Musings from the Museum

Musings from the Museum is a series of posts written by SGS members, volunteers and friends. If you would like to contribute, please email us at outreach@sgsoc.org.

Musings from the Museum #2

Musings from the Museum #2 150 150 SGSocAdmin

[This post is part of our ongoing series of ‘Musings from the Museum’ contributed by SGS members, visitors and friends.]

An article from your Caretaker and Life Member, Graham Cupper.

When posed with this task my brain went blank. Having worked here for fourteen years or so, there were many things going through my mind and it was difficult to choose one subject. My wife has a great interest in the Victorian items like the Queen Victoria memorabilia, calling cards and the ilk. I have always had a soft spot for the glasses (not spectacles) of which there is a varied assortment. Having tried glass blowing on one occasion, I know how particularly difficult it is to get it “right”, let alone introducing spiral twists, colour and decoration to the item.

However, after due consideration, I have decided to muse about the history of the Museum and more importantly about the various significant members that have been associated over the centuries. Even if by default as members of other knowledgeable affiliations, the list of famous people that have been involved with the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society is quite formidable.

I am not going to list their names as I am sure many of you will be familiar with them, but instead reflect upon their positions in Society. Their achievements would be too great to detail so I’ll not tackle that subject.

We have had Lords, Dukes, Knights of the Thistle, Peers, Earls, vast landowners and then there are the academics and antiquarians who have graced our role of members. By association with London Societies we have had Presidents of the Royal Society, mathematicians, astronomers, alchemists and philosophers.

The list goes on – Baronets, physicians, naturalists, collectors, globe trotters, poets (of some fame), engravers, archaeologists, painters, historians, clergymen, politicians, a Garter King of Arms, Masters of colleges, engineers, Lord Marys, expedition leaders, architects, publishers, marquesses, viceroys, restorers, etc., etc.

When you look collectively at what these members have done and achieved over the centuries for the world, it is quite humbling to think they have all been in some way linked to our Society.

There, in my mind, will never be another occasion when so many famous people will ever be associated with a single entity such as that I am proud to be a member of.

One hopes, with the current global virus situation, a gathering of like minded people will get together to defeat this modern day plague that is killing so many.

On that note please stay well, stay at home and save lives.

Musings from the Museum #1

Musings from the Museum #1 1024 887 SGSocAdmin

[This post is part of a new series of ‘Musings from the Museum’ written by Society members, volunteers and friends. If you would like to contribute, please email outreach@sgsoc.org.]

I have been fascinated by The Spalding Gentlemen’s Society since I was young and first noticed the stuffed birds in Ayscoughfee Hall where I went for dance classes.

When I got the opportunity to join I was delighted, however filling in the entry form was a bit of a challenge.

What did I have to offer the Society?

Apart from being a bit of a medieval nut, I decided that as an erstwhile acting coach I could probably draw on my wardrobe mistressing skills to help with textiles, and as a mother I could cater. I have never had a problem with talking to people so stewarding was a possibility too.

So far I have stewarded in a minor capacity, helped catalogue the costume collection and baked a cake.

But then I struck gold!

One day Dustin, our librarian approached me. With my literacy and local background would I be interested in joining his work party to learn to care for books and catalogue the Society’s papers? Would I ever!

I have learned about cleaning and storing books, even going to a workshop at Cranwell R.A.F. College which I have always wanted to visit. I have perused the very C18 newspapers that Maurice Johnson himself annotated for meetings and I have studied old photographs that take me back to my childhood and beyond. At the same time I have made good friends with colleagues of like mind to me.

One particular job that Dustin gave me was to check the ‘Literature Stack’ in the library for condition and content. Several weeks of Tuesday mornings found me at the top of a ladder with pencil and paper and little soft brush (this was before the health and safety decree), checking each book. On one occasion, taking a break, I mentioned to Dustin that I had been working on some drama, quite a lot of it in fact, as when I thought I had finished a shelf there was another.

Dustin perked up “Is it a set?”

“Yes”.

“It’s not Bell’s British Theatre is it?”

“Yes, that’s what it is called”.

“I’ve been searching the catalogue for that and never found it, though I really hoped that we had one”.

(It was in the catalogue but under the first play in each volume, not as the set).

“What date is it?”

I gave him the date.

“How many volumes?”

I gave him the number.

“That date of issue had that many volumes. I must see this”.

We repair to the library where Dustin gazes in awe.

“That is a complete set. Nobody has a complete set of Bell’s – not even the British Library”.

Reader – we have!

I now feel that I may have something to offer the Society.

 

Lizzie

Member since 2014