Great Torrington Heritage Museum

Great Torrington Heritage Museum

The history and heritage centre of Torrington

Past Exhibits of the Week

EXHIBIT OF THE WEEK 4

Commemorative Harvest Jug by Harry Juniper

After a very successful and enjoyable evening with the potter Harry Juniper, it seems fitting for our next exhibit to be his Commemorative Harvest Jug of the Civil War, 1646, Battle of Torrington, which we keep on show here at the museum.

To me, the harvest jug tradition would seem to be the forerunner of the Grayson Perry vases, both forms telling stories and commenting on everyday life.

EXHIBIT OF THE WEEK 3

Singer sewing machine 46K54

Leather glove making in Torrington is recorded from the early 1600s. By 1800 it was the centre of England’s gloving industry. In 1850 there were 11 glove manufacturers in the town employing over 3000 women who mostly worked from home hand stitching the gloves for a pittance. Following the invention of the sewing machine many of the women worked in the factories using machines like the one illustrated. The 46K54 was used for stitching leather and fur gloves. The Museum has several more machines and pairs of gloves on display.

EXHIBIT OF THE WEEK 2

Fireman’s Brass Helmet worn by Fred Vodden. We are grateful to Mrs Kate Vodden for allowing us to display this helmet. You can see a picture of Fred with his colleagues in 1946 at the museum.

A British Victorian Merryweather Fire helmet: The helmet has an ornate high comb, Fire Brigade cross axe crest to front and a chin strap. The Merryweather helmets were used by British fire brigades from the Victorian era (1868) until well into the 20th Century. Leather helmets were first used by insurance fire-fighters in the 18th and 19th Century. The Merryweather was modelled after helmets worn by cuirassiers (cavalry) of the French Army, the helmets were made of brass or nickel.

EXHIBIT OF THE WEEK 1

This Carving was commissioned by the Commons Conservators from the sculptor John Butler to depict aspects of our Commons. Carved from part of a beech tree that had to be felled in the cemetery (once part of the Commons) has been kindly donated it to the museum.

This is our first EXHIBIT OF THE WEEK and follows Alan Crawleys wonderful talk about the river and its creatures.