MUSEUM MATTERS May 2010
The Newsletter of The Friends of The Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne
See you at our Gala Weekend 11th-13th June
VILLAGE AT WAR SCOOPS TWO HONOURS at 2010 Waterways Renaissance Awards We are delighted to report that the Friends community inspired Village at War event won awards in two out of eleven categories of the 2010 Waterways Renaissance Awards announced in March.
Village at War 2008 & 2009 was runner-up to the Middlewich Vision project in the Community category and received a commended award in the Partnership category won by Mersey Waterfront's Pride in Our Promenades project. The awards ceremony was hosted by Jim Hancock, former BBC Political Editor North-West and judged by an independent assessment panel of waterway, conservation and regeneration experts chaired by Sir Peter Soulsby MP.
Photo: Peter Copeland
Now in their eighth year, the awards, run by The Waterways Trust and BURA (British Urban Regeneration Association), saw a diverse range of projects recognised for their achievements towards revitalising Britain’s inland waterways.
Jenny Copeland, in appropriate 1940s outfit, receives our runner-up award in the Community category from Jim Hancock
Friends Chairman David Blagrove, together with Jenny Copeland, leader of the 2008 and 2009 Village at War or- Canal Museum are now firmly on the regeneration map.” ganising team, attended the presentation ceremony at The Lowry, Salford Quays, in Manchester on 17th March to The Village at War team, under the able chairmanship of Museum Manager David Henderson, is now hard at accept the Friends’ awards. work planning for this year’s event, which it is hoped will David Blagrove said: “These awards are an acknowledge- be bigger and better than ever before. If you can spare a ment of all the hard work put in by volunteers to make Vil- few hours during (or before) the event to help out with lage at War the huge success it is and recognise the value setting up, taking down or during Saturday and/or Sunof our event in promoting the Museum and all that the vil- day, please contact a committee member (details on lage of Stoke Bruerne has to offer. The Friends of the back page). All offers of help will be gratefully received.
SWINGTIME WITH LOLA Our swing dance with Miss Lola Lamour of Village at War 2009 fame had everyone on the dance floor at Roade Village Hall at the end of March and raised around £500 towards the cost of putting on our October event. Well over 100 people turned out, most of them in 40s garb, to enjoy familiar wartime tunes and dance the night away, fortified by a light supper. Our thanks go to Peter and Jenny Copeland and friends for setting up the event, doing the catering and decorating the village hall in appropriate style; to Peter Oates and Laura Sturrock for running the licensed bar; to the washers-up and to all who donated raffle prizes and helped with running the event.
Stoke Bruerne and Shutlanger in the Nineteenth Century Part 3: by David Blagrove In 1867 the last Earl of Pomfret died leaving no male heir and a heavily-mortgaged estate. This last passed to his sister Anna Maria Arabella, married to Sir Thomas George Hesketh Bt, related to a family of North Country industrial magnates. Sir Thomas thenceforward adopted the surname Fermor-Hesketh and, following the death of his wife in 1870, assumed control of the estate. He carried out a certain amount of modernisation of some of the estate farms, including the two in Shutlanger which were said to be in a state of dilapidation.
ily lived, had been built adjoining. By 1846 a brickworks had been opened by George Savage below the second lock with a connecting canal arm. Savage subsequently leased "the Navigation", which closed as a public house and became known as “Home Farm” after 1855. Ebbern seems to have left the area at about the same time and his holding on the canal side was acquired by Savage and John Amos, which latter individual came to live in the mill manager’s house and who subsequently opened a shop, post office and rope walk adjoining it.
It was not a good time in hindsight to be investing large sums in agricultural property. The Grafton improvements had had nearly thirty years of good agricultural prices and rentals, but the depression of the 1870s meant that Sir Thomas and his heirs were saddled with heavy loans and reduced means of servicing them. Not surprisingly the Fermor-Heskeths, being of industrial stock, turned to other means of developing their estates, not least being the extraction of ironstone and limestone.
Custom of whipping shirkers
The son of Sir Thomas, also called Thomas, was involved in a dramatic rescue at sea of a number of citizens of San Francisco off the coast of Mexico in 1880. He was subsequently honoured by the city of San Francisco and at a reception in his honour he met an heiress, Florence Emily Sharon, whose father had made a fortune in the Californian Gold Rush and was said to be the wealthiest man in California. The couple married later that year and the American fortune was of great assistance to the Easton Neston Estate, for Thomas had succeeded his father in 1876.
