Many local people donated to make the things on her list possible.
In this bizarre award winning photograph by Stuart Walker, we see Nicki and her husband in the aftermath of an enormous food fight which took place in her back garden.
In March 2015, the News and Star reported that Nicki was investigating a new treatment plan with good results. Nicki visited the exhibition to see her picture and was able to shed a little light on a frequently asked question!
“A question about my picture that always gets asked is ‘what did it taste like when you licked your husband!’ Awful! Beans, mayo, custard, chocolate and angel delight are not a good mix! xx”
Paula’s stories remind us of the important role of local newspapers. They are there to document, celebrate and commemorate some of the biggest events in our lives
“My Mum was in the paper when she got married in 1964. She was on the front page.”
Almost forty years later The Cumberland News would remember Paula’s intrepid grandmother
“My grandmother Mary Little made the news when she died in 2002, as she was the first ever female bookmaker in the North West. In 1967 she took over my Grandad Willie Little’s business when he sadly passed away.”
Our third story features a wonderful local character Ben Ion, whose portrait is featured in the Pages from History exhibition. Ben worked at the Thomas Muir Carlisle coal yard in Crown Street from 1902, and other than during WW1, never missed a day of work until he reached the age of 80 in 1968.
One of our visitors worked with Ben, or as we find out, Andy, and shares some of his memories with us.
“He was always known as Andy. His eyesight was very poor and his wife always brought him to work, then fetched his bait at 10am and 3pm, and also his dinner at noon. He lived in St Nicholas St.
During bad weather he would tie an old sack round his waist and also over his shoulders to protect himself. He never missed a day’s work for as long as I knew him.”
Do you have stories to share? Send us your stories on Facebook or Twitter #CNMyStory #CN200 or post them in the exhibition.
Find out more about some of our wonderful local personalities in our current exhibition Pages from History: Celebrating 200 years of the Cumberland News open until 31 January 2016.
Some brilliant words from Jack about our recent win at Kids in Museums – a great blogger about museums – thank you Jack!
The scores are in, the families have spoken, and the time has come to crown a new holder for the title of Most Family Friendly Museum in the UK. Previous winners have included museums such as the wonderful Horniman Museum in South London, the Haselmere Educational Museum in Surrey and everyone’s favourite conjoined museums, the Pitt Riverls and the Oxford University Natural History Museum.
That list alone should give you an idea of the level of overall awesome-ness that families and the team at Kids in Museums are looking for in their winners. The winners would have to be awesome, because this is the biggest museum award in Britain and the only one to give a powerful voice to families.
Before I tell you who won, I’d like to remind everyone of the shortlist from the length and breadth of the country:
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Our Sky Map project continues with some great poems written by our Amy’s Care group for those with Dementia.
You can read some of the poems here and visit Tullie House in November to see the Sky Map in place!
An anthology of the poems written by the group during their first session.
It’s Cooler at the Top
Glaramara, Cat Bells
Walking up hills
First of August
A lovely warm day
Borrowdale, Ashness Bridge
Past a tea shop in Grange
Can be cooler at the top
A change in weather
A change in altitude
In winter, you’ll need gloves
Brenda must’ve been keen
To go up Helvellyn
In the winter
Tullie House/Amy’s Care: Helen’s Poem September 1st 2015
Pictures and placemats
When the frost comes
Jeanette’s Poem #2
Up into the clouds
Wet to the skin
Over the hill
Shrouded in cloud
Tullie House/Amy’s Care: Jeanette’s Poem #2 September 1st 2015
Feel it in your bones
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We have a huge collection of objects here at Tullie House that are unfortunately not on permanent display in the museum, one that we get asked about a lot is our beautiful quilt collection. Eloise, one of our Curatorial Assistants and Exhibitions Engagement Coordinator worked with Melanie, our Curator of Fine Art on a recent afternoon study session when we got the quilts out for some of our visitors to see. Eloise has written up a brief history of Cumbrian Quilting to share this collection with you.
Quilts offer a fascinating window into the private lives and creativity of the women who made them. Stitch-work is the image of female domesticity and industry; represents virtues of thrift, practical skill, patience and artistic flair. It also shows a scope of pattern and colour design, geometry and technical prowess.
Cord Quilting is an early pattern technique, popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. Typically made of white linen or cotton, into which raised designs were stitched using cotton or woolen cord.
The Tullie House collection starts in the 18th Century. Held up to the light, this cord-quilted coverlet c.1700-1800 reveals intricate and beautiful patterns of flowers and eternity knots, including daffodils, honeysuckle, primroses and other wildflowers, gorgeously rendered into a diamond pattern.
Probably the most significant quilt from the Tullie House collection is this beautiful patchwork bedspread made by Martha Jackson of Westmorland in 1790. Rare in that we know who made it- Martha actually signed and dated her work! It is also an extensive catalogue of samples of 18th Century printed dress cottons and calicos, which presumably reflect the clothes worn by Martha and the Jackson family. It is easy to imagine Jane Austen’s characters Mrs Bennet or Mrs Dashwood wearing dresses in these patterns in their youth!
