The Role of Museums in the Community

As part of our work experience and intern programme, participants are asked to critically think about what the role of a museum is in the community. Hopefully, after spending a week or two with us, they have a better idea of what museums should and can do. Here is our recent work experience student’s assessment:
A museum is somewhere that stores and exhibits objects of historical, scientific, artistic and cultural interest. The main role of the Museum is to provide information and preserve items.
I think museums can play a vital role in the community as they provide us with key information on what or who has made a town or city the way it is today.
A museum allows you to see how people lived many years ago. You are able to see how fashion has changed, how styles in homes has changed, and how local industry has changed.
Museums are valuable to the community as they not only hold local history, but attract tourists and visitors from elsewhere. This means the whole community benefits.
Today, many are Museums are largely charity based organisations which rely on public and business funding. This encourages wider community engagement, whereby mutually beneficial partnerships can be formed between museums and local businesses.
Chloe Bugela, Barking & Dagenham College student.

Museum galleries pic

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My Favourite Object

Football Boots Worn By John Aldborough

Two of our recent work experience placement students both chose the football boots on display in Gallery One as their favourite object. Here are two very different perspectives on the same item:
The boots resonate with me as a football fan who has a keen interest in local clubs. The current Romford FC all-time leading goal scorer is also the brother of a very good friend of mine.
To see local sports being celebrated is fantastic, even though the old Romfordians were not a top club, it’s good to see the efforts of local boys being rewarded and remembered. Also, I retain a keen interest in the history of football, so to see a pair of the kind worn sixty years ago, in comparison to the ridiculous, over the top boots players use today is an eye opener.
Celebrating ‘lower level’ local sports teams accomplishments is the reason I mainly enjoy the boot on display in the sports and recreations case.

Matthew Heddle. Undergraduate student, University of Kent.
In the Museum, are many items which capture my eye. Each object dares me to know more. However, among the varied artefacts, my favourite object is the pair of football boots worn by Johnny Alborough in 1952.
Though haggard and worn, these boots stand with pride and prodigy, as if the legendary blade soaked in the blood of Lucifer, with crimson ravines teaming from its vivacious steel. Scars and cuts are marbled on each boots leather, representing the bravery of the one who possessed these potent weapons of ruthless dominance. Johnny Alborough managed to score 53 goals in only 24 games. Evidently, he was one of the best of his time.
Despite this, the fascinating point is, that as Johnny Alborough scored his goals, and did what he loved, he was oblivious to the script that he was writing, he was unaware that he was the artist of his own legend, that one day, someone like me 64 years on would write about him.

Henry Fisher, a Marshall Park student.


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Object of the Month March 2016

Edward Stephen Hudson memorial plaque

Edward Stephen Hudson was born in Canning Town in 1891 but his surviving relatives lived in Havering. He enlisted in the 7th Battalion, King’s Rifle Corps, on 9th November 1914. This was one of Lord Kitchener’s service battalions which, similar to the pals’ battalions, were initially made entirely of volunteers. Together they created the “New Army” to reinforce the beleaguered regular army which had been sent to France in the summer of 1914. Edward was mobilised in May 1915, landed in Boulogne on the 19th and saw action in Ypres. Sadly he was killed soon thereafter, though precisely what happened will remain a mystery. His enlistment record states the Army Council decided he was “to be regarded for official purposes” as having died on or since the 30th July 1915. At this date the battalion was involved in the Ypres Salient around Hooge, an area subject to constant heavy shelling. Edward was just 23 years old. This memorial plaque, also known as a “death penny” or “dead man’s penny” was given to his mother after the war and came with this letter from Buckingham Palace.

Donated by Wendy Neal.


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Directorship Role at Havering Museum

Role: Director with specialism in law.
Remuneration: None. Voluntary.
Hours: Approximately 50 hours + a year. Attendance of a monthly Board. Meeting held on Thursdays.
Location: Greater London, Romford.
Closing date: 30th April 2016.

Havering Museum celebrates the rich heritage of the London Borough of Havering. It opened in May 2010, thanks to the dedication of local people and a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant. The Museum is independent and Volunteer led. Its aim is to engage the local community with its history through displays, talks, events and school sessions.

Its Board are looking for a highly motivated individual with a successful track record in law to act in an advisory capacity & and ensure its legacy for future generations. This role is ideal for either a current or retired legal Practitioner.

Applicants that can also demonstrate the capacity to actively contribute to the Museum Business or Events Programme will be favourably considered.

For more information and how to apply to be considered as a member of the Board please contact the Chairman by post: The Chairman, Havering Museum, 19 – 21 High Street, Romford Essex, RM1 1JU. Or by email; 017008 766571 Wednesday – Saturday 11:00 am – 17:00 pm.HaveringMuseumLogoBackground

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My Favourite Object

Havering Museum is a volunteer led museum which prides itself on its volunteer training programme, particularly the under 21 Mentor Training Scheme. We like to encourage young people on this scheme and help them to develop their skills for use in the museum, which can be a great asset to them in their future endeavours.

As part of the Under 21 Front of House Mentor Training Scheme, participants are asked to complete a Favourite Object Exercise which encourages them to critically think about the Museum’s collections. Ryan Montgomery is one of our Saturday Front of House Volunteers and has recently completed the Under 21 Front of House Mentor Training Scheme. As part of the programme, Ryan has written about his favourite object in Havering Museum which Ryan has kindly shared with us as part of our Havering Museum News and also on our blog. We are always on the look out for talented and enthusiastic young people to join as volunteers so if you are interested please contact the museum for further information.

Romano-British Cremation Urn, Second Century.

