5. Normanby Hall Stable Yard: Researching the objects 2

Humber Museums Partnership - 5. Normanby Hall Stable Yard: Researching the objects 2

About the project

The Coach House

The Coach House is currently home to nine large collection objects and one display case with smaller objects. Our large objects are part of our transport and firefighting collections. The smaller objects in the display case are all firefighting related.

For the redevelopment I have been rethinking what objects we are displaying. One side of the Coach House will show the kind of the vehicles a wealthy family like the Sheffields would have owned. Unfortunately, we do not have any fancy carriages that belonged to the Sheffields. We do however have a great miniature farm wagon, which was made for the daughters of Sir Robert Sheffield, so that is a pretty special object! I will discuss the miniature farm wagon and other vehicles in later blogs. The other side of the building will tell the story of firefighting in general and the Normanby Park Fire Brigade.

The current objects are not all staying where they are. Some objects do not fit in with the story lines, others are being replaced by better examples or objects with a better provenance. So, what is staying and what needs to go? One of the first objects that went on to the “to go” list was a cart. This cart has been on display in the Coach House for many years. Yes, it has the same colour as all the firefighting equipment around it, but it is marked ‘GPO’, General Post Office! Luckily this cart will have a new home in the Rural Life Museum, together with other Post Office related objects.

One of the objects that is staying is a hand fire extinguisher. A Merryweather hand-pump.

While researching this object I came across a great advertisement for it.

English newspaper advertisement for Merryweathers’ ‘London Brigrade’ Hand-Pump fire extinguisher, 1896.

Merryweather was one of the biggest manufacturers of firefighting equipment. The advertisement claims that ¾ of London’s house fires were put out by one of these hand-pumps.

Another reason for re-displaying is that we want our visitors to be able to view and enjoy the objects better. At the moment our smaller objects are in a case on the back wall of the Coach House. I am sure some visitors have never even noticed the display case there! Therefore I am now looking into getting a shiny new display case to house the smaller objects.

There are several things I need to do before I can order a new display case. First I make a list of objects that will go on display. Then I decide on the layout of these objects and the size of the display case.

Then there are other practical questions to be answered, like: Where can the display case go within the building. Do we need a display case with internal lights or not? And if so, where does the power-supply come from? Do we have any special requirements of the display case in order for the objects to stay in good condition? Etc. etc.

At the time of writing this blog the requirements for the case have been sent to a display case manufacturer. Exciting!

Next blog: the town chariot, a bad surprise?