Exhibitions

A history of exhibitions lies below. Click on the "More Detail" link for more information about a particular exhibit. To browse all of the objects featured in an exhibition, click on that exhibit's "Search for all items" link.

Collectable Cards (by Dianne Smith)

Collectable cards have their origin in ‘trade cards’. As far back as the mid-17th century businesses started to hand out cards with their details, sometimes with illustrations of their trade. Some had elaborate designs such as the one designed by engraver William Hogarth for ‘Peter De La Fontaine, Goldsmith’ showing a well-dressed lady being served in a shop. Even smaller businesses such as chimney sweeps and nightsoil men had them produced to advertise their trade. A trade card of ‘George Cordell, Chimney-Sweeper to their Royal-Highness’s the Dukes of Gloucester and Cumberland’ depicts a chimney fire. Such early cards were not intended to be collected but were meant to advertise and let potential customers know where they were situated.

By the 19th century printing methods had improved and trade cards progressed to creating attractive and interesting images so people began to collect them. Towards the end of the 19th century companies began to include cards with their produce and many Victorians created scrapbooks in which to display them.

The American tobacco company, Allen & Ginter introduced collectable cards as “stiffeners” into their cigarette packets which were soft. Early cards had sepia photographs of leading actors or politicians of the day. By the 1880s cigarette cards were being produced with a picture on the front and informative text on the back and were beginning to be issued in series of 25 or 50.

By the 1890s the British firm W D & H O Wills were issuing series such as Cricketers, Builders of the Empire, Ships and Kings and Queens. These series cards were dubbed by one early collector as ‘The Working Man’s Encyclopedia.’ During WWI patriotic collections were issued but had to be passed by the Press Bureau to ensure security.

The expression ‘cigarette card’ eventually came to mean any stiffened picture card even if not issued by a cigarette company as illustrated in “Thrilling Scenes from the Great War” in the Museum collection. These were issued in 1927 by DC Comics and were originally given away with copies of ‘Triumph’ comic. Chocolate companies, such as Fry’s and Cadbury’s, also produced ‘cigarette cards’.

Some collections of cards were cancelled such as Wills’ series which was planned to celebrate the coronation of Edward VIII.

Production of the cards came to a virtual halt in 1939 when paper and board became in short supply in the UK. It was rumoured that Players’ collection “British Naval Craft” issued in 1939 was being bought up by German agents to send to their U-boats. The British Government sponsored a collection of ARP ‘cigarette cards of national importance’ to give helpful hints such as ‘How to put on a gas mask’ and ‘How to extinguish an incendiary bomb.’ After the war ‘cigarette cards’ were not produced on the earlier scale.

From the 1950s some companies, such as A & B C Gum, Bassett’s and Brooke Bond, issued their own series of cards. From 1954 to 1999 Brooke Bond tea packets included illustrated cards in series of 50 such as Wild Flowers, Transport through the Ages and International soccer stars.
The hobby of cigarette card collecting is known as cartophily and today there are many websites dedicated to buying and selling collections. Many early businesses which issued cards are little known today, having gone out of business before WWI. These collections are rare and therefore valuable.

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Derventio (Stamford Bridge) : A Roman settlement by the Derwent

The exhibition took place at the Treasure House, Beverley. The excavations at Stamford Bridge took place in 2003, during the construction of a new watedr main to the west/south west of the town. The fieldwork was carried out by Northern Archaeological Associates, following a desk based assessment and geophysics survey. Evidence was found of activity from Prehistory onwards, including worked flints and a burnt mound with associated (cooking?) pits dating to the Bronze Age.

The Roman settlement was connected to York, Malton and other locations by a series of roads, identified by previous research and partly examined in these excavations. The Road from York probably crossed the Derwent by a bridge, some way to the SW of the current one. The excavations concentrated on areas away from the core of the settlement. Nevertheless, interesting results were obtained. The earliest features (1st-early 3rd century AD) were a number of ditches and a cremation burial. The main period of settlement (late 2nd-4th centuries) saw a series of rectangular ditched enclosures (probably property boundaries) aligned along a road running east-west. Another road apparently ran south east towards Market Weighton. The farmer has found roof tiles and cut stone blocks whilst ploughing the area, indicating that some of the buildings were of substantial construction.

