In Praise of the Provincial Museum

Around here we a very much fans of the provincial museum. There’s a little museum in just about every town and have been featured in previous posts like here, here and here.

Chard Museum has, for some reason, missed a visit up until now. Chard is close by, just over the border into Somerset. But it’s a town that doesn’t have much pull these days. Expectations weren’t that high for it’s local museum.

But…

It’s lovely – if you like this sort of thing.

There’s the obligatory smock – a rather nice example.

Stuff to do with local glove making.

A room laid out like ‘Granny’s Kitchen’, which is very much a home from home for any serious vintage lover…

…where there was a very pretty wool  rug on the floor.

And since there was no one else around there was a chance to turn it over to see the ‘workings’.

The lining was already torn by the way – and it’s a basic latch hook rug.

Amongst the ubiquitous items of bygone rural life are these gorgeous ‘rumblers’ – bells that go on a horse’s harness to warn that the cart is coming up the narrow lane (and can’t turn round).

A provincial museum likes to sing the praises of any locals of note: In Chard there was a shoe maker in the 19th century called James Gillingham who pioneered the making of artificial limbs. There’s more about him and his work here. Now to some people this might be a bit creepy – but the examples of his work in the museum are remarkable.

You can clearly see the workmanship of the shoemaker.

It’s not just legs – there are wooden hands and fingers too.

Far more creepy are the carnival costumes upstairs.

And where else but a provincial museum would you find a shed dedicated to a local mayor’s collection of plumbing memorabilia. (He was also a plumber in his time).

Click through the gallery for more random exhibits.

Just to end – another bit of old smocking. This time from a child’s christening outfit.

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