Time to take CARE

Learn about our focus for 2022: highlighting how we take care of rural heritage, the countryside’s future, and each other.

Tropical Teaching

Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture: Silver Jubilee 1951 (London: ICTA, 1951)

Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture: Silver Jubilee 1951 (London: ICTA, 1951) The Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA) was founded in St. Augustine, Trinidad, in 1921. This booklet was published in 1951 to celebrate twenty five years since its establishment. Trinidad remained part of the British West Indies for the entire first quarter century of […]

The history of the servants’ ball

The servants’ ball has had a long tradition in the country house estates of Britain and only really died out after the Second World War.

Festival Landscapes

Peter Shepheard, Landscape design sketchbook, 1951 This sketchbook belonged to architect, planner, and landscape architect Peter Shepheard and dates to January to March 1951. During this time he was working on final plans for the South Bank Exhibition site of the Festival of Britain. His contribution included designing garden-type zones in association with the main […]

In Your Garden

Vita Sackville-West, In Your Garden (London: Michael Joseph, 1951) The writer and poet Vita Sackville-West was an influential voice in mid-century rural life. In 1939, the seeds of an idea began to germinate and she grew keen to establish a ‘White Garden’ in the grounds of her Sissinghurst home. These creative plans were interrupted by […]

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 […]

Apple Store

Still showing sorting and grading, as taken from colour film, The Storage of Apples, 1951 (MERL TR MAFF PH6/73)

Colour film, Storage of Apples, 1951 This film was made in 1951, and was sponsored and distributed by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. It was designed as an instructional film to inform producers of methods of apple storage, as a way of meeting demand out of season. Footage covers apple pickers, winter orchards, […]

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. […]

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, […]

People and Places: why The MERL is taking part in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month

Throughout June, The MERL is celebrating Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. Running since 2008, this month celebrates ‘the remarkable and immense contributions Gypsy, Roma and Traveller individuals and communities bring to wider society’. Its aim is to help tackle prejudice, challenge myths and amplify the voices of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers. To some readers, it […]

  • Visit us

    Visit Us

    We are now fully open.

    Free admission.

    The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road

    Reading

    RG1 5EX

    Plan your visit
  • Visit us

    Visit Us

    We are now fully open.

    Free admission.

    The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road

    Reading

    RG1 5EX

    Plan your visit