Other discoveries included five inhumation burials (all adults aged about 16-35), a number of wattle lined pits (watering holes for stock?), quantities of iron smelting slag, millstone fragments and possible corn drying kilns. Environmental data suggests the surrounding landscape was mainly grass and scrubland, whilst animal bone analysis confirmed the presence of cattle, sheep, pigs and horses. Pottery finds point to close links with the Roman town of York, perhaps indicating a military presence at Stamford Bridge. Overall, evidence points to a thriving agricultural based settlement, with some industry and good trade links.

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Excavations at Well Lane, Beverley

The exhibition took place at Beverley Guildhall.

The excavations were carried out by Northern Archaeological Associates at Nos. 9-17 Well Lane, in September 1998, in advance of a residential development. Three trenches were dug on the site, revealing features / finds ranging from the early Medieval period to the 19th century.

During the 11th and 12th centuries, the area was apparently marshy and chalk rubble was spread over part of the site to make occupation possible. In the 13th century, a building was constructed near the western edge of the site. As this lay at 45 degrees to the present Well Lane, a change in street alignment has evidently occurred since. In the 14th century, a chalk path ran near the Walker Beck (a nearby former stream that was then used as the town’s main drain and sewer).
In the 15th-17th centuries, the level of the site was raised by some 1.5 metres by extensive dumping of rubbish material. Numerous artefacts and pottery sherds were found in a large pit during the excavations, including a well-preserved leather book cover (which can be seen here), animal bone, brick, tile and coal ash. Also dating to this period was a 1.1m deep brick-lined well, which was filled in during the early 17th century.

The northern part of the site was occupied during the 18th century by a number of square clay-lined pits, probably used for tanning. This industrial process was extremely dirty and smelly and would have made for an unwelcome neighbour in a residential area!

The latest feature on the site was an early 19th century brick culvert (of the Walker Beck), running across the NE part of the site.

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Forrard! The East Riding Yeomanry in World War I

This display at the Treasure House, Beverley, looked at the East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry (ERY), a territorial unit in the British Army which took part in the campaign in Egypt and Palestine in 1915-1917. The campaign saw the British (and their Arab allies) fighting against the Turks and led ultimately to the British marching into Jerusalem. The political consequences of this campaign are with us to this day. It also saw the last successful mounted charge by British troops (at El Mughar on 13th November 1917, during the 3rd Battle of Gaza), in which the ERY took part. Though lacking the horrors of trench warfare, it was a hard campaign against tough opponents, with intense heat, water shortages, sand, flies and disease being amongst the other difficulties. Later the ERY was largely dismounted and served as infantry on the western front.

The ERY has its origins in volunteer cavalry units raised during the Napoleonic wars, but as a standing unit its true history begins with the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902). This conflict had shown the British were lacking in mounted troops and efforts were made to remedy this. Recruitment to the ERY began in April 1902, with public meetings at Hull, Driffield and Beverley organised by Lord Wenlock (the unit became popularly known as “Wenlock’s Horse” as a result). Four squadrons were eventually raised (totalling just under 600 men), with one based in Railway Street, Beverley and another in Bridlington. As a Territorial unit, the Yeomanry were raised (in theory) for home service only and men volunteered on that basis. During World War I though, Yeomanry regiments saw active service just like regular army units and their fighting record was every bit as good. In the years before the war, annual camps at places such as Scarborough and York gave the ERY the chance to train together as a unit and sharpen their skills.

This display draws on material from the Sewerby Hall and Treasure House collections. In particular we are fortunate to have photographs and notes compiled by Sergeant Harold W. Lyon of Market Weighton (see below, centre) who served in the ERY and the Machine Gun Corps during WWI and who lectured on the subject himself during later life. Uniforms and other items of kit mainly relate to a Major Gerald Herbert Woodhouse (born in Hull in 1889).
The ERY became The Queen’s Own Yeomanry as a result of mergers after the Second World War.

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Heavy Metal in the Iron Age: The South Cave Weapons Cache & other treasures

An exhibition focused on the discovery (in 2002) of five swords in their decorated scabbards and 33 spearheads on agricultural land near South Cave. Dating to around the time of the Roman conquest of the area (70AD), the finds are remarkably well-preserved and an important resource for our understanding of the period. The display also looked at the landscape of the Foulness valley, from where most of the materials probably came and the evidence for iron working in the Iron Age / Roman periods. Other items from the collections, loans from Hull Museums Service and other metal detecting finds from the area were also included in the exhibition, which attracted around 5000 visitors.

