Black Eyes and Lemonade

Cover of exhibition catalogue for Black Eyes and Lemonade (GREAT EXHIBITION--12/06)

Exhibition catalogue, Black Eyes and Lemonade, 1951 This catalogue listed the contents of a quietly influential exhibition held as part of the Festival of Britain. An eclectic range of items were assembled by artist and author Barbara Jones, the creative force behind the show. The displays made a powerful statement about the importance and vitality […]

Biscuit Tin

Biscuit tin, Huntley & Palmers, 1951–1952 (REDMG 1992.2.384)

Biscuit tin, Huntley and Palmers, 1951–1952 This biscuit tin is part of the Huntley & Palmer Collection at Reading Museum. It features a watercolour of the historic Yarn Market at Dunster, Somerset. This slice of ‘olde England’ was much visited by holiday makers to the nearby seaside resort of Minehead prior to the Second World […]

Cotswold Tradition

Exhibition catalogue, The Cotswold Tradition, 1951 This catalogue reveals that some of the many objects given to The MERL by writer H. J. Massingham in early 1951 were almost immediately sent on loan to an exhibition at Cirencester Park. This display was part of a significant regional strand of the Festival of Britain and was […]

Women’s Institute

Pinkneys Green Women’s Institute Banner, circa 1951 (MERL 2007/48/1-2)

Pinkneys Green WI, Women’s Institute Banner, circa 1951 The National Federation of Women’s Institutes was established in 1915. Since that time it has come to play a significant role in the social, cultural, political, and creative life of rural England. This striking textile banner was hand-stitched by members of the Pinkneys Green WI in around […]

51 Voices: A growing understanding

This January, The MERL embarked on 51 Voices, a new year-long project celebrating the museum’s seventieth anniversary in 2021. Throughout the year, we will be working with a range of writers, artists and different communities to give contemporary voice to fifty-one objects and archives in The MERL collection connected in myriad ways to our founding year. […]

Queer Constellations: an interview with Daniel Baker

From the 6th July, two artworks by Daniel Baker, Copse and Canopy, will go on display at The MERL as part of our latest display, Queer Constellations. Daniel is a Romani Gypsy born in Kent: an artist, curator and theorist, he holds a PhD on the subject of Gypsy aesthetics from the Royal College of […]

Buildings Of England

Nikolaus Pevsner, Cornwall (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1951) Published in 1951, Cornwall was the first of The Buildings of England series. It would eventually cover the whole country and reach a total of 46 volumes, standing as a classic and widely-acclaimed interpretation of the the architectural and cultural history of the counties. The series drew to a close in […]

‘Why Travelling Matters?’ Engaging schools with our migration stories

Written by Phillippa Heath, Learning and Engagement Manager at The MERL. As part of Traveller’s History Month, we have been sharing MERL collections which connect with the histories of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. These fascinating collections, spanning objects, archives, photography, art and library collections, tell us so much about the importance of GRT heritage […]

National Parks

Cover of Ministry of Town and Country Planning, National Parks and Access to the Countryside (London: HMSO, 1950) (MERL LIBRARY PAMPHLET 2860 BOX 07/05)

Ministry of Town and Country Planning, National Parks and Access to the Countryside (London: HMSO, 1950) This booklet was published in 1950 in advance of the establishment of the first National Parks in 1951. It indicated where the proposed parks were to be located when they came into being. Through a combination of striking wood […]

Great Inventions

Title page of Marie Neurath and Joseph Lauwerys, The first great inventions (Max Parrish, 1951) (University Special Collections)

Marie Neurath and Joseph Lauwerys, The first great inventions (Max Parrish, 1951) This children’s book was designed using a graphic tool called the isotype to tell the story of human innovations. Isotypes are a style of visual device used to communicate complex ideas in clear and simple ways. The illustrator of this volume, Marie Neurath, […]

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    We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to The MERL galleries from Tuesday 18th May.

    Free admission. Please book a timed slot.

    The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road


    RG1 5EX

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