The Trust Waves Goodbye to Eureka

Last Thursday, Neil Bollen (metal conservator), Neil’s son Rupert and Alma Rahat (University of Exeter) came to Street and took the Eureka machine away to be conserved and given lots of TLC in an AHRC project.

Moving the machine proved rather a challenge. As shelving had been installed in the storeroom around the machine, it all had to be moved out of the way to make room for the machine to come down the aisle. This meant moving lots of our most recently accessioned Point of Sale material from Clarks which is stored here temporarily until it is catalogued and moved into the archive permanently.

We decided that the alternative route out of the fire exit across the wet and boggy grass in the Trust’s apple orchard wasn’t really a viable option on such a grim day!

Neil had made a wooden cradle for the machine cabinet to sit on whilst it was being moved, so it proved a challenge to slide the cabinet off and onto it safely. The next step was to get the machine and cradle onto the trolley. Then it was plain sailing to wheel the machine out of the Barn and through the external doorway.

On turning the bottom table base unit upside-down to go into the van, we discovered that the base unit is actually mounted on wooden wheels.

There was another anxious moment when it transpired that the machine might not fit into the transit van as it was too tall. Luckily, sliding it off its lifting cradle meant we just had enough room by a whisker. Neil & Co drove off into a mini hail storm as dusk fell, but arrived in Exeter safely. Here the engineering technicians gave a hand in unloading the machine.

The following morning, it was winched upstairs into the Harrison Building where the doorframe had to be dismantled in order to get the machine through into its new home. And we wondered why the machine hadn’t moved for so many years.

The next steps will be for Neil to take a closer look at the machine and for the project team to meet and start planning the project in detail. Exciting times ahead!

More news to follow as the project progresses during 2016…

Lions and Buffaloes and Bears

19770s Peter Lord shoe shops displays

The Alfred Gillett Trust recently acquired a set of three plywood animals which had been used for displays in Peter Lord shoe shops in the 1970s. They make a lovely addition to the shop furnishings and retail display material that we collect alongside the footwear and archive collections.

Visitors to the Shoe Museum can see a few items of shop furniture, including a chair styled on a drum and several foot measuring machines. They are particularly evocative for those of us who so clearly remember the ritual of shopping for school shoes.

When the animals came in they were very dirty, having been kept in warehouse-style storage for many years; unfortunately they also have some water damage which has removed the top layer of varnish in places. After a clean with some brushes, a Museum Vac and a bit of Renaissance Wax they look a bit better, and are ready to go into clean and environmentally controlled storage in the zoo archive.

Eureka is preparing to go on the move for the first time in 150 years…

Neil Bollen and the Latin Verse MachineThis week, metal conservator Neil Bollen came to The Grange, Street, to view the Latin Verse Machine in situ and to start getting it ready to transport down to a temporary workshop at the University of Exeter for the Eureka AHRC Project.

Neil took the opportunity to secure the various mechanisms and weights against the shaking and jiggling to come for Eureka whilst tucked up in a transit van heading down the M5 across the county boundary.

Neil also took some detailed measurements of the machine’s external dimensions, since Eureka doesn’t fit through a standard doorway (perhaps this explains why the machine has never been kept in a Clark family house – since its arrival in Street in the 1850s, it has stayed instead in the Clarks shoe factory or in the museum!).

Neil Bollen and the Latin Verse MachineThe Trust is now making arrangements with Neil to fix on a removal date, hopefully in the next week or so. It will be the first time that Eureka has left Street for probably over 150 years. When it returns, the machine will be in good working order and worthy of its status of one of the Trust’s star objects.

More news to follow as the project progresses during 2015…

Eureka Preparing First Trip For 150 years…

Neil Bollen and the Latin Verse MachineEureka is preparing to go on the move for the first time in 150 years…

Neil Bollen and the Latin Verse MachineThis week, metal conservator Neil Bollen came to The Grange, Street, to view the Latin Verse Machine in situ and to start getting it ready to transport down to a temporary workshop at the University of Exeter.

Neil Bollen and the Latin Verse MachineNeil took the opportunity to secure the various mechanisms and weights against the shaking and jiggling to come for Eureka whilst tucked up in a transit van heading down the M5 across the county boundary.

Neil also took some detailed measurements of the machine’s external dimensions, since Eureka doesn’t fit through a standard doorway (perhaps this explains why the machine has never been kept in a Clark family house – since its arrival in Street in the 1850s, it has stayed instead in the Clarks shoe factory or in the museum!).

The Trust is now making arrangements with Neil to fix on a removal date, hopefully in the next week or so. It will be the first time that Eureka has left Street for probably over 150 years. When it returns, the machine will be in good working order and worthy of its status of one of the Trust’s star objects.

History of Greenbank Pool, Street goes on display

Swimming Gala at Greenbank Pool, Street in 1960

Swimming Gala at Greenbank Pool, Street in 1960

A series of exhibition panels demonstrating the history of one of Somerset’s few remaining lidos, Greenbank Pool in Street, have recently gone on permanent display. Created using a combination of records and photographs held in the Alfred Gillett Trust Archive and images generously donated by members of the public the panels highlight the history of the pool, its staff and some of its four and a half million visitors.

The art deco style pool, which was built following the wishes of Alice Clark (1875-1934), opened to the public for the first time May bank holiday 1937; Greenbank Pool has opened for the summer season the same weekend every year since.

Read More

Shoes on Loan for New Georgian Exhibition

A sneak preview – the shoes packed for transport to Bath

A sneak preview – the shoes packed for transport to Bath

Recently, five shoes from the collections travelled to Bath for installation in the new exhibition at No. 1 Royal Crescent, Portrait of a Lady? Ruin and reputation in the Georgian Era.

Of the five, three had been in storage for many years. The shoes were selected by the team at Bath to complement the display of mezzotints of Georgian women and their commentary on social status in Britain in the late eighteenth century. Women’s social standing could be remarkably fluid and still very much constrained during that period: actresses became gentlemen’s mistresses and enjoyed luxurious but precarious privileges; many women became their own mistresses and ran businesses of various kinds. Morality was subject to vigorous criticism via the printed media of the day.

Read More

The Story of Our Style

Clarks Montage Graphic

Recently the AGT were pleased to be able to provide some of our historic Point of Sale material to help create a retail display graphic for Clarks shops.

Contained in a grid of Clarks shoe boxes, more than 120 separate images were created and photographed. Props include material drawn from our archive, iconic products, footwear paraphernalia, materials and accessories, along with type used to spell out key words that have motivated the brand throughout its 189 year history.

Read More

Point of Sale Items Photographed for Clarks Project

The Alfred Gillett Trust were able to take part in an exciting partnership with the Clarks marketing department this week to help develop new displays for Clarks shops. We provided a local photographic studio with a range of different pieces of historic point of sale, the advertising material which is sent to shops every season.

Read More