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Iron Age coinage

The first coins produced in this country date to the late Iron Age (from about 50BC). Elsewhere in the world, the earliest coins were made in Lydia (modern day western Turkey) in about 600BC and were made of electrum – a naturally occurring alloy of gold & silver.

Iron Age coins were until recently quite rare finds in East Yorkshire. They date from about 50BC to 50AD. All were hand struck and because conical pieces of metal were used rather than flat blanks, the resulting coins have a characteristic 'dished' shape.

In East Yorkshire, you will usually only see gold 'staters', based on coins of Phillip II of Macedon (Alexander the Great’s father). They were made by the Corieltauvi tribe who lived in what is now Lincolnshire. There is no evidence that our local tribe, the Parisi made their own coins.

The designs on these coins are quite abstract, being typically 'Celtic' and free flowing – the originals from which they derive had a head of the Greek sun god Apollo on one side, and a horse on the other side. The Iron Age staters in this country can also feature various symbols - for example, stars, or a dotted motif which archaeologists have called a 'domino' after the modern playing piece. Sometimes the convex side is blank.

Smaller silver coins are sometimes also found – again, with abstract designs.

Examples of both gold staters and silver units can be found in the East Riding Museums collections at the Treasure House. The staters are mainly from a hoard found near Beverley from 1999 onwards and which now comprises over 100 individual coins. More continue to be found at this site, which suggests they represent a hoard dispersed by ploughing. We only have two silver coins in our collection at present and there is no evidence for copper alloy coinage in our area at this period.

Some Iron Age coins bear names, probably local chiefs or 'kings'; from our region there are coins with the names Esuprasus and Dumnovellaunos for instance.

Coins were a way of demonstrating and storing wealth. They may have been used in a variety of ways, including gifts from chiefs to followers, bridal payments, as tribute payments to a stronger neighbouring tribe, or to purchase other valuable commodities like cattle. Exactly how they might have worked as a regular system of currency is unclear, particularly in the absence of much small change. The use of coins may have been quite restricted, with perhaps most people using a system of barter instead.

For a recent overview of the Iron Age archaeology of our area see 'The Parisi, Britons and Romans in Eastern Yorkshire' (2013) by Peter Halkon. Other recently reported finds of coinage from the East Riding may be found by searching the online catalogue of the Portable Antiquities Scheme at finds.org.uk

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John Taylor Allerston, 1828-1914, marine painter

Biographical exhibition of the Bridlington based maritime artist, featuring approximately 65 works. These were drawn from both the Sewerby Hall collection and from loans. The venues were Sewerby Hall (6th Sept. - 2nd Nov. 2003), Beverley Art Gallery (7th Dec. 2003 - 25th January 2004), Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool and Baysgarth House Museum, Barton-on-Humber.

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Keen Collectors! Carte-De-Visite photography and Victorian Society

Our collection stores hold many photographs and span a time period covering much of the history of photography. One particular style of the collection is the carte-de-visite, which offer a view of life, fashion and society in the mid-19th century. They were invented and patented by the Frenchman André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri in 1854 as a new format of photography. They took off as a quick and affordable way of sharing portraits without the need to visit a portrait artist or visit a studio for a whole plate photograph which would cost £2-4. Both options were expensive and exclusive to the wealthy.
Typically a Carte-De-Visite measured 6cm x 9cm and was produced by a new process of multiple reproduction of the same image on glass plate negative. This would be achieved with a mechanism that moved the exposed aperture of the glass plate within the camera body. The resulting multiple negative images could be printed many times. The printed image on paper would then be mounted on board. The name is a reference to the size being similar to a visiting card or what is now called a business card.
The original intention was to use the Cartes to share portraits of celebrated people, making a fashionable hobby of collecting them. One of the most famous was a portrait of Napolean III by Disden. When they reached England in 1860 the first album was created by the photographer J. E. Mayall. It was called “Royal Album” and contained portraits of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children and sold 60,000 copies.
This helped to establish the medium with the elite as fashionable and acceptable. ‘Cartemania’ took off with the public buying them from stationers’ shops, who sold celebrity cartes in the same way that postcards and football stickers have been collected through the 20th and early 21st centuries. Depending on the popularity of the celebrity typical prices ranged from 1/- (5p) to 1/6 (7.5p).
Many photographers saw this as an opportunity to create a secure income for themselves through meeting the new demand from the public to have their own pictures taken for sharing with friends and family. Studios popped up all over the country, Europe and North America. This can be viewed as a pivotal change for photography. The lowering of economic barriers created a new mass medium that radically broadened the scope of photography.
Commentators had mixed views on this new social photography. In 1861, Littell’s Living Age reflected on the implications in less than flattering terms: “The portrait system has become low”, wrote a columnist, “for everybody has a face, or what by a stretch of courtesy may be called one.” Ten years later a commentator in Macmillan’s Magazine was more charitable, saying cartes were “the greatest boon that has been conferred on the poorer classes.” Carte-De-Visite lost its novelty with the arrival in 1866 of the larger format Cabinet Card, which allowed greater detail of the sitters face to be seen. Both formats remained popular until the 1900’s.
Those visiting studios to have their portrait captured had to stay still for several minutes and smiling was still a rarity. People would use the images to share new outfits, their children and background props that showed they were keeping up with fashion and technology. Popular accessories provide useful dating hints:
1860’s – balustrade, column and curtain
1870’s – rustic bridge and stile
1880’s – hammock, swing and railway carriage
1890’s – palm trees, cockatoo’s (usually stuffed) and bicycles
1900’s - the motor car
We are showing you a small selection of the cartes and cabinet cards in our collection. Try dating them by looking for some of the popular props we have discussed here. You can search our collection for many more if these images. Go to the home page and entered ‘carte-de-visite’ in the search box. Thank you for viewing.

