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A multimedia arts project celebrating peoples stories through artefacts, words, audio, photography and moving image

Curate Your Own session at The Place CafĂŠ, Airedale




CONTENTS Foreword 4 Introduction 5 Curiosities, Toys and Trinkets 8 Jewellery and Decorative 13 Sound, Musical and Moving Image 18 Everyday Objects 22 Photography and Art 32 The People’s Museum 46 This book is dedicated to the memory of Emily Harper, fondly known as Little Em, who fell asleep 97 years young.


Foreward John Whitaker Museums are spaces where people can come

the importance of people’s own history. The

to get a sense of their place in the bigger

museum are pleased to have supported

picture of history. Objects reflect back the

One to One Development Trust in delivering

experience of our own lives, or those who’ve

the Curate Your Own book, film and virtual

lived before us, ensuring a continuum in a

museum project.

larger society and culture. The artefacts in a museum can trigger memories, like a

The staff in all of the Wakefield, Pontefract

collective memory box, often validating

and Castleford Museums are here to welcome

people’s own personal everyday experiences

you. We would like to invite you into the

as important and worthwhile.

museums to look, reflect, learn, enjoy quiet time and answer any questions you may have.

For me, one of the highlights of the Curate Your Own project was meeting the project

John Whitaker

participants, many whom said they do not


visit museums very often, and seeing the joy

Wakefield Museum

and excitement that the everyday objects on display in our museum evoked in them. There were moments of pure joy where faces lit up and memories were shared and celebrated.

“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.”

Curate Your Own has beautifully captured a

- Oscar Wilde

while looking at objects, or handling items,

sense of excitement and interest in exploring 4

The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895 Mary and Wendy enjoying the exhibits

Introduction Judi Alston Curate Your Own has been a wonderful

Development Trust and Wakefield Museums

Curate Your Own has encouraged its

project working with people to create an

asking people to tweet, Facebook or text

contributors to take a moment out of their

online virtual museum, a book and two short

photographs and stories about their special

normal routine, to stop, self-reflect and think

films. The material has been gathered through

objects. This encouraged a wider interest

about an object that signifies something

sessions in reminiscing, storytelling, film

in the project and a different cohort of

special in their life, then creatively share its

making and photography run in community


story. Thank you to everyone who has taken

venues. Participants brought along objects to

part in this project and supported it.

the workshops to talk about, which led to the

The People’s Museum is a creative,

building of a collective memory box and that

experimental environment that is inspired by

Judi Alston

became known as ‘The People’s Museum’.

the stories and artefacts that came forward

Creative Director

through Curate Your Own. We would like you

One to One Development Trust

Trips were organised to Wakefield and

to join Poppy the museum cat, to explore it

March 2014

Castleford Museums. Under the expert guide

online at your leisure. This book is a catalogue

of curators John Whitaker at Wakefield

of some of the items and stories available

Museum and Dave Evans at Castleford

from the online version of the project.

Museum, the participants had fun hearing about the collections and exploring their own

There is a fundamental inquisitiveness in

stories and memories in the context of the

the human condition that enjoys hearing the

museum collections.

stories of other people and getting glimpses into other peoples lives. Curate Your Own

Further contributions to the project were

celebrates these snap shots of life from the

gathered through social media by promoting

everyday to the more curious.

the collaboration between One to One

Poppy who sadly passed away during the project at the young age of 16 and inspired the People’s Museum virtual cat. 5




Curiosities, Toys and Trinkets

Vanna Barber Chameleon A quirk of Natural History collections is that specimens without ‘providence’ (i.e. those that lack background documentation), are often of little scientific value and consequently fall out of circulation in museum displays. In 2009, shortly after completing a degree in Zoology, I picked up some collections management work sorting