Corn mill driven by steam A village school was established by the Anglican National School Society in 1838. It was originally supported by subscription. Possibly by way of a riposte, the nonconformists established a Methodist Chapel in Stoke Bruerne in 1846 on land that Joseph Ebbern had acquired from the Duke of Grafton, and in Shutlanger in 1844. At the time of the Inclosure, Ebbern’s land adjoining the canal above Top Lock on the towpath side was unbuilt on, but in 1842 the Canal Company gave him permission to construct a small basin on the land. Within ten years a corn mill, driven by steam, had been opened on the canal side and a row of workers' houses and a manager's house, in which apparently Ebbern and his famA view of the Methodist Chapel at the canal end of Chapel Lane, Stoke Bruerne
From 1834 onwards a significant change took place in the treatment of the villages’ poor. Up to then both villages had relieved their own poor by means of a Poor Rate levied on landowners. Those in receipt of poor relief were dealt with in much the same way as in Elizabethan times, although the custom of whipping shirkers had died out, doubtless to the regret of some of the ratepayers. The Poor Law Amendment Act of that year essentially criminalised poverty by making those persons claiming relief enter a workhouse in order to do so. A number of parishes were combined into Poor Law Unions by this measure and a central workhouse set up for the reception of the poor and destitute. Stoke Bruerne and Shutlanger thus became part of the Towcester Poor Law Union and the old Elizabethan Overseers of the Poor were relieved of most of their duties, to be replaced by a Board of Guardians of the Poor, selected from the chief landowners and ratepayers of the district. These operated through a Parish Relieving Officer and the Master of the workhouse. The Poor Rate for Stoke Bruerne in 1851 raised a total of £261, 16s. 7d. (£261.82), collected by John Grisbrook, licensee of the Boat Inn, and checked by two Overseers of the Poor, John Harwood and John Linnett, this last being the occupier of the farm at Bottom Lock. Although the Act professed to forbid Outdoor Relief (the payment of money or supply of food to persons in their own homes) in favour of the workhouse (or Indoor Relief), the local evidence seems to be that the strictly utilitarian policies behind the passing of the Act were greatly modified by the actions of the local Guardians. The 7 paupers recorded in Shutlanger in 1841 for instance were all aged and presumably infirm, but were relieved at home rather than in the Towcester Workhouse.
Combating outbreak of cholera The Duke of Grafton’s son, the Earl of Southampton, was Chairman of the Board during the 1850s and he is recorded as taking a personal stance in combating an outbreak of cholera in a poor quarter of Towcester in 1854. Similarly, the Earl of Pomfret seems to have been instrumental in ameliorating the more drastic parts of the Act’s requirements. During 1850-51 the Towcester Guardians tried to reduce the cost of administering the Poor Law by reducing the salaries of its officers on the grounds of falling food prices rather than raising the rate but were prevented from doing so by the Poor Law Board in London. ■ Continued opposite
The Poor Rate for Stoke Bruerne in 1851 raised a total of £261, 16s 7d.
Dave Prior will be greatly missed by the canal community Obituary:
The recent death of Dave Prior, whilst not unexpected since he had been in increasingly poor health for some time, has left a large hole in our membership, not least because he had been at the centre of things ever since we first mooted the formation of a Friends organisation in 2005. Dave came to the canal world relatively late in life, having for many years been involved with a much faster sort of interest, namely drag racing. However his personality was such that he very soon fitted in with the general flow of things and quickly became a mover and shaker, even though the pace of the prime movers was somewhat less than what he had been used to. Indeed he soon became involved with traditional working boats and discovered for himself the joys and heartaches of operating commercially on the canals of today. It was not Dave’s style to stand on the periphery of things and, once inaugurated into the canal world, he became deeply involved with IWA, becoming Chairman of the Milton Keynes Branch at a time when a Dave Prior at the start of the 2004 Jam ‘Ole Run at Braunston Marina National Waterways Festival was to be held in the We shall miss his larger-than-life presence as harbour“new city”. He enthusiastically supported the principle of a MK- master at the Stoke Bruerne gatherings; his never-failing Bedford link; became treasurer of the Commercial Boat Operators support for the refurbishment of Sculptor ( the collection Association; and was a vociferous and stalwart supporter of the at his funeral was devoted to the Sculptor maintenance formation of the Friends of the Canal Museum in late 2005. He fund); his jovial and infectious chuckle; but above all his helped out at every large event that the Friends organised and only enthusiasm for whatever tasks came his way. We are all left Council with great regret after his health prevented him from the poorer for his loss. attending Council meetings in winter. David Blagrove
NEWS ROUND-UP GALA WEEKEND A gentle reminder to everyone that our Tombola Stall at the Gala Week‐ end needs as many filled bottles as you can manage. Bring them along on the day or leave them at the Museum in advance. The Tombola, run by Laura and Peter, is one of our main fundraisers, so please make sure you dig deep in your cupboards and unearth what you can for us.