It is fascinating to see how modern some of the fabric patterns and colours seem compared to designs popular on clothes of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s.
This rare patchwork of Georgian fabric even includes import stamps, pieced into the quilt, revealing the early beginnings of printed cottons imported from India by dress-makers around the country. For a long time, such fabrics were illegal, since they began to replace the expensive embroidered patterns produced in Britain, which denoted the rank and status of the higher classes. Before Indian cottons, the costumes of 17th and 18th Century common women would have been very plain dyed fabrics.
Framed Quilts are those which have been designed around a centre piece (medallion), for example the large printed garden motif in the centre of the cotton and silk quilt c. 1820-40.
The 1883 Log Cabin design by Ann Rawling of Lamplugh, West Cumbria has a 3D effect, with carefully matched reds and beiges. Such patterns were popular in the North of England, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man, indicating a distinctive regional technique.
The mosaic pattern on the silk and velvet coverlet c.1860-1900 has a strikingly 3D effect, almost an optical illusion, using geometric pieces of black fabric to create a cube pattern.
This truly is a form of art unique to women and also inherited; with the skills, labour and finished pieces overlapping one another, some preserved, some re-structured into other pieces; a patchwork of cultural and regional history
For more information, with further illustrations from our quilt collection a pamphlet book ‘Stitches in Time: The Tullie House Quilt Collection’ is available from Shop @ Tullie.
Our work with Amy’s Care on the Cumbria Sky Map continued last week with an art session, see what they got up to on the new blog post.
Last week was our second session with the Amy’s Care group at Tullie House, and our first artist session with Alex.
We were excited to see the Sky Map parasol, which is currently being painted lovely cloudy shades of blue by the other groups. Can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s finished, and everyone’s artwork gets added!
We also looked at the map, which the other groups have added to with things from their sessions. We’re hoping to see the Carlisle section later today.
The Kendal group also sent us a lovely message from their session. It was great to hear how they’ve been getting on.
This week we were painting eagle eggs, based on what looking at the real ones last week.
Alex showed us how to make lovely speckles and textures with wax crayons and watercolours, and we were a very productive…
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Eloise and Catherine have been working with Amy’s Care and our other CMC venues to bring the Cumbrian Sky Map project to life – read about it here
‘Sun, sea and the sky; kites birds and clouds.’…as Helen said; ‘the clouds often come out in the Summer as well as in the Autumn! But the time has really flown by this week as the season changes. We certainly were talking about flight in our first session last week we had our very first session at Tullie House, working with the Amy’s Care Group.
We had a very creative afternoon, looking at some of our objects, including the beautiful Golden Eagle Eggs used by Artist Uta Kogelsberger for her project. We all thought they were quite big, and it was interesting to look at how different the two eggs were. One was white and the other was very speckled. Andy even thought that the egg looked a bit like Alastair!
‘Big, speckled, golden brown, they fly and hatch. Fluffy like a baby hamster!’- Jeanette
We also spent some time…
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Andrew, our Head of Collections and Programming recently traveled to China with our Learning and Engagement Manager Anna, who has written a blog about working with a couple of museums on how to engage with children and young people.
After Anna headed back to the UK, Andrew stayed in China to experience some more of the country’s rich heritage and culture. He’s written a short blog to let us know what he got up to.
…after leaving Anna in Suzhou I traveled to Shanghai, then flew 856 miles to Xi’an, home of the famous Terracotta Warriors, and then took a five hour bus journey (of only 215 miles) through the mountains to the small city (only 3.5m residents!) of Tianshui in Gansu Province.
I intended to visit Tianshui to experience what was described as the ‘Silk Road Festival’ but what turned out to be an annual celebration of Fuxi (pronounced Foo-she), the ‘founder’ of Chinese culture. Fuxi is a cultural hero in China credited with creating humanity and the invention of hunting, fishing and cooking as well as Ying & Yang and the system of writing Chinese characters.
Tianshui also has several museums and I visited three. The Folk Art Museum is located in a traditional Chinese house which comprises several rooms around open courtyards. The museum displayed historic artefacts in their original setting so the kitchen had material from the Quing Dynasty (nineteenth century) and the bedroom had a period box bed and so on. In addition to the roomsets the museum also had a room for showing shadow puppet performances and a theatre for showing traditional Chinese Opera.
The City Museum is linked to the Fuxi temple and has hugely impressive archaeology and history collections but has very little by way of interpretation or engagement – it seems that visitors are expected to know or understand a certain amount of history, which may be true for local people but is certainly not the case when it comes to international visitors.
I met with Mr Lee the museum’s Director and gave a presentation on Tullie House to his staff. Mr Lee explained that the museum (which is roughly the same size as Tullie House) has 200 staff (Tullie has less than 50) and attracts about 30,000 visitors per year (Tullie has 270,000). Mr Lee showed me the museum’s new temporary exhibition gallery which was displaying a collection of artwork from a famous but recently deceased Chinese artist (which I wasn’t allowed to photograph). The aim was to attract new or repeat visitors to the museum through the temporary exhibition programme. However, Mr Lee felt that this first exhibition wasn’t necessarily a success.