Bringing young and older members of the community together in Curate Your Own worked well. This communication between the generations builds a strong sense of community and cohesion. 68% of the participants said they ‘enjoyed spending time with people of different ages’. “Makes my heart smile seeing the old folk light up over their past memories.” Holly Ellis 6

through several thousand zoological specimens which had been languishing in a store room for over 50 years in the biology department of my old university. I found this specimen of a chameleon hidden behind a bunch of ropey looking frog dissections and decided it was a keeper. However, because it lacked the necessary paperwork, the Professor overseeing the work decided it could not be kept and would need to be ‘deaccessioned’ (museum speak for ‘chucked out’). In the end, though, he decided to gift it to me as a reward for my hard work on the project. I now work for an amphibian and reptile charity and have used this specimen in a number of talks on adaptation. I’m always happy when I get to do this because, perhaps rather ironically for a long-dead lizard, it feels like I have given the specimen a new lease of life!

Anne Thorley Doll

Hannah Furlong Pot Horse

Rebekah Eyles Flower Girl I got this item nearly 16 years ago after my

I found him in a junk shop. Felt sorry for him.

great nannan died. When I was young she

Everyone hates him - I love him. I’ve rescued

would tell me things about when she was a

him from the scrap yard.

little girl (she was born in 1904) and what a rough life she lived. It’s special to me for two reasons: firstly, it belonged to a very special person who was loved by everyone and she lived until she was 94! Secondly, it reminds me about the different times in history we

I have no idea where this doll came from,

I desperately tried to win this pot horse

she’s just always been with me. She reminds

on a tombola aged five but ran out

me of my childhood and times when there

of money so the lady gave me him.

was no need to worry, just

He became the first ever present I

time to play, that’s why

gave to my grandma, who looked

she means a lot to me.

after him until her last day... and now he stands in my room looking after me.

both grew up in, how change has to happen and that we have to accept change even if we don’t like it.

Nancy Holme Scottish Decanter

Clair Mason Clown

Irene Hargreaves Doll

This clown doll is so special to me. My granny

I never had a dolly when I was little, we

and granddad had a craft business where

couldn’t afford one. When my sister and

they made little peg dolls. My granddad

I were in our teens, my mother bought us

used to make the wooden parts and paint

each a little celluloid dolly, I don’t think you

their faces, and my granny would make their

can buy them now. My mother knit all these

clothes and hair. We’d spend hours helping

clothes and I have treasured this dolly my

make them and have wonderful fond

whole life because she did it with her own

memories of being little and helping out at craft fairs. This doll takes me back to a special place in my heart, my grandparents instilled in me a creativity and love of making things.

This is Bonny Lad. My husband, Frank, bought him for me when I was 32; we’d just got married and were living in Scotland. We moved with the pits as Frank was a miner, Bonny Lad has always come with us and lives at the end of the fireplace. 8

hands. I’m sorry she’s passed on now, bless her.

Nancy at the Addy, Knottingley

Irene Rhodes Viking

Judi Alston Three Wise Monkeys

When I was 14 or so, my local friends went

something – despite the attention he was

to the local school but I didn’t. I heard them

receiving from all the girls at his school he

talking about a boy everyone fancied:

asked me.

his name was John Mackie. There was excitement one evening because we were

That was 44 years ago. My little Viking

all going somewhere and he would be there.

survives, missing one horn from his helmet

He was about a year above us all at school.

and his arm that was originally carrying a

I had never seen him but everyone else was

spear. He is faded and his glue is all but

interested in him.

gone so bits of him are always dropping off, but he survives.

We went to the event and at some point he came over, sat

He has never had a name

down and started chatting – to ME!

but my granddaughter

He was cool and he wore John Lennon

saw him for the first


time and said he should be called David.

He walked me home that night

So let him be David. But

and asked if we could go out the

his surname will always

following day. We went into town

be Mackie.

together and he bought me this little wooden Viking figure. Our romance didn’t last very long, but it always felt sweet that he took me out and bought me 10

The Three Wise Monkeys, ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’, belonged to my nan, then to my Auntie Eileen, and then when she died, my mum gave it to me. From being very young I’d always been fascinated by this ornament and now love the representation it signifies across many different cultures and centuries. I always wondered which wise monkey I could be.