If you can spare an hour or two to help with erecting marquees or man‐ ning car parks, etc — please let David Blagrove or David Henderson at the Museum know. We look forward to seeing you at Stoke Bruerne on 11th‐13th June!
MEMBERSHIP SUBS If you were at the AGM last month, you will already know that after four years of keeping membership rates as low as possible with no in‐ creases, we have put up the subs for some of our membership catego‐ ries. If you haven’t already, please let us have your membership renew‐ als for 2010 at the new rates. If you pay by standing order, these may need to be amended—and if you have paid at the old rate, could you make a top up payment please! Please speak to our Membership Secre‐ tary, Sandie Morton on 01604 858294 if you need assistance. The new individual rates are £15, joint/partners and families £20, students and concessions £10, juniors £5. Life members and corporate members
remain the same. Thank you all for supporting us.
SCULPTOR (by Mike Constable) Progress on the re‐bottoming of Sculptor seems to have been rather tardy, but work to move this forward has been, and is still, going on. The necessary quotations for the work have been very slow to appear and it is not yet clear what the effects of the recent General Election are going to be on the grant giving bodies we need to apply to for additional funds. At the moment not enough money has been raised to even book a place at a yard, so any additional offers will be most welcome. A grant application is in progress.
AUCTION OF PROMISES On Friday 29th October we will be holding an auction at The Boat Inn PH, Stoke Bruerne. The night will kick off with a mock antiques auction, so if you think you know what things are worth, come along and try your hand. A light buffet will follow (raffle to cover cost of food), and then a wealth of valuable lots from holidays in Puglia in Italy to handcrafted pottery, all generously promised by our members and sup‐ porters, will come under the hammer. Don’t miss your chance to bid. Can you donate something? It doesn’t have to be goods—it might be a service you can offer, like painting and decorating or designing a web site. Contact Bill Mann on 07860 619143.
Although the workhouse became a feared institution, it does mark an important development in the history of welfare. Conditions may have been stark and unwelcoming, but at least some sort of medical attention was given, poor children received an elementary education and a modicum of subsistence was given to the inmates. Stoke’s local guardian after the 1840s was George Savage. The Savage family left no tradition of animosity in the villages after George’s death, which again suggests that he was a moderate in his views on dealing with the poor. ■ To be continued
David Blagrove, Chairman of the Friends, writes…
“A momentous time
so far this year” Well, here I am again after an enforced sabbatical, caused by falling over my own rockery and breaking my arm. My grateful thanks to Lorna for stepping quickly into the breach and keeping the general flow of things going. Anyway, thanks to another Stoke Bruerne resident’s professional expertise, I am now well on the way to recovery and the resumption of duties. It has been a rather momentous time so far this year, what with the BURA triumph for Village at War and the latest developments on the waterway scene, so perhaps this would be an appropriate place in which to comment upon developments.
case display, rather than covering cardboard boxes with fabric - a much cheaper but less visitor friendly method of doing the same thing. The Friends’ contribution to enable the purchase of a second new case is much appreciated and both cases are now in position awaiting visitor approval. The display inside them is not yet completed as the cases were only delivered a week before the Easter holiday and it was felt it would be better to have a temporary display in them rather than leave them empty until such time as the new displays could be prepared.”