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Roman coinage in East Yorkshire

Roman coinage in East Yorkshire

The Roman coinage system underwent many changes in the period during which Britain was part of the Empire (from 43AD to the early 5th century). Denominations came and went, but broadly speaking, there were gold, silver and copper alloy coins, in decreasing levels of value. Within the coinage system, certain tendencies can be observed. Roman coins of the later empire are generally smaller (often much smaller) than early Roman coins and therefore lighter. Less metal equals less expenditure by the state, which would have been a particular issue in respect of the precious metal coins. The other tendency was for coins to be downgraded with regard to their precious metal content. This is particularly true of silver coins. The classic Roman silver denarius of the early empire, the coin with which the troops were paid, was over 95% pure silver. But by the mid-3rd century AD (when the empire was in a deep financial, political and military crisis) the silver coins were mainly of copper alloy, with a silvery surface.

Originally under the Roman republic all coins were minted in Rome. Under the empire, there were a large number of provincial mints to serve the needs of the army / bureaucracy in that particular area. Paying the army / officials and collecting taxes were probably the main uses for coinage the Roman state was not necessarily much concerned with promoting trade or industry in the way that modern governments are. Much of the Roman coinage in Britain was minted in Gaul (modern France) at the mints of Arles, Lyons and Trier. However coinage from more distant places such as Antioch in Syria, or Alexandria in Egypt did sometimes find its way to Britain, either by trade or due to movements of troops or official. Mints can often be identified by a mark on the reverse of the coins. In addition to the official issues of coins, unofficial local copying / forging of coins occurred. This was particularly true in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries when the Roman economy was in crisis. In part this copying was probably caused by local shortages of official coins, though personal profit for the forgers must have been a cause of it too. The harsh legal punishments for forging coins generally execution - do not seem to have much of a deterrent. Copies can generally be recognised by their poor lettering (or absence of any lettering at all), poor artistic quality and smaller size compared to the genuine coins of the same type.

It is difficult to say how far Roman coinage penetrated the East Riding. There were few forts in the region and no large towns. Whilst trade must have gone on at local markets and smaller towns / villages in our region, much of this may have continued to be by exchange of goods as in the preceding Iron Age period. Roman coins are certainly found on rural sites in the East Riding, but generally not in large numbers. East Riding Museum Service's collection of Roman coins contains no gold coins at all, though there are a couple of interesting hoards of both early and later silver coins. Most of our examples though are from the lower denominations, coins made of copper alloy probably the Roman equivalent of the 1p and 2p pieces! These would have been the sorts of coins that most ordinary people in Roman Britain would have handled.

Further reading & other sources of information

There are a huge variety of books available on Roman coins, ranging from specialist catalogues to more generally accessible works. Some good starting points are:-

Roman Coinage in Britain by P.J. Casey (Shire Publications Ltd., 1980)
Identifying Roman coins by Richard Reece & Simon James (Seaby Ltd., 1986)
Roman Coins and their values edited by David R. Sear (2000-present) is a multi-volume guide, very useful for more detailed identifications.
See also the Portable Antiquities Scheme website at finds.org.uk for a searchable database of coins and other finds, including finds from the East Riding.