Doreen Zacharow Acrobatic Doll

Clair Mason Cats Here are my two bling cats. I love them! I had a massive cull of all my things but these got to stay. I love cats and my two real cats have been my constant companions for the last 16 years.

My dad bought me this wind-up doll when I was one, so she’s 78 years old now. I thought she was great, although I was never allowed to wind her up in case I broke her. My mam stopped me playing with the doll because my two sisters and I, and my mates, used to go up on the Rec, where the swings

My bling cats, well, they please my eyes and heart. The way they glimmer in the sun makes me smile. I think I must have been a magpie in a former life because I am partial to all things shimmery.

were, and climb up to try and do acrobatics like the doll was doing. My mate finished up with broken leg and a dislocated shoulder.


Members and volunteers of The Addy Luncheon Club visit Wakefield Museum

Tracey Yates Teddy

Debra Atkinson Doll

Teddy was made for me by my auntie. He

To make the hair my gran used to wind wool

was a gift to me at my birth. This means

round a knitting needle and then leave it a

Teddy is now... cough... years old – which

little bit, before taking it off and chopping

I’m told is very good for a bear with very

it up for little curls.

little stuffing! He’s gone bald in patches from being loved so much, and his nose is dirty and stained, from years of having Vicks VapoRub put on it whenever I had a cold.

My granddad used to paint the faces and make the doll, then my gran used to make all the clothes and things on her sewing machine, like a little

Teddy went everywhere with

pillow and things.

me: he has been on planes, trains, boats, bicycles and even roller-skates, usually in a rucksack. Now he resides on the top of my bookcase. He’s so

They used to go to craft-fairs, and make scenes with props, like old washing mangles, and have peg dolls working on them.

fragile these days and I worry he may fall apart, but the little girl in me is sad that he isn’t hugged anymore.





Jewellery and Decorative A lot of participants said that they didn’t think anyone would be interested in their artefact or story. ‘You don’t want me to take a picture of this silly old thing do you?’; ‘Why are we filming this, noone will be interested’ – but the rest of the group listened on expectantly saying, ‘Yes we are, come on!’

Jeanie Humphries Locket

It’s a bracelet from my great gran. She was struggling to pay the bills, so she started getting lodgers, and then she had a really bad accident where she fell off a bus and lost her leg. She had to have a wooden leg put on. She kept on with the lodgers and made a bit This was my mother’s locket, I don’t know where it came from but it has a foreign face

“It is wonderful for everyone to get together doing something different and a chance to reminisce.” Shelly McIntyre 14

Amelia Treasure Bracelet

carved in it. I’m 91 so it must be over 100 years old. I got it when she died, and inside there are photographs of my mum, and me and my husband. He was in the Navy, we met in Belfast but he was from Knottingley. My mother loved him and this locket is what I treasure most now.

of money and that’s how she bought this. It’s not proper gold, but it has got maybe a little bit in it…

Douglas Chance Medals

I was a coachman for the Queen, serving for

interview for the palace’. I said

35 years. This is from the Queen herself, that’s

‘right, you’re on’. So I wrote for an

a personal medal, very few people get that

interview, expecting nothing at all, but I got

I turned round, and the Queen said to him, ‘do

one. RVM – Royal Victoria Medal it was first

a letter from Buckingham Palace to go for an

you know him?’ He said, ‘yes, Ma’am’. She said,

brought in by Queen Victoria. That one was


‘why do you call him Jingles?’ He said ‘I gave him that name when he was 14 years old, and

when I rode on the coaches on the Jubilee, and that was after my first 20 years in service.

There was a fella there called the Master of

he used to hunt with me down on my estate

the Horse, I used to go hunting with him and

with Captain Gerald Balding’. Then the Queen

It was funny how I got the job – it was a bet.

my bosses when I was 14 years old. He was

said, ‘I’ll always call him Jingles from now’. All

I was in racing stables as a jockey and my

with the Queen and, when he saw me in the

the years I was with her she always called me

mate said, ‘I bet you 10 quid you can’t get an

yard, he said, ‘Jingles!’