At our recent AGM I had the sad duty of informing those present of the death of Dave Prior, a founder member of the I mention all this at some length, because in a recent discusFriends and a member of the original Steering Committee sion with Roger Hanbury, The Waterways Trust’s Chief Execuwhich eventually metamorphosed into the Council. A tribute tive, I made the comment that a similar way forward could be of great assistance to British Waterways and he, in principle, to Dave is elsewhere in this edition of Museum Matters. agreed. As many of you will be aware, BW has been considering the possibility of going into what Government calls “The Third Earth-shaking developments Sector” for some little time now. This is in effect a large-scale For those of you who have been following waterways politi- version of what we are attempting here and others are doing at cal developments closely I apologise, but you could be par- Gloucester and Ellesmere Port. There is nothing new in this. doned if you were not aware of the earth (or maybe water)- Over fifty years ago, the Inland Waterways Association was adshaking developments in recent months. For myself I sup- vocating a National Waterways Conservancy that would operate pose it began with the establishment of the Curatorial Group the waterways for the benefit of the people of this country and just over a year ago. At that time, The Waterways Trust’s which would have representation on its management board officer with immediate responsibility for our Museum was persons who understood and cared about them. The fashionable Stuart Gillis. He has sadly moved on, but before doing so he word today for such persons is “stakeholders”, and a dreadful managed to set in motion important changes here and at the word called “mutualisation” has been devised to cover the proctwo other TWT museums. Effectively he advocated giving the ess. local Friends far more responsibility for the museums than “Mutualising” BW had been the case in the past, and the setting-up of the Curatorial Group was one step towards this aim. Hidden away in the recesses of the Treasury’s analysis of the During the last year we have been able to assist far more latest Budget was a recommendation that BW should in fact be effectively than just by putting on events and helping to make “mutualised”, with the added proviso that its property portfolio teas (although these functions are still important). Thanks to should be ring-fenced so as not to be a victim of marauding our professional curatorial team of Mike and Sue Constable, chancellors in future. It would seem that all three major parliaour volunteers have been able to get to grips with all sorts of mentary parties are agreed on this, which is certainly a consumlong-overdue improvements and projects within the Mu- mation devoutly to be wished. Of course since waterways only seum, and the whole morale of the Museum and its staff has make news when someone drowns or a politician thinks he or soared as the future has become more secure. she can obtain some kudos from espousing a single issue, the Along with this has gone the sterling efforts of our own media barely touched upon this highly significant step. In the conservation team, also led by Mike and Sue, during last win- run-up to the General Election it would seem that this is one ter. A major overhaul of the first floor has taken place; the non-contentious and statesman-like act that can be credited to model boat case now appears much brighter; and I can do no the outgoing Government, which in all fairness has otherwise more than to quote Mike himself: “It has been a particularly done very little either for our Museum or for the waterways. successful year, Highly Commended Certificate for Collections Care being awarded by Renaissance East Midlands, a grant towards new cases from a different part of the same organisation and a further much smaller grant right at the end of the financial year to clear a possible underspend. This latter grant was used to provide case furniture to enhance the
In the light of what is now likely to happen along the whole waterway system (at least that operated by BW), it is encouraging to know that we, in our small way, have set a template that may be followed on a much grander scale. I can just recall a cartoon by the great Giles that appeared at the time when the railways were nationalised in 1948. ■ Continued on back page
Curatorial Report by Mike Constable New display cases for the Museum Although not yet completely reorganised, the two new display cases, partly funded by the Friends and also Renaissance East Midlands, are now in place on the First Floor. In particular the case on the front wall allows full visibility from three sides but is much easier to open from a curatorial point of view. New interpretation panels for both cases will be prepared soon, but along with the repainted and redisplayed model boats display, this winter’s work by the Collections Care Team has produced a startling improvement. All of the old cases have been painted externally, some improvements to the lighting have been carried out and a few adjustments made to the layout. New interpretation panels to bring the rest of the wartime displays to that floor will fol- Top right: The model low shortly, but the arrival of the new display boats case cases hindered their preparation before the Easter has been comcut off dates we were working to. pletely Well worth a visit to see the difference.
Right and left: The new display cases await final touches, such as labelling
The accounts for the Friends of the Canal Museum Trading Company Ltd and for the Friends Charity for the year ended 31 March 2010 have now been prepared. These were presented to the AGM and are available to any member who would like to see them.
