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Home of the largest collection of shoes! Collections also include art, costume, military history, social history, archaeology and natural sciences

The Stories of the Soldiers The Military Galleries Introductory Case- Abington Park Museum

The Stories of the Soldiers
The Military Galleries Introductory Case- Abington Park Museum

Louise Hannam-Jones
History Curator at Northampton Museums and Art Gallery

Over the next few months we will be revealing the stories of the soldiers in our new Military Galleries Introductory Case at Abington Park Museum. Each month will highlight a different soldier on our blog. After reading about the individuals who served in the Northamptonshire Regiment and Northamptonshire Yeomanry, visit the case at Abington Park Museum to see their medals in person.

 Regimental Sergeant Major George A. Jelley MBE

The Northamptonshire Yeomanry, The 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry

2nd October 1898 – 4th October 1986

Image Courtesy of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry Association Benevolent Fund

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MBE – awarded for service in the Territorial Army.

British War Medal 1914 – 1918 – awarded for service in the First World War.

Victory Medal 1914 – 1919 – awarded for service in the First World War.

1939 – 1945 Star– awarded for service during the Second World War.

France and Germany Star 1944 – 1945– awarded for service in North West Europe during 1944 – 1945.

Defence Medal 1939 – 1945– awarded for services during the Second World War.

Territorial Efficiency Medal King George V – awarded for long service in the Territorial Army.

Territorial Efficiency Medal King George VI – awarded for long service in the Territorial Army.

War Medal (MID) 1939 – 1945- awarded for a minimum of 28 days service during the Second World War with Oakleaf emblem for those mentioned in dispatches.

Coronation Medal 1953 – awarded to commemorate the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.


George A. Jelley spent most of his life serving as a soldier. Although underage, he joined the Royal Artillery at 17 years old in 1916. He served with the Northamptonshire Yeomanry from 1920 until 1967.

In the Second World War George served as Regimental Sergeant Major of the 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry. He was involved in a number of actions such as ‘Operation Overlord’ in the Normandy campaign, the conflict in Holland in 1944, and the Rhine Crossings campaign to push the German Army across the Rhine in Belgium and Holland in 1945.

After the war, George returned to Northampton and worked as a checker for the Northampton Brewery Company. He also continued to be active in the Northamptonshire Yeomanry Territorial Army and was Secretary for the Northamptonshire Yeomanry Association until 1984.

In 1957 he was granted an MBE for his services and in 1967 he became the longest serving member of the Territorial Army in the country with 51 years’ service.

 

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Shoe of the Month-Shoe Stories

Shoe Stories

There are many interesting stories to be told about how we choose the shoes we wear.

Reggie Spittles, who was a Northampton resident, purchased this style of shoe in the 1930s. Having left school Reggie began working at the Crockett & Jones shoe factory and at the age of sixteen he had saved enough money to join a Shoe Club.

‘The Shoe Club comprised of 12 men who agreed to pay one shilling (5p) each for 13 weeks. After this period you were given a ticket to take to the shoe shop and you could select a pair of shoes to the value of 12 shillings (60p)…The reason you paid for 13 weeks was for the organiser to have for his efforts a pair of shoes for free. My choice was always a pair of black Oxfords with a pointed toe cap.’

Reggie Spittles, 2012

 

 

The Stories of the Soldiers The Military Galleries Introductory Case- Abington Park Museum

The Stories of the Soldiers
The Military Galleries Introductory Case- Abington Park Museum

Louise Hannam-Jones
History Curator at Northampton Museums and Art Gallery

Over the next few months we will be revealing the stories of the soldiers in our new Military Galleries Introductory Case at Abington Park Museum. Each month will highlight a different soldier on our blog. After reading about the individuals who served in the Northamptonshire Regiment and Northamptonshire Yeomanry, visit the case at Abington Park Museum to see their medals in person.

 

2nd Lieutenant Thomas (Riv) Riversdale Colyer-Fergusson

The Northamptonshire Regiment, The 2nd Battalion

18th February 1896 – 31st July 1917

Victoria Cross (Replica) – awarded for outstanding acts of gallantry.

1914 – 1915 Star – awarded for service in the First World War during 1914 – 1915.

Victory Medal 1914 – 1919 – awarded for service in the First World War.

British War Medal 1914 – 1918 – awarded for service in the First World War.