Jingles. 15

Fran Campbell Jewellery Box

Helen Watkiss Rosary

Jeanette Homer Medal This is my dad’s Carlsberg Trophy Darts League Winner, 1971, Robin Hood & District. He always wanted to be a professional darts player – he never got there, but he won loads of big trophies and went all round the country playing at clubs.

This is a little jewellery box that my son, Andy, made me years ago. Much treasured. It has the original cotton wool in which is yellowing a bit now!

My great grandmother was posthumously charged with murdering her child when she drowned herself and baby. This rosary belonged to another daughter, my granny, who also had a hard life. Her faith was her comfort and I treasure this because it was her fingers and thumb that smoothed away the figure on the cross. 16

This medal has the Carlsberg logo on it. He used to make his own flights out of paper, folding them like origami – you used to make your own and have them weighted, because they’re all different weights.

Wendy Gordon Necklace

This is my ‘head’ necklace which I bought about 20 years ago. I’d like to say it was from somewhere exotic but it’s from a shop in Wells, although I believe it was carved in South Africa. I fell in love with the serene look on the head. It’s carved in an aromatic wood which smells delicious when it gets warm. I’ve worn it lots over the years and it has accompanied me on many adventures. I treasure it and it’s one of the few things I own that I’d be heartbroken if I ever lost.

Sarah from Airedale enjoying the Men in the Mirror exhibition at Wakefield Museum




Sound, Musical and Moving Image Curate Your Own has gathered artefacts, photos and recorded stories from a diverse range of participants, 17 to 97 years old. The collection spans nearly 150 years.

Dean Hinchliffe Cine Camera This is my Eumig Viennette Super 8 cine

and family, I made animations using Plasticine

camera that I bought at the age of 11 in 1976

models and I filmed air-shows at RAF

for £105. I bought it from Tasker’s camera

Finningley. I didn’t film nearly as much as I

shop in Barnsley. This was my second cine

would have liked because each film cartridge

camera as I had begun my filmmaking life

cost about £7.50 and was only three-and-

using a 1960s Bell & Howell standard 8

a-half minutes in

camera, but I soon outgrew that

duration. I now

one and needed something

have a small

with a little more

archive of our

‘power’. To pay

early life to

for it I had two

look back on

paper-rounds and worked in a

and I have fond memories of making

joinery on Saturday

those short silent films. For


me, however, I think the most

I had had an interest in making films

camera is that it pretty much

important thing about this from an early age and was always

“It was very interesting and unexpected to see things that I knew about from my past.” Emily Harper

fascinated how television

to pan out for the next

programmes were made. I used

(nearly) 40 years as I

to build models of sets on my

pursued a career making

bedroom windowsill, complete with stage lighting, and pretend to make TV shows. I filmed friends


defined how my life was

films and working in the media industry.

Holly Ellis Xylophone

Lorraine Mitchell Record My dad used to like rooting round the secondhand shops and I remember so clearly the excitement of my mother when she found this album and asked dad if she could have it. I could only have been about 10 so this was 44 years ago. We took it home and, as soon as I heard it, I understood why she loved Josef Locke so much. (He was an Irish tenor who sang in operettas like The White Horse Inn and Pirates of Penzance. On this

I found him in a junk shop and felt sorry for him. Everyone hates him – I love him. I’ve rescued him from the scrap-yard.

album he sings Violetta – the ‘Cornetto’ song – in English and I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen, and When You Were Sweet Sixteen). He did his own orchestration and the songs have such drama in their presentation. I played the album recently and the passion still brings tears to my eyes. I feel it is the one thing that identifies the part of me that is my mum. 19

Tony Wade Banjo

Don Atkinson BBC Microphone

My grandfather’s banjolele. He used it to

The reason I treasure the AXBT microphone

accompany himself whilst breaking wind.

is that it is the symbol of British broadcasting


and is the microphone used by past Kings and statesmen, plus other famous people in the BBC’s history. So many archive BBC photographs of shows, like The Goon Show, and others have this microphone in prominence. Fortunately I obtained it by swapping another antique mic for the one in the picture. It still works and sounds rich and round and is a tribute to British manufacturing too. The microphone was manufactured for the BBC in the UK and is a type called a ribbon microphone. I suppose it is possible that someone like Winston Churchill or King George VI may have spoken into this one. I believe it came from an outlet called BBC redundant stores who sold off old BBC stock.


