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.

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

Cover of exhibition catalogue for The Cotswold Tradition (MERL Library 9214 COT)

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. […]

Buildings Of England

Image of map from 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 Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month 2021, we have been sharing collections at The MERL that connect to the histories of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people, including objects, archives, photography, art and library collections. These collections tell us so much about […]

51 Voices: Be Nice, Say Hello, Share the Space

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 […]

Sister Lavinia

Photograph showing interior of Lavinia Smith's Downside House taken by Henry Owen Vaughan (MERL P DX2049 PH5_43)

Henry Owen Vaughan, Photographs of Miss Smith’s Museum, 1937–1943 These photographs were taken in the village of East Hendred during the late-1930s and early-1940s by the Reading-based amateur photographer Henry Owen Vaughan. They show a private home and museum at Downside House, which belonged to Lavinia Smith, sometimes referred to as ‘Miss Lavinia’ or ‘Sister […]

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