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An interesting object to the curious

June 30, 2009 The Collection 7 Comments

This key, seen in Hazel’s pics earlier, is inscribed ‘Weeks’ Museum, Tichborne Street’. It’s a little thing, something to wind up a clock maybe? With a curious inscription. So I idly googled it, thinking I wouldn’t get anywhere. Wrong. Here is some information about Thomas Weeks, ‘perfumer and machinist’ and his museum of mechanical models, founded in 1797 in Tichborne Street, London. Visitors paid half a crown to view the exhibits and could order examples of the objects on show, designed by Weeks and made in the workshops of leading craftsmen nearby.
The Picture of London in 1802 says: ‘This Museum, on the plan of the celebrated Mr. Cox’s(?), when complete, will form an interesting object to the curious. The grand room, which is 107 feet long, and 30 feet high, is covered entirely with blue satin, and contains a variety of figures, which exhibit the effects of mechanism in an astonishing manner.’

It seems the museum had not yet opened as it continues: ‘Previous to its opening, by way of specimen, two temples are exhibited, nearly seven feet high, supported by sixteen elephants, embellished with seventeen hundred pieces of jewellery, in the first style of workmanship’. These temples were in fact ‘two magnificent clocks, engaged for the Emperor of China, at nine thousand pounds’.

Other attractions included mechanical models of a bird of paradise and a tarantula spider; the latter was ‘formed of steel’ and ‘darts out by itself from a box . . . and, in fact, performs all the appropriate movements of the insect which it represents’.

A key to what then?

Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. quite contrary says:

    Wow! I go on holiday for a week and all these exciting things happen while I am off. This is so amazing. I think we should go on a visit to the Cabaret Museum and take the key! Does it still fit?

  2. C.J.Duffy says:

    Looks quite similar to a key that my Grandmother had to wind up her old clock. There is a mystery about finding keys that no longer have locks to fit snuggly into. Sad in a way and bit like single swans.

  3. hazel says:

    totally..a key that looked interesting but not that special has unlocked another amazing story that we can enjoy.
    I am very excited by the Weeks Museum..I want to travel back in time and be there…
    Maybe thats what we are doing when we touch the key…
    I want to know about what the other keys unlock now..in more ways than one…

  4. lizmitch says:

    How utterly appropriate is this to the spirit of the project!

  5. hazel says:

    HOW FANATASTIC…..I knew that key was something special…I was drawn to it.
    We used to spend many hours in the Covent garden Mechanical Cabaret…
    Thankyou Liz, you have made my day.

  6. wastedpapiers says:

    They still have a website which is HERE.

  7. wastedpapiers says:

    Wow- good googly moogly! Sounds like an up market Mechanical Cabaret Theatre that used to grace the basement of the Covent Garden Piazza some years ago. Happy days!

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