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Samplers - Art in needlework

The practice of decorating a piece of fabric with stitched designs has been around since at least the early centuries of the Christian era - examples are known from the Nazca culture in Peru and from Coptic Egypt for example. In Europe the practice of producing samplers dates from at least the 16th century. Their purpose, styles of decoration and the materials/techniques used have evolved continuously over the centuries since they first began to be made.

The word sampler comes from the old French word 'essemplaire' meaning example. They were originally a way for craft workers to record their patterns, so they could accurately reproduce them later. Also, demonstration pieces were produced by girls as part of their education and to prepare them for married life, as the ability to do needlework was seen as virtuous and a useful domestic skill. This became more important in later centuries as opportunities for girls to acquire education expanded and became more formal.

There are various types of samplers. 'Spot samplers' featured randomly placed motifs across the piece of cloth (usually linen, later more commonly wool). On 'band samplers' there were repeated rows, for example letters of the alphabet, perhaps interspersed with floral patterns. Other features might include the names of the maker and the date.

From the 18th century samplers were typically square, rather than rectangular, making it easier to display them on a wall. They could have moral or religious verses, pictorial motifs like a house and garden and decorative borders. Geographical map samplers were also sometimes produced. 'Darning samplers' were designed to demonstrate the creator's skill in needlework, a useful domestic ability - for repairing clothing for example.

By the 19th century school produced samplers were much more standardised, generally using simple cross stitch as teaching exercises. However some professional examples were produced for use by others to do home embroidery.

In the early 20th century samplers drastically declined in popularity, surviving mostly through art schools and needlework groups. However, recently there has been a revival in interest in this craft, including popular television programmes about sewing techniques.

Samplers in the East Riding Museum Service collections mainly date to the 19th century, there are also a couple of 18th century examples, along with a few practice pieces from the 20th century.

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Scarr's Shipyard (by Joseph Priceman)

The photograph in the attached record was taken around 1900 and shows a number of shipyard workers, thought to be at Scarr’s Shipyard in Beverley. It shows 17 workmen, one holding a sign saying “Rag Shop Gobblers” (the origin of that phrase is unknown). Ship building was an important industry in Beverley throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, with a number of shipyards operating from the town, notably, Scarr’s as well as the larger Cook Welton and Gemmell shipyard

The history of Scarr’s shipyard in Beverley began in 1871 when brothers Henry and Joseph Scarr set up their site near Jack Taylor lane on Beverley beck, and lasted until 1938 when the business was shut down. The Scarr shipyard mostly built boats designed for inland and coastal operation, and was well known for being responsible for building the first ever iron ships in Beverley, two in 1882. In 1887 the brothers split up and Henry moved to Hessle, with Joseph continuing to run the business in Beverley under the name ‘Joseph Scarr and Sons’. In the 1890s the shipyard moved to Weel on the River Hull, where this photograph may have been taken.

In the year this photo was taken, 1900, the shipyard produced 13 vessels, mostly barges and lighters weighing between 160 and 300 tonnes, but also including a floatboat, a keel and a steam steel tug. Of the 13 built, eight were bound for London, four for Hull and only one stayed in Beverley. In 1914 Joseph Scarr and Sons built the Amy Howson, a Humber sloop which is now part of the national historic fleet for its historical significance.

Joseph Scarr died in 1918, and his son George took over the business. The First World War provided lucrative trade, but after the war the company began to struggle until it was finally shut down in 1938.

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Some of our greatest fans

Fans have a very long history, stretching back 5000 years or more. They were used in ancient Egypt, China and by the Romans amongst others The earliest examples were used for religious / political ceremonies, as well as more practical functions such as fanning fires, winnowing grain or keeping off flies. These early fans were of the fixed type, either hand held or in the form of large screens. Materials used included leaves, wood, peacock feathers and silk.