Thomas Riversdale Colyer-Fergusson served in the 2nd Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment during the First World War. He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his courageous actions in the Third Battle of Ypres. 

Riv was posted to the Western Front in France from his hometown of London in 1915, joining the 2nd Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment. He served in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and became the 2nd Lieutenant and Commanding Officer of B Company, 2nd Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment.

However during the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917, at the age of 21, Riv lost his life while leading an attack on the enemy at Bellewaarde Ridge. After capturing a machine gun and killing many enemy soldiers, he was shot by a sniper and killed. He is buried in the Menin Road South Cemetery, near Ypres, and is remembered for his gallant actions at Bellewaarde Ridge.

 

The Redisplay of the Military Galleries Introductory Case- Abington Park Museum

The Redisplay of the Military Galleries Introductory Case- Abington Park Museum

Louise Hannam-Jones
History Curator at Northampton Museums and Art Gallery

The Background:

Abington Park Museum is home to the museum of the Northamptonshire Regiment and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry. Last year, the museum had some light refurbishment undertaken.  This included opening and repairing a number of previously blocked windows to improve the overall feel and lighting of the museum. However, although lovely for visitors, this was bad for the objects on display in the first case of the military galleries. The objects displayed in the case were a selection from the history of the Regiment and the Yeomanry and included a uniform, drums and a sash and colour belt. All of these items are light sensitive and faced damage due to the increased levels.
We therefore applied to AMOT (Army Museums Ogilby Trust) for a grant to change the display in order to improve the introduction to the galleries and change the objects on display to those less sensitive to light.

The Notion:

The idea was to produce a new display introducing the military galleries from the secondary entrance created in the refurbishment works. This included a new welcome panel, with a clear introduction (previously lost due to the creation of a secondary entrance). It also created an opportunity to display collections that had not recently been on display. The medal collection is large and varied but only a small section was on display. We are aware that our visitors missed the medal room that was once at Abington so we wanted to use the medal collection to chart the history of the Northamptonshire Regiment and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry. As the medals are made from metal, they would not be sensitive to the light levels within this space. We also wanted to link the medals to their owners and tell the personal stories of the people who once wore them.

The Process:

We appointed The Art Department as the designers for the project and together with input from the Northamptonshire Regiment Association, the Northamptonshire Yeomanry Association Benevolent Fund and the Western Front Association, we researched, designed and created an introductory case that featured a Welcome and Introduction panel, a Timeline of the Northamptonshire Regiment’s and the Northampton Yeomanry’s history highlighting key battles and places that the unit were stationed at different moments in time and five biographical panels providing snapshots into soldiers’ lives by telling their story of their military career accompanied by their images and medals. We also created a medal panel with large text to improve accessibility to the medals.

Outcomes:

We are really pleased with the redisplay of the case. The Art Department worked well with us to ensure the costs kept to our budget and created aesthetically pleasing designs. They listened to the brief and produced work that was of a very high quality.
The case ties in with the rest of the galleries but is also modern and fresh, giving a flavour of the new military galleries to come as part of the Phase 2 part of the New Museum Development project. It gives a clear welcome to the visitor who arrives either from the main or secondary entrance, making it evident that they are entering the military galleries. The timeline gives a clear distinction of what the Northamptonshire Regiment and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry were doing throughout their history and the soldier’s biographies tell a personal story of the different ranks of soldiers within the army and connect the person back to their medals.

Acknowledgements:

We would like to thank our partners:
Army Museums Ogilby Trust
The Art Department
The Northamptonshire Regiment Association
The Northamptonshire Yeomanry Association Benevolent Fund
The Western Front Association
Our Research Volunteers
The Families of the Soldiers
for all their help and input with the project.

We hope you enjoy the new display!


Visiting Hours and details of Abington Park Museum are:

Abington Park Museum

Park Avenue South

Northampton

NN1 5LW

Telephone: 01604 838110

Fax: 01604 838720

Email: museums@northampton.gov.uk

April – October, Thursday – Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays: 1pm – 5pm

November – March, Thursday – Sunday: 12 noon – 4pm

Open Tuesday – Sunday during Northamptonshire school holidays.

 

 

Wimbledon Fever – July’s Shoe of the Month Part 2

Wimbledon Fever – July’s Shoe of the Month Part 2

Carly a volunteer within the Shoe Department at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery was inspired by some of our tennis shoes to write this mini blog.

