This project has taken me down lots of fantastic new avenues of exploration, but when it comes down to it I still find myself inspired by the small, banal looking objects in the collection, which on the surface look unimportant and yet hold so much history. The Samuel Crompton threads being the most excting for me, especially as it was Sharon and I who discovered them nestled in the pile of letters sent from Mary Greg to Mr Batho. How can such a small piece of thread have such a strong presence? It makes you feel as if you are touching the beginings of the industrial revoloution (or am I being too romantic!).My favourite exhibit at the War Museum North is the small piece of wire from a zeppelin which was sold attached to a crude pin and sold to raise money for the war effort..owning a small piece of something so immense is owning a small piece of history. My love of string isn’t a secret..I think it all dates back to being a Brownie and having to have a piece of string in your pocket for emergencies (I never did have a suitable emergency to use it)..I still collect party popper string from significant events too.
I read in a book about Russian cosmonauts that they tied their cutlery to the hull of the space ship with string to stop it floating around..now that is one piece of string I would like to own. There are many items in the Mary Greg Bygones Collection that have a real sense of history of everday life too, used spoons ,small keys, matches and padlocks, and much more to discover according to the records. So I sum up….that is what I love about being allowed to spend time exploring this collection, the hidden gems, keys that on the surface look like clock keys but turn out to be from the Weeks Museum and might have wound a diamond encrusted elephant for an emperor of China. (now my imagination is running riot.).
It can be seen on the BBC History of the World in 100 Objects