The more familiar folding fans seemed to have been invented in Japan, perhaps during the 7th century AD. These can be of pleated form, the “brisé” type (sticks only, joined by a rivet at the bottom and linked by a ribbon at the top) or cockade fans (which open out into a full circle). Often elaborately decorated and using exotic materials for the sticks e.g. ivory, tortoiseshell, mother of pearl, fans became an essential fashion accessory (especially, but not exclusively for ladies) in both Europe and Asia. European fans were heavily influenced by Oriental fans and often bore Chinese style painted designs. The peak of popularity was in the 17th and 18th centuries, with fans being made of animal skin, paper, lace or silk and often exquisitely decorated. Fans largely fell out of use after the First World War, except as a form of advertising.

This online display features a selection of fans and related items from our permanent collections.

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Something about Mary

A small exhibition at Beverley Art Gallery in 2009 devoted to the works of the artist Mary Elwell (1874-1952), wife of the well-known Beverley painter Frederick William Elwell. As well works from East Riding Museums own collections, the display featured an interior scene on loan from the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool and poems written by Richard Dillon (lecturer in Creative Writing at the Open University) in response to the paintings. A painter of interiors and landscapes, Mary Dawson Bishop was born in 1874. Following the premature death of her father, the family moved to Manchester where Mary was educated at Ellerslie College. Described as a ‘fairly exclusive school’, the college would undoubtedly have provided instruction in painting and drawing, which were still considered desirable ‘accomplishments’ for young ladies at this time.

Although it remained difficult for women to obtain a rigorous training in fine art, by the closing decades of the nineteenth century – when Mary was embarking on her artistic career – the situation had improved. The Slade School of Fine Art opened in 1871 offering far greater opportunities for women than those presented by the Royal Academy Schools at the time. Self-help manuals remained an option, providing rudimentary instruction in painting and drawing. Alternatively, women could take lessons with a private tutor or travel to Europe in the hope of securing a position in an artist’s studio. Both options necessitated private funds and were only available to wives and daughters of the well-to-do. Nevertheless, despite improvements the artistic training available to women remained significantly inferior to that on offer to men.

Little is known of Mary’s early life or her initial artistic training. As her family was comfortably off, she may well have had a private tutor. Following her marriage to the affluent oil broker George Alfred Holmes in 1896, there were ample funds available for private instruction and foreign travel. The couple settled in Beverley and by 1904 Mary was sufficiently accomplished to exhibit her work at the Royal Academy of Arts. That same year Mary sat for her portrait to Fred Elwell.

George Alfred Holmes died in August 1913, leaving Mary a wealthy widow. The following summer, just weeks after the outbreak of the Great War, Mary married Fred Elwell. Although she was undoubtedly influenced by Fred’s work and in all probability received instruction from him, Mary maintained her own distinctive style. She is at her best when painting interiors (both inhabited or uninhabited) when her work reflects the comfortable yet confined and restricted lives generally experienced by women of her class at this time.

In 1947 Mary suffered the first of a series of debilitating strokes. Having made her final appearance at the Royal Academy in 1949, she died on the 28th August 1952.

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Tanks and Trumpets

A display about Alfred William Dobson in the East Riding Yeomanry in World War II, initiated by a donation of material from his son. The display was on at the Treasure House, Beverley, from 28/8/2012 to 1/3/2013.

Known to friends and family as “Alf”, Alfred William Dobson was born in Hull in 1917. He joined the Territorial Army as a band boy (playing trumpet) when he was 16. After school, he went to work for Unilever in Hull.

In 1939, shortly before the outbreak of war, Dobson married Hilda Ellerton and they moved to Beverley Road. Called up with the East Riding Yeomanry, “Alf” was destined to stay with the regiment right through the war. The 1940 campaign in France was a traumatic one for the Yeomanry. Fighting an heroic rearguard action at Cassel, they were virtually surrounded by the Germans and many of the regiment were captured. Alf was amongst the fortunate few who returned to England – only about 235 did so.

A long period of re-equipping and training followed. The Yeomanry were the first regiment to be trained in the new “DD” amphibious tanks, which were to be used in the Normandy landings on 6th June 1944 – as well as practicing with underwater breathing apparatus, which must have been an unnerving experience.

On D-Day, the Yeomanry landed on the left of the invasion force near Ouistreham. Alf was a radio operator in the regiment (equipped at this point with Sherman tanks), at one time serving in the Colonel’s tank when his previous radio man had been killed in action. The Yeomanry were involved in heavy fighting to break out of the Normandy bridgehead, as well as the campaign to free Holland and the crossing of the Rhine in January 1945.

After the war, having played his part in the liberation of Europe and been promoted to Sergeant, Alf went back to work for Unilever. He remained active in the regimental band (eventually becoming Bandmaster with the rank of Warrant Officer 1st class) until his retirement in 1970.

