Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Every time I visit a town/small city I like to go to the local library, museum and/or masonic hall to learn about the place and the people who live(d) there. It’s especially interesting to know which families survived the ages and are still based there.

My most recent visit was to Chelmsford Museum, Essex:

It was a stately home that has been carefully maintained, extended and free to the public to visit. What I really liked about it was the array of subjects it covered; initially I was under the impression that it was a war/industry museum and I was fine with that because I love science/technology museums/centres but it was rich with cultural history of all kinds from natural history to glassware and even a Buddha. Additionally I was very lucky to have a local resident who’d lived there all her life guide me around the museum and tell me more about the exhibits, her memories of Chelmsford and its transition over time. From little girl to lady hers was a lovely experience to learn from.

Artwork Stonehenge Henges Monoliths Avebury Silbury

Reminiscent of Stonehenge? A number of the pieces in the museum had ancient inspiration. There is even a modern art interpretation of Anubis in the sculpture section.

Stonehenge Henges Monoliths Avebury Silbury

Julius Stafford-Baker Barnes Mill Chelmsford

A comment from my guide: ‘it’s really interesting to see how different people interpret the same place(s)’. I agreed, each picture looked almost entirely different given their medium and personal vision. It was also great to hear how places look now in comparison to the dates they were painted. This picture for example of Barnes Mill shows the property without its hedge which obscures the view from pedestrians nowadays as it is a private property.

Julius Stafford-Baker Barnes Mill Chelmsford

Glassware from the 1600’s onwards all preserved in wonderful condition. How may tales of scandal and intel do they hold via the alcohol they served? Isn’t it a shame that Britain’s glass and pottery/ceramics industries have become insolvent or relocated abroad? This cabinet reminds me of a glass collection Mum and I used to have; every type of glass for each alcoholic beverage. Just for looking at mind you 😉

The stems of the glasses were most interesting, moreso than the etching because it shows the skill of the craftspeople in circling/twisting glass symmetrically (I’m a sucker for symmetry and ‘order’) – no easy feat especially in a spiral. They also remind me of the ‘ribbons’ you get in marbles (yes some of them had coloured glass inside).

Why did people ever use penny farthings, they’re so impractical?! Can you imagine how many injuries were sustained?

Remnants of the bygone disco era – my guide remembered having her hen night at ‘Dukes’, apparently they had a different jukebox but it still jogged a happy memory. Those seats and tables are pretty high too, not as high as the penny farthing but in need of a hop and a skip to sit on. Love them!

A double mug for the romantically minded or the extra drunk?

Masses of military silver, even on the drums.

Was there really need for a sphinx on top of this tankard?

My favourite was the inkwell. I’d love to write old fashioned letters with a proper set like this. I love calligraphy too.

I’m not sure if those are real skins but my guide and I weren’t keen on the taxidermy in the museum.

This mace/staff has ‘EGYPT’ and a sphinx on the top, weird. It also has a large dent on the underside from what I wonder?

‘A lot of kit’ my guide said as I wondered just how heavy it all was. Who misses the Army & Navy stores where you can buy their clothes etc? Their everyday clothes and camping gear are the only things I like about the military lol.

Like a prisoner’s markings on a wall whilst whiling away the days ‘ITS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME NOW’ in the top left corner. A calendar of broken dreams?

‘He looks happy’ my guide remarked, ‘there’s a headless woman behind him, how macabre’ I jokingly retorted, ‘oh yes!’ She replied. A pub sign that looks like a gravestone in depiction and shape.

Recruiting from the poor and intoxicated/ignorant, typical.

The importance of ball bearings, they make machinery much more efficient.

Yes that’s Marconi, best known for his work in radio amongst many other things.

The Marconiphone, later purchased by Gramophone.

The Co-Op was founded in Chelmsford! Well ahead of their time especially since we still don’t have much fairtrade today.

And so many people still can’t afford housing today with rising homeless too! How little things change when only a few care about fairtrade.

The sexualisation of goods and services, we’re still doing the same today but for a fizzy drink? Wow. Well, Coca-cola was advertised as a drink for babies and growing children back in the day…

The Co-Op sold everything from coal to fashion.

From cradle to grave to the Co-Op caters to everything – just not quite as bombastically as megamarts like Tesco etc.

And to finish, one of my favourites! Hey, at least it’s not Punch and Judy! I can’t be having with domestic violence and murder.

I had a great time learning about local history and discovering that my guide was from one of the old families from the World Wars. I haven’t any pictures of the garden but it is well manicured and not been given over to too much parking.

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