December 2017 has seen the installation of the BMM’s very first themed exhibition which has timed nicely with our having achieved Charity Status! The Old Chapel at the Min has been bedecked with seasonal decorations and temporarily converted into a small WWI hospital ‘ward’ with beds, nurses, a soldier and much more.
There have been several regional ‘War Hospital’ displays during the centenary years and we wanted our display to be slightly different - to recognise the spirit and determination of our nation amidst the unspeakable hardships and heartbreaks of WWI. Our ‘Christmas in a WWI Hospital’ display pays tribute to all the hard work of the hospital staff and local communities to pull together and give the injured boys back in ‘Blighty’ as good a Christmas as they could – despite the fact that, by 1917, there was severe rationing and no-one was under any illusion as to the seriousness of the war or the lasting impact it would have on the population.
It has taken our Project Team several months of intense research, searching through our archives, using all other available resources such as books, libraries, newspapers and the internet to seek out all the little nuggets of information and tales of Christmas during WWI that would eventually lead to the recreation of our small ‘WWI ward’. We contacted several other museums who have either lent, or helped us source, large items such as bed frames, crutches and costumes.
We have made replicas of the cardboard tank that was used as a collection box in the Min, a Sweetheart Pin cushion, patriotic Crackers & Christmas cake, a Soldiers Hussif [a small sewing kit carried by both soldiers and sailors] and some some WWI Silk style embroidered postcards. On the opening day we all tried the ‘Trench Cake’ which was baked for visitors to sample!
So far, we have had nothing but lovely comments and congratulations and our hope is that this is just the first of many themed, slightly different and occasionally unusual exhibitions – full of character & life – just like the rich history of Bath.
During the exhibition you can purchase several special WWI themed items such as tiny Teddy Bear key-rings, lavender bags, ‘Blighty Pins’ & ‘Dorothy Bags’ and some beautiful bespoke handmade cards. All funds raised from the sale of these items will help towards the cost of the exhibition.
The Launch took place on the steps of Guildhall, as, along with Ali and Luca, from Bath’s Natural Theatre Company, and period-costumed members of the Museum’s team, we accepted the first two £50 subscriptions from Vice Admiral, Sir Barry Wilson and his wife, Lady Wilson.
There to lend us support were Mayor of Bath, Cllr Ian Gilchrist and the Chair of B&NES, Cllr Cherry Beath.
Following the Launch we all retired to the Museum for well deserved refreshments. BMM would like to thank everyone who can to the Launch, especially our new Subscribers.
More pictures to follow.
Dr Roberta [Bobby] Anderson, PROJECT MANAGER
Recently retired Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at BSU, Bobby has both a professional and personal interest in the development of BMM.
Dr Linda Watts: SECRETARY TO THE TRUSTEES
Mrs Gillian Ryan
Dr John Kirkup,
Until 1988 John was an orthopaedic surgeon at the RUH, pioneering ankle replacement surgery. Since his retirement he has forged a second career as an author, historian and archivist of the museum at the Royal College of Surgeons.
Professor Francis Ring, FRCS, Little Orchard, 179 Ashley Lane, Winsley BA15 2HR
Francis spent most of his working life on the staff of the Min as a Consultant Clinical Scientist. He has given a number of lectures on the history of the hospital, and is concerned that the unique heritage of the Min and the medical history of Bath is not lost.
Dr Roger Rolls, CHAIRMAN
A retired GP, Roger has a wide experience of and interest in Bath’s medical history. He has written a history of the Mineral Hospital and mounted two exhibitions relating to Bath’s medical heritage. He was secretary to the now defunct Bath and Wessex Medical History Group [1984 – 2000].
Mr Richard Gyde:
Rich is Deputy Head of Fundraising for The Forever Friends Appeal.
Mrs Judy Coles:
Judy is a Museum guide
A lot has changed since we opened our blog back in April! We’re going to try and post regularly from now on, so here’s an update on what’s been happening recently.
Some of the BMM team at a recent event.
Our team has expanded!
Over the last few months, we have welcomed lots of new members to our team, from researchers and supporters to museum guides and trustees. A special welcome to our new Bath Spa Humanities at Work students, Adele, Megan, Joanna, and Warren, who we look forward to working with over the next academic year.
We’ve redesigned our displays and object labels.
Our previous displays had been in place since 2012. They have been brilliant for the last four years but they were looking very tired and it was time for a change. Our new displays have our brand new BMM colours on, and we have a new area in the museum dedicated to our Hospital Casebook.
Our new displays are printed on A3 paper and aren’t a permanent solution. Going forward (subject to funding!) we would like to develop these into large graphic panels, but for now we are very pleased with them! Come and have a look – we’re still open Monday and Wednesday 14.00-16.00, and Friday 10.00-12.00.
What’s coming up?
There’s lots going on behind the scenes at BMM which hopefully we will be able to share with you soon. In the mean time, we will be with our partners, the RUH, at their Engagement Event on Thursday 20 October at Bath Racecourse, 9.30-4.30. All welcome but booking needed – more information here.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
A wonderful local cake maker made us some BMM cupcakes.
In September we had a small BMM event, for which Minky Kitten Cakes made us some beautiful BMM cupcakes. Aren’t they
amazing? Thank you again Sarah-Jane!