We would like to express our thanks to Alf’s son, Michael Dobson, for information and artefacts generously provided for this display.

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The Archaeology of the Tesco site, Morton Lane, Beverley, 1999-2002

The exhibition took place at Beverley Guildhall. West Yorkshire Archaeological Services carried out the archaeological investigation in connection with the construction of a new Tesco superstore. An initial evaluation indicated the presence of Medieval remains. This was followed up by 2 large open trenches in the western part of the site. There was also monitoring of the foundation pads for the store.

Most of the features/finds identified were of domestic character, though there was some evidence for industrial/craft activity in the later phases. Pottery ranged from the 12th to the 18th century. There seems to have been a gap in occupation in the 14th century.

Both stone and timber buildings were identified, along with cobbled yard surfaces, postholes and pits. There was some evidence for cloth production - hemp retting and wool cleaning/dyeing in the late Medieval period.

In summary, evidence was found for a suburb of Medieval Beverley on the eastern side of Walkergate/Morton Lane from the 12th century (no earlier occupation was traced). Finds included large quantities of Medieval/Post-Medieval pottery, high quality roof tiles, iron smithing slag, cattle/sheep bones (including horn cores) - probably evidence for on-site butchery, marine shells (probably from the Humber estuary) and complete clay tobacco pipes. A selection from the finds is on display here.

Due to the significance of the archaeological features found in Morton Lane, measures were put in place to preserve some of them in situ, modifying the design of the Tesco store where necessary.
Summary of major excavation discoveries (see plan for trench/area numbers)
Trench 1 - Evidence for a possible boundary ditch and two buildings (one stone, the other timber), of uncertain use. Date probably late 12th or early 13th century.

Trench 2 - Base of a stone wall, forming the corner of a building. An external cobbled surface and a yard, both possibly dating to the 13th century.

Trench 3 - A ditch or large pit, 5m across by 1.7m deep. Environmental analysis suggests it contained stagnant fresh water. Trench 4 - The corner of a substantial stone building, with a clay floor and a hearth. From the materials used, probably a high status building. Pottery found suggests a date in the 13th century. Trench 5 - Several phases of occupation, with clay floors, pits and postholes. Material of the 13th-mid 18th century was found.

Areas A & B: Phase I (mid-late 12th century)
A number of pits cut into the natural clay. The largest of these, containing wood and animal bone, was probably a rubbish pit. Possible evidence for a wooden fence boundary within a gully in Area B.

Phase II (late 12th century)
Evidence for flooding, perhaps connected with rising sea levels. The site may have briefly been abandoned at this time.

Phase III (late 12th-early 13th century)
Parts of Area A covered with crushed chalk to form hard standing (probably to deal with the flooding problems). Numerous household refuse pits. Division of the site into tenement plots facing Walkgergate probably occurred now.

Phase IV (early-mid 13th century)
A substantial track way with cambered surface was built through Area A, along with a boundary wall. A ditch parallel to the track may have helped drain the area. In Area B, evidence for building foundations and floor surfaces, along with a drain, lined with chalk blocks running towards Walkergate.

Phase IVa (early-mid 13th century)
A stone wall divided Area A, running back from Walkergate.

Phase V (early-mid 13th century)
Slow decline in activity, with some use and repair of yard surfaces. A few rubbish pits.

Phase VI (15th-17th centuries)
Two large pits, initially used for hemp retting (for cloth production) in the 12th/13th centuries, but later as domestic rubbish dumps. A copper alloy strap end and an iron sickle blade were found in one pit. In the other, the remains of three timber posts were perhaps the remains of a platform over the pit.

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The People's Park. 75 Years of Sewerby Hall and Gardens.

This exhibition took place at Sewerby Hall between 27.06.09 and 27.10.09. It explored the history of the estate since the Corporation bought it from the Greame family in 1934 up to the present date. Interviews with employees and visitors past and present charted the changes during those 75 years, and photographs, guide books and personal objects were displayed to bring the history to life.