Women’s tan leather bar style   tennis                                                                                    shoes. It has a flat black/grey rubber sole sewn to the upper. The sole of waist is stamped: RENSHAW. Size 6.

1900-20

When you look at the shoes on the feet of the female tennis players at Wimbledon this year and compare them to this shoe from over 100 years ago it’s clear that sportswear design has advanced. The form, materials and the fastenings are hugely different, and this is no doubt a result of years of scientific research into functional design and sports performance. In addition to availability of different materials there’s a lot to think about in tennis shoe design such as the multiple playing surfaces available, a shoe worn on the grass courts of Wimbledon would not necessarily be suitable for the Miami open. Then there is fashion, a shoe must function well, but the wearer also wants it to look good too. Even in the design of this shoe from the early 20th Century aesthetic appeal has been considered with the addition of a small flower head. We don’t know who wore this shoe, but its age alone makes it an interesting part of our collection. A shoe with a story would also make it a collectable and we also have a pair of men’s tennis shoes, worn and signed by Roger Federer donated to us in 2010. These shoes are a century apart from the women’s shoes above and are what we would more commonly describe as trainers having the more familiar lace up fastening and the unisex design we see today. So next time you watch a tennis match check out the players feet!

Pair of men’s tennis shoes by Nike. They were worn by Roger Federer. They are white leather with a red swoosh along each outer quarter. Each toe is signed in blue by Roger Federer. They are a size 12UK.

Shoe of the Month-Chocoholic

Chocoholic

​We are always delighted to be able to accept donations to the shoe collection. These are an amazing pair and look good enough to eat! Each one has been covered with fake chocolate and decorated with an assortment of mouth-watering handmade resin chocolates. The heel and sole are in gold with the words ‘Chocoholic’ on the sole.

The have been made by Nina Marie Shoes who creates unique, hand customised shoes that are made to order. They are extraordinary ’wearable art’.

Nina Marie Shoes

Nina Marie Shoes

Nele-Northampton Museum for 7 day work experience-part two

Nele is a student of the University of Antwerp, where she is currently studying for an MA in Conservation and Restoration. Wishing to gain some experience with leather and organic materials, Nele is spending eight weeks working between the National Leather Collection, Leather Conservation Centre and Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. She is currently at Northampton Museum for a 7 day work experience.

Here is her Second Blog of her time at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery

On Monday morning I continued the processing of the donation, I went through one box on Friday and was very curious to see what was in the other box. I came across a variety of shoes, but one that really stood out was a single black surgical shoe. I was quite amazed by this one, since I had never seen a shoe like that before! In the afternoon, I got to make a selection of shoe buckles for the new shoe gallery. I had a great time going through all the boxes and searching for the most striking pairs.

On Tuesday, I got to prepare a loan to Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. I followed the same procedure as last week and started with locating every item on the list (still one of my favourite things to do, wandering through the store rooms and getting to see so much more of the museum’s collection than is on display). The orange and pink platform sandals where my absolute favourite from this selection. I examined every pair up close and wrote down any occurring damage in the condition reports. With still a few pair of shoes to go, the work continued on Wednesday.

On my last day at Northampton Museum I finished the condition reports for the loan to Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. The last few hours of my time in the store rooms, I spent having a nose through the collection and improving the packaging of items waiting to be accessioned. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Northampton Museum and I am very grateful to Rebecca Shawcross for the opportunity. It was a valuable learning experience, I gained not only knowledge about the conservation of shoes, but also about Northampton which was once a large shoe producing town. I would like to thank Rebecca for the wonderful time I had in the museum and for sharing her extensive knowledge on shoes and Northampton.

On Thursday I returned to the National Leather Collection. After catching up and getting informed with the latest NLC news, it was time to continue the clean of the storerooms. This involves removing packaging material, making sure that there are no collection pieces stored on the floor. The first part, the cleaning, was quite straight forward, but reorganizing the shelves so that every object can be stored in the racks was quite a challenge. With the tape measure in one hand and a pencil in the other, I started by measuring the shelves and objects and pieced it all together in a plan. The first shelve to be completed was the one for the shields, and I am quite proud with the result. The reorganizing of the store rooms continued on Friday.

Single black surgical boot

Single black surgical boot