FINANCIAL UPDATE Reported by Friends’ Treasurer Laura Sturrock
A very brief summary of the limited company accounts shows the profits made at our events in the last year: £ Gala 2009 1,826 Village at War 2009 3,615 Blisworth Tunnel Anniversary 2009 175 Swing Dance 2010 596 The limited company donated £5,690 to the Friends Charity. The Charity made donations to the Museum of £1,150 and paid expenses such as insurance, travel and the BURA award costs. The surplus for the year was £5,044. Also, during the year £5,381 was donated to the Sculptor Restoration Appeal. At 31 March 2010, the balances held by the Friends Charity were: General fund Sculptor restoration appeal Sculptor maintenance fund
£ 10,518 6,474 498
The Waterways Trust holds £2,990 for the Sculptor restoration appeal bringing the total Sculptor funds to £9,962.
Message from Museum Manager David Henderson brings us up to date March 2010 Visitors (people)
Café (£) Retail (£) TOTAL
2038 2851 8310
2500 4000 9930
3015 3371 9594
(2%) (29%) (16%)
(32%) (15%) (13%)
Admissions (£) Café (£) Retail (£) TOTAL
9450 7131 7663 24224
8000 5000 8500 21500
8176 6464 7802 22442
18% 43% (10%) 13%
16% 10% (2%) 8%
OVERVIEW: The above tables are generally self‐explanatory Financial
The Museum struggled to achieve its budget in March due to the adverse weather. However, in April we were fortunate to have a very busy Easter and school holidays period. April 2010 has been a very good trading month, exceeding budget by 13% and 2009 by 8%. The Museum took 163 Gift Aids in April, thus contributing an extra £490 to the income.
I am now an active committee member of the Northamptonshire Museum Forum. I am involved in the production of a Forum booklet with Northamptonshire County Council’s Head of Libraries and the Manager of Sulgrave Manor.
The Museum is now part of a Cultural Olympiad Project: Museums, Historic Houses and Heritage sites for Northamptonshire. The pro‐ ject is a partnership between the Museums Forum and Northamp‐ tonshire County Council.
Visitor numbers were down by 16% in March compared to 2009 and down by 2% in April compared to 2009. Timothy West and The Museum will be opening late on May 15th (5pm to 8pm) to sup‐ Prunella Scales visited the Museum on Tues 20th April while on a port an initiative to have museums open their doors to the public early evening. The Stoke Bruerne Boat Co. has agreed to continue boating holiday. running boat trips that evening if there is sufficient demand. Business and Promotions New Café Range The Stoke Bruerne village leaflet, paid for by all the local busi‐ nesses, was produced on time and was distributed to shopping The products in the café have now been improved. We now sell malls, hotels, tourist information centres and libraries in March fresh cakes made locally in Shutlanger and the sandwiches are now prior to Easter. The Easter activities were promoted through Get supplied by Ginsters and they appear to be better quality. Why not Smart Distribution, Primary Times magazine (with a free editorial) pop in and try a cake and sandwich? Prices range from £2.95p to and newspapers in Northampton and Milton Keynes. We printed £2.45p depending on cake and sandwich fillings. 2–for–1 vouchers in all these promotions, especially as summer Overall th prices were introduced on March 27 . We received 85 vouchers We managed to achieve a surplus for last year despite the worst and feedback from visitors was very positive. winter in 30 years. April has started very well and the weather has The Canal Museum been kind. We are looking forward to a busy season and the first The new signs (replacing National Waterways Museum ) were big event, the Gala Weekend in June, is not far way. Thank you to all installed in late March and the local community seems pleased to The Friends and volunteers who continue to help us. return to the old name. The local paper wrote a half page feature on the name change, with photograph, and I was interviewed for National Volunteers Week five minutes by BBC Radio Northampton. So, with the Easter mar‐ st th keting campaign and free public relations, the Museum has gained National Volunteers week is 1 to 7 June. Anyone interested in helping in the Museum should contact David or Louise. We would maximum publicity for little cost. love someone with computer skills. We want to Twitter and Face‐ Training book but have neither the knowledge or time. Great experience for I have gained a City & Guilds Level 2 Award in Welcome Host a young person to become involved in a real business and we would (Customer Service). The team have all received refresher training provide a great reference for your CV when you are searching for a in customer care & health & safety, especially related to security. job.