Sample Caption on Photo

Trying on bloomers staff and volunteers from The Addy




Everyday Objects Many of the project’s participants had not been to a museum before, or only ‘years ago as a child’. This engagement into the museum for local residents (and subsequently their families) is exciting, encourages aspiration and promotes confidence.

Jacqueline Sharp Hot Water Bottle & Weighing Spoon

The hot water bottle belonged to my nana and granddad. It’s a reminder of childhood visits to their house in the 1960s. They had an outdoor toilet, no bathroom and no heating in the bedrooms, but they were very happy times. Nana helped us bake scones and coffee

“What a great project, brilliant trip and opportunity to see new things, meet new people and enjoy a lovely time.” Hannah Inanvschak


Colette Welby Clock

kisses. This was her measuring spoon.

This is the clock that used to hang in our lounge when I was growing up, marking the passage of our lives. I used to imagine it belonged on a ship... It no longer works and the braid has frayed but still it tells me of a time in my life, shared by those who are no longer here.

Terry Campbell Bowl

Doreen Zacharow Brass Bag

Louise O’Neil Shaving Mug

Once I went with a friend to her sister’s house and we got talking about stuff, and she says ‘do you like handbags?’ I says ‘yes’, and she says ‘I’ve got one you can have’. Well, I’d never seen anything like it, I were 36. She opened it up and I took it like and, when I used to have it, I hung it up on a hook at the side of my fireplace, and everybody passed remarks about it. I had plenty of offers to sell it, but I This bowl is very special to me – it brings

says no.

My grandfather’s (Pop) shaving mug that

back lovely memories of my mum and dad

sat on their bathroom windowsill with his

every time I look at it. For as long as I can

shaving brush, razor and full of creamy white

remember this beautiful and colourful bowl

soap. I can remember the smell. It was odd

was on display on the shelves at their house

to me as a child as my dad (the Hippy) had a

in Halifax. I don’t know just when or how they

beard so didn’t shave and this represented

obtained it (or if it is of any monetary value),

something I had no connection with – being a

though it must be very old now. It now has

girl – and from my Pop’s generation of ‘short

pride of place in our home in Lincolnshire.

back and sides/clean shaven’. He always had another shave Sunday evening when he and nan went out to the pub and this was when I often would see him using it. Now it sits in my bathroom and connects me to him and his generation. 23

A warm welcome from Wakefield Museum’s curator John Whitaker

Hazel Richardson A Letter

I found this with all my mum’s paperwork

and give us the wisdom that we may find

after she died as she’d left it for me and my

happiness in the small things of life, and make

sister. It’s her handwriting, and it’s a prayer

us faithful in all we do.

and a message. I’ve laminated it to try and keep it in one piece, it was fading and getting

‘Farewell, dear children, my life is passed. I

broken. It’s quite poignant

loved you dearly to the last. Weep not for me, nor sorrow take, but love each other for my

‘Dear Father, whose will it is that their

sake. Love, Mum.’

children should dwell in peace and unity, help us to live bravely and cheerfully, and to show

I don’t read it very often but that is something

loving kindness to all. Grant that we may do

that nobody gets their hands on that, that’s

Navigating over

the work that was given us with willing hearts


Charles Waterton’s famous caiman


Mary Iverson Shoes

Debra Atkinson Coupons & Badges

My dad found these shoes in the wall of an

My gran used to save us all these coupons,

old hospital that he was knocking down. I

most of them expired in 1990, and these were

think they are really old – apparently in the

what we used to buy and sell.

olden days they used to put shoes into a wall for good luck as a custom. What was

We’d line our dolls up as customers, and

weird was when my dad got home he was

me and my sisters used to fight to be the

working on our house and knocked one of


our walls down and found a baby’s shoe buried in the wall. It was really weird.