The third museum I visited was directly opposite the Folk Art Museum and was owned by the City Council but run through a management agreement by the Shan family. Mr Shan Snr is a highly regarded artist and successful businessman and his son (my host for the week) runs a business from Guangzhou promoting artists and cultural projects. Mr Shan’s museum is, like the Folk Art Museum, located in an historic house. It features artwork and a fabulous historic book collection but it is also significantly lacking collections and any real purpose. The Shan’s have therefore asked Tullie House for their ideas on how the museum might develop. There may well be more to report on this in the future…
Andrew Mackay, Head of Collections and Programming
Tullie House’s work with museums in China is ongoing – keep an eye out for exciting partnerships and events coming up!
There is only a week left of our What’s In Store: The Curator’s Choice exhibition and our curators Tim and Melanie have been answering some more of the great questions that we’ve been asked during the exhibition.
Hi Grace, thank you for your question – the simple answer is that unfortunately the Tullie House collection doesn’t have any dinosaurs in it. It is possible that there were dinosaurs in Cumbria as Britain was once home to around 100 different types of dinosaur. But there have not be any dinosaur bones found in the county, most of the dinosaur fossils in the UK are found on the South coast, known as the ‘Jurassic Coast’.
We would love to have an exhibition about dinosaurs and always keep an eye out for a suitable exhibition to bring to Carlisle.
One visitor asked “Why is it so dark in the corner?”
Melanie our Curator of Fine and Decorative Art answers “Light levels are kept deliberately low to enable the museum to look after the objects. Some of our objects can be damaged by light which can cause them to fade and lose their original colours“
Our Curator of Archaeology, Tim answered this one “The short answer to this is ‘Yes, they did’.
The Latin word for pig is porcus from which we get the word pork. Study of the animal bones recovered in excavations at Castle Street, in the early 1980s suggested that the animals were slaughtered before reaching the age of three years old which shows that they were being killed for food.
There are also some recipes for cooking pork that have survived from Roman times. The cookbook by Apicius contains a number of these such as one for pork kebabs. Another recipe that survives is for a pork and fig pie. However, many of them state that you need wild boar, which was hunted regularly, but there is no reason why they couldn’t have used domesticated pigs instead.”
Sophie T asked “Why do you have so much Roman stuff? Why not Tudors?”
Tim, who looks after the Roman collection here at Tullie answers “The Romans were here for about 400 years (72/3 AD to 410) and the Tudors for only about 100 years (1485 to 1603).
The Romans also had a large Empire to get stuff from and made things, like pottery, and so there was a lot to leave for us to find. The Tudors didn’t make stuff on such a large scale and so there was less around.
Also much of the Tullie House Collection comes from Hadrian’s Wall. This was only used by the Romans and so there are no Tudor objects from the places like Birdoswald because they did not live there.
There are some items in the museum which date back to Tudor times though, our Reivers gallery contains some pieces from Tudor times, as does our Guildhall Museum – which is a Tudor building in the city centre.”
Abby and Rose Holliday asked “How long has Tullie House been around for, when was it built?”
Melanie told us “The old house was built for the Tullie family in 1689, with the later Victorian extensions added in 1892.”
Tim adds “When these extensions were added it opened to the public and became a museum and Institute for the Arts. The date, 1893, can be seen over the door into the building at the top of the ramp from the garden. Until 1990, it was also the home of Carlisle’s library, which can now be found in The Lanes.
The carving on the stone is called a phallus and represents male creative energy. The Romans believed that this energy could be used to stop bad luck, They carved them onto their buildings to make sure that the buildings would be protected. They are found on many of the surviving building in the forts along Hadrian’s Wall as well as in Roman cities like Pompeii.
Jess P asked “Why do you have dresses?”
“The museum collects dresses amongst other items of clothing because they were often worn by local people and are an important part of human history.”
Kath asked “Can I buy the Dior dress?”
“Sorry Kath, we cannot sell items in the collections. The collections are permanently owned by the city for the benefit of the community today and in the future.”
As ever on #askthecurators the Natural Science collections are making people curious.
Jessica B asked “Where was the shark caught?”
Good question Jessica, our little porbeagle shark was caught just off the Solway Coast in West Cumbria, not far from Carlisle. Porbeagles get their name from the Cornish word por meaning harbour because they are often seen very close to the shore or in harbours.
The porbeagle is native to all coastal regions of the UK. The largest one in Britain was seen just off the coast of Tynemouth in the North East and is thought to have been about 12 feet long, about 4 times bigger than ours!
Jenson asked “Where did the peacock come from?”
Another good question Jenson, this type of peacock is not native to Britain, they were originally from India and Sri Lanka. But rich people in the Victorian times (about 150 years ago) would bring the birds home to keep as pets.
This one was collected from Cumwhitton in 1990.
Thank you all for your great questions on #askthecurators over the last couple of months – we’ve really enjoyed answering them and we’ve even learnt some more things about our objects! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading some of our answers.