THE MUSEUM is fortunate to be given many donated items each year.
As a local history museum we seek to acquire and collect items of local origin as a priority, such as Malvern bottles, local newspapers or objects commemorating Malvern events.
Often we will accept artefacts that are not necessarily from Malvern but which serve to illustrate how people in Malvern would have lived, such as wire framed spectacles, maids’ bonnets or children’s toys.
This year the museum acquired some fascinating ‘heirlooms’. Back in the early 1830s it was decided to survey and assess the entire country to determine how much tax (or tithes) were due to the church and other landowners.
Tithes were traditionally one tenth of the produce from an owner’s land (hay, sheep, eggs, pigeons etc) given to the local church. An Act in 1837 allowed these tithes to be given as money payments instead.
The museum now has a copy of the Tithe Apportionment listing the landowners, tenants, land use and rentable value for every property in Great Malvern. It is a fascinating document and an excellent research tool for early Victorian Malvern.
A number of war related artefacts have been donated this year. A ‘Tommy’ tin helmet from 1915 is full of holes, not from the battlefield but after a young local boy used it for target practice with an air rifle in the 1960s. A large wicker basket with the initials of the Ministry of Food was apparently used to convey sandwiches by bicycle to the trains arriving at Malvern Link bringing the wounded, exhausted soldiers back from Dunkirk in 1940.
Photographs of the former COOP laundry in Yates Hay Road have recently been acquired, showing its demolition over a number of days in 2001.
A beautiful album of water colours showing local flowers painted at the beginning of the 1900s, was originally given to Stephen Ballard of Colwall but is now in the possession of the museum. Civil Defence uniform items from the 1950s have been added to our costume collection.
These are just some of over 100 items that have been acquired this year. Some offers are declined simply because they are too big to store or display in our very small museum. Some are in a poor condition and would need costly conservation techniques to preserve them, and sometimes we already have quite a few, such as Malvern Festival programmes or gas masks.
Each year we display a selection of the new donations in a case upstairs, and many will find a place in one of our new displays.
We are open for just one more day this year, to coincide with the town’s Christmas Lights on Saturday, November 29. Do come in and enjoy the exhibitions and let us know if you have any Malvern objects waiting to tell more of our local story.
Written by the Malvern Museum team