My granddad used little off-bits of wood to paint up as sweets and put them in jars, and we used to have my gran’s big scales, those you had to put a weight on to weigh things. We used to sell little badges, anything that we could find to sell, like this I Love Wimpy party badge and Naughty Uncle Wally & Wendy.


Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.

Mary and Amelia sharing stories at The Place Cafe, Airedale

Vicky Verster Coffee Grinder

Jeanette Homer Crochet Patterns

It’s my grandma’s coffee grinder. I have no idea how she got it but I do think it’s very old. She was strict and very old-fashioned. All the rules and manners that I learnt were more from my grandmother than my mum. I used to stay at my grandma’s a lot and I learnt to cook with her.

I like crocheting because it’s colourful, making blankets out of knit squares is a great idea as it gets rid of all your scraps of wool, and it is functional as well. In the old days it gave us something to do on winter nights, it used to take our mind off being cold because we didn’t have central heating. We had ice on the inside of the windows. But now we can’t afford to put our central heating on, so we’re making these kind of things again.

Jeanette at 28

The Place Café, Airedale

Hazel Richardson Spoons

Fran Campbell Bible

Sarah Ellis Plate

I have a thing about spoons, I collect spoons. Don’t ask why, just for some obscure reason they appeal to me. I have about 200 at home but I can pick them all out straight away. Spoons are historical – when the grandkids come they get them out, often they pick the ones with the pretty pictures, and you can indirectly teach them a little bit of history.

This is a 1960’s cheap plate that came from Woolworths, it was popular at the time. When my daughters were little they used to eat their tea off it. Now it hangs on the wall and is quite This is my very first Bible. My mum bought it

iconic as a piece of retro chic.

for me when I was 10 years old. It has lovely coloured pictures in and, though pretty worn now, it always reminds me of my mum.

The Barber’s Boy


Sarah exploring Wakefield Museum

Martin Young Book

Rachel Wilcox Plate

David Grice Male Hair Product

This is a dessert plate from a tea set I inherited from my grandma, Isabel. It’s called Bird of Paradise and was made for Harrods by the Plant Company in their Tuscan range. She was given it as a wedding present when A marvellous tome, and a recent acquisition of mine in a ‘J.R. Hartley’ manner... a glorious compendium that has been both in my life, and out of it, over the decades. But I am pleased to report that this first edition from 1936 is now firmly in my grasp, and so it will remain. A most treasured item, indeed.

she married Leslie in 1935. I am particularly attached to it because my grandma taught me to cook and to enjoy making ‘proper’ food. Her anecdotes and recollections of food,

I’m a traditional barber and have been a collector of male grooming items for 47 years. This is a famous dressing called bear’s grease, and it came from the oil of bears, a very repugnant smell that had to have perfumes and oils added to it. This is from 24 Old Bond Street, London, and it cost 2 shillings and six pence.

meals and recipes also prompted my love of food history and collecting old cookery books. Although they don’t get used very often, I do occasionally use them when I make a real oldfashioned high tea. 31




Photography and Art Evidence of the impact of Curate Your Own has been gathered through evaluation, questionnaires and interviews. 76% of the participants from community venues said that they ‘wouldn’t have come to a museum if it hadn’t have been for the Curate Your Own trip’ and 96% said they ‘hoped to return with family or friends’. “Never been anywhere so magnificent!” Harry Swallow 32

Marcus Romer Billy Casper This is a screen print by Martin Young, bought at an art fair in Glasshoughton in 1996. It was the first piece of original art I bought. I have continued collecting art ever since and this print has always been on the wall in our houses.