Regular Friends talks meetings take place throughout the winter, normally on the third Thursday of the month in the schoolroom at the rear of the Museum. More details are published on our website and in newsletters. A donation is appreciated to help cover expenses.
Please put the following dates in your diaries:
Monday 31st May — Sunday 6th June Family Week at the Museum
Vice-Chairman Lorna York
Membership Secretary Sandie Morton
Sunday 6th June Sunbeam Motorcycle Rally. Vehicles arrive around 9.30am,
leave and then return again at approx 2.30pm
Publicity, Newsletter & Website
Thursday 10th June at 7.30pm Mikron Theatre—’Striking the Balance’. Bring a chair and blanket (in the marquee). Donations please.
Our representative on the
Museums Management Board Roy Sears
Volunteer Co-ordinator: Vacant Other David Henderson (ex-officio seat), David Griffin, Jenny Copeland, Bill Mann, John Alderson, Brian Collings
Events Sub-Committees Dennis Atkinson, David Blagrove, Bill Mann, Alan Ricketts, Mike Partridge, David Henderson (occasional), Kevin Cousins, Barbara Everest, Jennifer Chybalski, Lynda Payton (occasional), John Alderson, Rick Thake, Jenny McCalman, Roy Sears, Tim Carter, Laura Sturrock, Jenny Copeland and Michael Butler
Non-Committee Post Roger Hasdell - Joint Newsletter Editor
Chairman’s Notes continued: A bunch of shivering commuters was huddled in a waiting room and one of them was saying to a uniformed railwayman words to the effect, “Now that we own the blessed things, can we have a fire in our waiting room please!” Well, we have also owned the waterways since 1948 and sometimes this has not seemed to register with the operators, although we taxpayers have always picked up the bill. Now, with even the grant-in-aid in jeopardy through financial cutbacks, we may be able to light our own fires in our waiting rooms, or paint our locks, or clean up our own canalsides. For those who worry that such a volunteer input would threaten jobs, I merely point to the improved morale among the retained BW staff. There is more than enough work for willing volunteers as well as skilled bank staff. Should this happy state of affairs materialise along the waterways, you, our members, may congratulate yourselves on showing the way in which it may be accomplished. The recent award ceremony at Salford Quays was as glittering an occasion as we can probably expect in the world of
Friday 11th – Sunday 13th June Put the dates in your diary. It's another Gala Weekend at Stoke Bruerne. See website and Page 6 for more details Thursday 16th September at 8pm Talk TBC in the Museum schoolroom Saturday 18th — Sunday 19th September Introduction to Traditional Canal Painting Techniques course. Advance booking essential. £85 per person. 10am-4pm each day. Telephone Museum 01604 862229
Friday 1st — Sunday 3rd October Dust off your gas masks for a repeat of our successful Village at War Weekend. Thursday 14th October at 8pm Liam D’arcy-Brown talking about the Grand Canal of China, in the Museum schoolroom. Friday 29th October at 7.30pm Auction of Promises, The Boat Inn PH, Stoke Bruerne. See News Round-Up on page 3 for more details. the waterways. The real achievement though is that, thanks to the efforts of Jenny and her team, the Friends, Stoke Bruerne and the Museum are now firmly on the radar of those organisations who control funding. The Stoke Bruerne Partnership, of which we are members, has a number of forward-looking plans for the canal environment that can only enhance the experience of both villagers and visitors, but what it lacks so far is money. Such projects as the entry of our event into the Waterway Renaissance Awards are an important step towards unlocking the sort of funding that is needed if we are to progress ever further with providing such improvements.
“Skills and patience” At this stage I must also remark that we should have got nowhere had it not been for the skills and patience of Lynda Payton in setting out the portfolio that was presented to the judges. Probably the most important part of this portfolio was the driestseeming. Lynda took the trouble to organise a questionnaire/poll of village organisations that had benefited from the Village at War event and this provided most interesting evidence of how what we are all doing benefits the community. So thanks once more to Lynda!
The Friends of The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne may not agree with opinions expressed in this newsletter, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official statement unless so stated. The Friends of The Canal Museum accept no liability for any matter, errors or omissions contained within this newsletter. We will, however, gladly publish corrections if notified. The editors reserve the right to shorten or modify articles published in the interests of clarity or space.