Among all the artefacts on display at the Museum, my favourite object is the Romano-British Cremation Urn, which dates from the second century CE. I chose this object for several reasons: firstly, although it is something which was simply part of everyday life & death in Roman Britain, the Urn is a poignant reminder of the fact that we have changed very little in almost 2000 years; we still seek to remember and bury our dead as the native Britons did all those years ago. Secondly, the Urn gives us a fascinating insight into life in Roman-occupied Britain. Whilst the Urn was seemingly buried in traditional Celtic fashion, the fact that a cremation took place tells us that the person whose remains once occupied the Urn was able to afford an expensive Roman custom such as cremation, so suggesting that they were living comfortable lives under Roman rule. Again, the fact that the pottery found with the Urn is most likely British, not Roman, in its design & origin, shows us that although the Empire was in control of ‘Britannia’ by this time in history, strong Celtic communities and traditions still survived throughout the island, allowing everyday people to lead their lives in a way that was neither wholly Roman, nor completely Celtic, but rather unique.

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Object of the Month – September 2015

We return after the summer break with September’s Object of the Month. This month we are displaying personal items from Mr Ernest Levitt, which were only discovered by chance when work was being done on the property in Crowlands Avenue. This surprising discovery highlights how historical finds can be made by chance, and you never know what may be lying undiscovered near you!

Effects of Mr Ernest Levitt of Crowlands Avenue, Romford 1931′

When the present owner was working on their house in Crowlands Avenue, Romford, this Transport & General Workers Union rulebook and Municipal Mutual Insurance Ltd house insurance certificate fell from a cavity in the attic. The items belonged to union member, Mr Ernest Levitt, a bus driver who occupied the house in the 1930s.

Transport & General Workers Union rulebook belonging to Mr Ernest Levitt.

Transport & General Workers Union rulebook belonging to Mr Ernest Levitt.

The Transport & General Workers Union was formed in 1922 from an amalgamation of fourteen other unions by Ernest Bevin. The amalgamation ensured representation for both semi-skilled and un-skilled workers. Membership was mainly drawn from dock workers, inland waterway workers and, like Ernest Levitt, those in the road transportation industry, Meanwhile, from the certificate, we can see how drastically house values have increased. Ernest’s house in 1931 cost him just £700!

Municipal Mutual Insurance Ltd house insurance certificate belonging to Mr Ernest Levitt.

Municipal Mutual Insurance Ltd house insurance certificate belonging to Mr Ernest Levitt.

Donated by Mrs Sylvie Marshall.

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Friends of Havering Museum – Trip to Bury St Edmunds

Havering Museum is lucky enough to have its own group, the Friends of Havering  Museum, who have supported and nurtured Havering Museum since its opening in May 2010. From the beginning the Friends have been instrumental in the museum’s success, without these like minded group of people we would not have Havering Museum here today. The Friends were formed by group of people who believed strongly that Havering should have a museum. Through a lot of hard work and patience, Havering Museum was born. The Friends continue to share in its success, although they see their role now as ‘Grandparents, loving their child but not interfering with its growing up’.

(Quote from Friends of Havering Museum website).

The Friends of Havering Museum are a very active group of people, not only meeting at the museum for regular talks and events, some of which are included in the £10 yearly membership fee, but also venturing out on many visits to places nearby and further afield.

One such visit that the Friends recently enjoyed was their visit on 4th July to Bury St Edmunds. This account of the day has been kindly submitted by one of the Friends, Ron Lloyd. It sounds like they had a fun filled day, we hope to share more of the Friends adventures in the future.

The Friends of Havering Museum left The Queens Theatre for our coach trip to the beautiful medieval town of Bury St Edmunds. The town takes its name from St Edmund, King of the East Anglia, who was killed by the invading Danes in 869 AD.

Some of the Friends of Havering Museum on their trip to Bury on 4th July 2015.

Some of the Friends of Havering Museum on their trip to Bury St Edmunds on 4th July 2015.

We started our day at the Greene King Visitor Centre, Westgate Street where twelve Friends met our wonderful guide, Maureen, who informed us that Greene King has been brewing since 1799 then took us on an excellent and informative tour around the brewery. Maureen explained the beer making process then invited us to the Brewery Tap where we were supplied with some very tasty samples of Greene King’s products. One of the beers that took my fancy was ‘Old Crafty Hen’ made from a blend of ‘Old Speckled Hen’ and 5X. This 5X is a special vintage beer having been stored in an oak vat for 2 years giving a complex sherry like taste with notes of brandy soaked raisins. Delicious!
One of our stops was the Great Churchyard, showing the Norman Tower and Elizabeth Frink’s statue of St Edmund. Nearby a plaque records the Barons meeting in 1214, they took an oath to force King John to accept the Charter of Liberties (The Magna Carta). Last year was its 800th anniversary.

The Great Churchyard,  the Norman Tower and Elizabeth Frink’s statue of St Edmund.

The Great Churchyard, the Norman Tower and Elizabeth Frink’s statue of St Edmund.

A visit to St Edmundsbury Cathedral revealed an elegant nave which was built by John Wastell in 1503, perhaps the longest in a parish church. The church also had a magnificent altar. Later that afternoon there was a special service for the ordination of priests so we had to leave.

The magnificent alter in St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

The magnificent alter in St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

Wandering around Bury St Edmunds, we came across the Angel Hotel a former coaching inn, in Angel Street. Charles Dickens was a regular visitor to the town and stayed at the Angel. In his book Pickwick Papers he calls Bury St Edmunds ‘a handsome little town, of thriving and cleanly appearance’.

In all we had an excellent day out, including the weather, in Bury St Edmunds.

For more information about the Friends of Havering Museum please visit the Havering Museum website.

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