Douglas Chance Photograph - Queens Carriage

Margaret Carr Photographs - Family

The Queen wouldn’t stand any clutter. If you spoke to her, you

My niece took this photo of my brother just before he died. His

spoke to her as down-to-earth, nobody taking the mickey, nobody

name was John Robertston and it’s the only photo I have of him.

trying to be Jack the Lad. She’s too wise for that one. My other photo is my great grandson, Noah Carr, who I’ve only I’m not used to smiling. We were never allowed to. You never smile

seen once. He has a little brother now, but I may never see him

on State occasions.

as they live down south somewhere. I just wish them to be happy and rich.


Hazel Richardson Photographs - Family This is my grandma, her surviving brothers and all her sisters in about 1902. Unfortunately, the two other brothers died in the First World War. One was on Her Majesty’s ship Good Hope during the Battle of Corona, and it was blown up and he didn’t survive. The other brother was at Arromanches in the trenches and he never came home. It is a very special picture – it’s my family, and it means something. It’s not

This is my mother, my grandma, my sister

often you see a whole family like that.

and myself in Blackpool. We were going up the Tower and I remember sitting on the floor of the lift screaming, as I didn’t want to go. I don’t do heights and I didn’t want to go up the Tower – I still don’t like heights, even now. I didn’t like Blackpool, I didn’t like the piers. I could see down and they had to walk me more or less from one end of the Golden Mile to the other until they found proper steps. I wouldn’t go down the wooden steps because I could see through, and I would sit on the promenade and scream.

Hazel at the Addy, Knottingley

June Copely Photograph - Daughter This is my daughter and the photo is about 49

Emily Cohoon Photograph – South Africa

Barbara Wells Photograph – Friends This is me. I was born in Ferrybridge and it

years old. I took her to a studio in Pontefract

was a proper village back then, I mean there

to have the photo taken.

weren’t the motorways there are now.

I like this photo and the frame, which my

I’m sat with my auntie’s dog, Blitz, a big

nephew’s wife bought for me for Christmas.

Alsatian – they wouldn’t allow that nowadays.

Sadly my nephew’s wife died of cancer a few years ago.

My son-in-law and daughter work in this village, he works in the mines. It’s my granddaughter and me in the photo. I’ve been nine times, the first time when we were there, my husband died. It’s a gorgeous country and I really like it, it’s beautiful but I’d miss home too much to emigrate there.


June and Sam sharing memories at Wakefield Museum

Helen Monks Wall of Photographs

Maureen Ward Photograph - Caravan

Piccies of our family on my dining room wall, includes my

We were really really lucky because at that time most people we

three, and goes back to my mother’s grandparents and my

knew didn’t go on holiday they just did day trips. My Dad bought this

hubby’s grandparents.

for a few pounds, it was like an old railway carriage but thats how caravans looked back then.

This is who we are, they watch over us while we eat. That’s my Mum, my sister and my brother, and I don’t know where I am. We used to walk from Sewerby on the sands down to Bridlington. Once I found ten shillings that was brilliant, you know in those days, it kept us going for the rest of the week.


Harry at the Addy, Knottingley

Harry Swallow Photographs - Cut Throat and Brimham Rocks I started climbing as a schoolboy, but then the war came along. I lost 18 years, not just ’cos of the war, but because afterwards I couldn’t settle down. There’s nothing fake about rocks, they take thousands of years to get to that stage, eroded by wind and rain. I don’t think there’s any rock climbers can actually tell you why they climb.

This is in the 1950s when I’d left the marines and I couldn’t live at home as it felt like the walls were closing in on me. I hitchhiked all over with my mate Dan who was an experienced axe man, then we came across a timber merchant who took us to his yard. We worked there for four years and our boss built us a hut. Dan was a bit of an idealist. We both had ambitions of changing the world, which turns out to be an impossibility. We had a lot of adventures. This photograph is Dan giving me a shave. Cut-throats aren’t as dangerous as you might think. You must keep it sharp on a leather strop, up and down. If it’s blunt, then you’re liable to cut yourself. 39

Mary Abbott Photograph - Banquet

Barbara Wells Photograph – Carnival

June Copely Photograph - Mother

Looking at this brings my husband, Eric

I was only about four and we had to walk

I keep this photo at the side of my bed. It’s

Abbot, back to me and makes me feel happy.