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The Yorkshire Wolds

The Yorkshire Wolds are the northernmost outcrop of a great band of chalk, stretching across the country from the Wessex Downs to the North Sea. They extend in a rough crescent shape, from the banks of the Humber to the cliffs at Flamborough Head. “Wolds” is a name that is given to several ranges of hills; the same term can be found in the Lincolnshire Wolds and the Cotswolds. The word is derived from the Old English word for forest, but by about the time of the Norman Conquest, it had come to refer to open, upland areas. The Wolds have been farmed since at least the early Neolithic (c.3700 BC). Throughout much of its history, the land was used principally for pasture, rather than for growing crops as it is today. In particular, the 16th century saw the mixed farming of the medieval Wolds give way to large scale sheep farming, as well as rabbit warrens. But advances in agriculture and enclosure acts in the 18th and 19th centuries created the arable landscape of fields and hedges which we know today. It was at around this time that the archaeological significance of the Yorkshire Wolds was first recognised. Pioneers such as John Robert Mortimer, a corn merchant from Driffield, and Edward Maude Cole, vicar of Wetwang, excavated a variety of prehistoric and early medieval sites, working mainly on barrows and burials. The free-draining soils are ideal for the formation of cropmarks over buried archaeological features, and in more recent times, aerial photography has significantly enhanced our knowledge of the stories in this landscape.

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William Crosskill - Beverley industrial innovator

William Crosskill was born in Butcher Row, Beverley, in 1799 to a staunch Methodist family. His father, although from a family of bakers and butchers, became a whitesmith (tinsmith), and when he died in 1811 his son William was apprenticed to his mother as a whitesmith to continue the business.

The business prospered and in 1825 he founded the company of William Crosskill, whitesmith, brassfounder and ironfounder, and moved to larger premises on a 7 acre site in Mill Lane, which became known as the Beverley Iron Works. In the early days the workshops probably concentrated on orders for general castings such as the fine example of the iron gates and railings still at the entrance to Coronation Gardens in North Bar Within.

As Crosskill developed his skills as an inventor and designer of agricultural machinery his company started to achieve widespread acclaim, winning the ‘Council Great Medal’ at the Great Exhibition in 1851. He also became known as the ‘father of mechanised farming in East Yorkshire’ with machines and implements bearing the Crosskill name such as clod crushers, threshing machines, drills and wagons, some of which can be seen on local farms to this day.

Crosskill was elected to the influential position of Mayor of Beverley in 1848. At this time also, the rapidly expanding railway network reached the town, running alongside the company’s ironworks, which actually had its own sidings, and presenting considerable advantages to the company in the movement of its products.

In March 1851 the foundry employed 240 men, and additional specialist equipment was being produced, including his portable farm railway to facilitate field work in wet weather. Other products included fixed and mobile steam engines, heavy castings for bridges, and lamp standards supplied to the city of Hamburg.

A far-reaching innovation was the ‘Emigrant’s Implement Box’ designed to contain all farming implements deemed necessary for hardy emigrant families, many from the East Riding, to carve out a living from the Canadian prairies, African veldt and the virgin territory even further afield in New Zealand and Australia.

By the mid-1850s Crosskill was the largest employer in Beverley, with over 800 people working in the manufacture of munitions and construction of over 3,000 carts for military use in the Crimean War.

In spite of this increased business, financial problems beset the company, and in 1855 it was taken over by trustees of the East Riding Bank which had loaned William money for business expansion that he was unable to repay. In 1863 William claimed that the trustees were abusing the terms of the trust, resulting in the sale of the business and creation of a new limited company with Sir Henry Edwards, one of Beverley’s Tory MPs, as its chairman.

In 1864 William’s sons Edmund and Alfred set up their own company of Wm Crosskill and Sons on a site in Eastgate, concentrating on the manufacture of wagons and carts, while the ‘Old Foundry’ continued under the name of ‘The Beverley Iron and Waggon Company’. However, this business suffered heavily in the Great Depression of the mid-1870s, resulting in compulsory winding-up in 1878 with the loss of 200-300 jobs. The land, plant, stock and buildings were sold off by auction, but the important patterns and drawings were bought by the Eastgate Crosskills.

After the death of Alfred Crosskill in 1904 the Eastgate company was taken over by the East Yorkshire Cart and Waggon Company (a local competitor formerly known as Sawney and Company) to form the ‘East Yorkshire and Crosskills Cart and Waggon Company Ltd’. This company survived until 1914 when again it went into voluntary liquidation and, although attempts were made to revive it for a few years as ‘Beverley Waggon Works’, it eventually faded away around 1925. The Eastgate buildings were then acquired by Gordon Armstrong for the manufacture of his shock absorbers.

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