round in a circle while these ladies in the

my mother Ethel. Crampton was her maiden

We went to Eckington Hall with others for

middle picked out who they wanted to be

name, and then Dickinson. She spent a lot of

a medieval banquet, where we ate the food

as the maids of honour. The other three girls

her life in Goole because her grandparents

with our fingers and drank Mead out of these

were all friends of mine from Ferrybridge,

had barges on the canal and they used to do

container things. There were no knives and

they had been chosen and I thought ‘oh well,

the coal. She was born in 1892 and died when

forks, or anything like that, it was really good.

that’s it, I’m not going to be chosen’, and then

she was 82. She was a lovely mother.

It’s 10 years since he passed away. I still miss

I was called in. We went to the Carnival, we

him, but you can’t do any other can you?

were in a horse-drawn cart owned by Carter Linley, we wore mauve, the Carnival Queen was Sarah Bottomley, and they had a fish and chip shop in Ferrybridge Square. That was 80 years ago and it was the first Ferrybridge Carnival.


Emily Harper Photograph - Brother

He was a lovely lad, was our Tom. I think him and his mate were both drunk when they went to Pontefract and joined up for the army. My mother said ‘they shouldn’t have signed you on’ in the state they were in. I know he was drunk because he came home and my mam’s bed was down in the room, he got in the bed and was sick at the side of it. I went in to see if he was all right, stood in the sick, and fell down on my back. My mother played hell with him. He got sent to India, got malaria and died – he was too young and should never have gone. My mother didn’t have the money to bring his body back to England. I wish I’d got the money, I’d do it. 41

Debra Atkinson Photograph - Gran

Gillian Cook Photograph – Self

Emily Harper Photograph – Mother

This is a picture of me when I was four or five

I was born in 1918 and this is my mum. She

years old. My sister did tap dancing. I was

was 64 when she died.

I love this photo of my gran, I think it was the 1940s. What I love about it is the oldfashioned nurse’s uniform, like a film star from a Second World War movie.

always a tomboy, but my mum insisted that I had a picture taken with a dress on – so that’s

She kept us in order. She was much more

my sister’s tap dancing dress with an extra

frightening than my dad ’cause if she was sat

special big bow. It was taken in Featherstone

at the table and you were doing ’owt wrong

Square where I was born, in front of the pit

she’d pick up a fork and she’d say ‘I’ll put four

stacks in a two-up, two-down with eight kids

holes in you’ and throw the fork, we used to

in it. We had an old-fashioned sideboard with


a posh cruet and wine decanter – never ’owt in them, they were there for show. Probably me mam put some sherry in when the vicar came round. 42

Gillian at The Addy, Knottingley

Tracey Yates Painting I was learning about Hildegard of Bingen and reading a book which suggested ways to pray inspired by her spirituality. As I emptied my mind, pictures and feelings began to form inside me. The painting is a representation of what I saw. The painting is oil on board. It took several weeks to complete as I had to keep leaving it to dry in layers. I don’t really feel the painting does justice to what I saw in my mind, I’m just not that good an artist! In some ways the painting has preserved the memory of my ‘vision’, but in other ways it has diluted it... I’m not sure how possible it is to capture the intangible.


Debra at The Place CafĂŠ, Airedale

The Peoples Museum

Step into the future and explore the

A free download for PC and Mac computers,

The Peoples Museum includes high quality

Peoples Museum, an experimental

the Peoples Museum features all of the

audio and video clips from the project as well

exploration of new media technology.

objects and artwork from this publication -

as a selection of dazzling artefacts created

and more! - set inside a colourful and magical

in 3D.

This dream-like environment aims to create

gallery that you can freely wander around

a new experience for exploring storytelling

using the keyboard and mouse. Accompanied

through different forms of media.

by Poppy the museum cat, you can browse the museum’s treasures in your own time.


Mary and Amelia relaxing in Wakefield Museum


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