National Museum of Scotland

Amida Buddha.

Amida Buddha.

Bronze cast, Japan, 18th to 19th century

“This Japanese Buddha sits in meditation with a mandorla – a form of halo – behind his head. The mandorla, symbolizing light and blessedness, is a symbol in eastern and western art. The Amida Buddha embodies the ideals of wisdom, compassion and enlightenment. This form of Buddhism reached Japan via Korea in the 6th century.”

Date

20 December 2016

Location

Chambers Street, Edinburgh
NT 25824 73343; 55.94736°N, 3.18928°W

Information

National Museum of Scotland

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Perth Museum and Art Gallery

Perth Museum and Art Gallery

Perth Museum and Art Gallery

Date

23 August 2016

Location

Bridge Lane, Perth
NO 11972 23814; 56.39833°N, 3.42776°W

Information

With its roots dating back to the founding of the Antiquarian Society of Perth in 1784, Perth Museum and Art Gallery is one of the oldest museums in the UK. The museum owns a collection of more than half a million items. The museum building, originally known as The Monument, was designed by amateur architect David Morison (c1792-1855), who was Secretary of the Perth’s Literary and Antiquarian Society. The building opened in 1824 and was donated by the Society to the city of Perth in 1915 on the condition that it remained in use as a public museum or library. An extension, designed by Perth architects Smart Stewart Mitchell, to the original building was completed in 1935.

Further Reading

Perth Museum and Art Gallery

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Weeping Window, Perth

Weeping Window, Black Watch Castle and Museum

Weeping Window, Black Watch Castle and Museum

Date

22 August 2016

Location

The Black Watch Castle and Museum, Perth
NO 11438 24358; 56.40311°N, 3.43659°W

Information

The ceramic-poppy art installation Weeping Window, created by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper as part of the 2014 Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London, was on display at The Black Watch Castle and Museum in Perth from 30 June until 25 September 2016.

The Black Watch was formed as an infantry regiment in 1881 and since 2006 has been a battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. During the First World War almost 9,000 soldiers of the Black watch lost their lives and a further 20,000 were wounded.

Perth’s Balhousie Castle, which dates back to the 12th century, became the home of the Black Watch’s regimental headquarters and museum during a re-organisation of the Army in the 1960s. An appeal was launched in 2008 to purchase and develop the castle as a permanent home for the museum and redevelopment started in 2012 with the museum re-opening in 2013.

Further Reading

Weeping Window… by day (Liverpool);
Weeping Window… by night (Liverpool);
The Black Watch Castle and Museum

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Storiel

Storiel

Storiel

Date

30 January 2016

Location

Bangor
SH 58013 72155; 53.22739°N, 4.12845°W

Information

Known locally as Bangor Museum, or Oriel Bangor, Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery was housed in the former Canonry since 1973 and has been run by the county council since 1991. The old Canonry is a Grade II listed building located in Tan-y-Fynwent and was built in 1862 as part of the Cathedral precinct.

The future of the museum has in the past been uncertain – in 2009 it came close to closure but was saved following a public campaign. A £1.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant was, however, secured in 2013 as part of the £2.4 million project Engaging Collections: Widening Access to Gwynedd’s Heritage. This is a joint initiative between Gwynedd Council and Bangor University and its aims included moving the museum from the old Canonry to the nearby former Bishop’s Palace and also improving access to the University’s collections.

The Grade II listed Bishop’s Palace, located in Ffordd Gwynedd, is the city’s second oldest surviving building with part of it dating back to around 1500. This was incorporated into the present building, constructed in the late 16th / early 17th centuries and extended in the 18th century. The building was sold in 1900 and became the Town Hall and was renovated in 1960.

With building work starting in March 2014, the premises have now been converted to house the museum and art galleries together with a shop and café. Although it was originally scheduled to open in autumn 2015, the actual opening did not take place until 30 January 2016. As part of the move, the museum has been re-branded as Storiel, a portmanteau word formed from the Welsh words stori (story) and oriel (gallery).

Further Reading

Bangor Museum and Art Gallery (British Listed Buildings);
Town Hall, Bangor (British Listed Buildings);
Bishops Palace Development (Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery)

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Now and Then XIII: Gilfach Ddu, Dinorwic Quarry

Gilfach Ddu - Now and Then

Gilfach Ddu – Now and Then

Date

6 June 2015
Location

Llanberis

SH 58297 60714; 53.12469°N, 4.11913°W

Information

“On the declivity of the mountain, and nearly opposite Dolbadarn castle, on the eastern side of the lake, are extensive slate quarries, the property of Thomas Asheton Smith, Esq. situated high among the rocks ; the mode of conveying the slates down the almost precipitous descent, to the margin of the lake, was formerly singularly awkward, and apparently very dangerous – The carts, each conveying about one ton of slates in winter, and two in summer, were drawn down a serpentine path by one horse in front, and one hooked on behind to counteract the rapidity of motion which other wise would endanger the whole. From the lake the slates were carted in great quantities to the Menai, from whence they were shipped to Ireland, Liverpool, America, &c. To avoid this great labour and danger, about ten years ago, a new railroad was made from the quarries down to the shipping place at Velin Heli on the Menai, a distance of about nine miles. By this road, the slates are conveyed down, at an average, it is said, of about 100 tons daily throughout the year. At this place of activity, generally designated by the name of “Dinorwic Slate Quarry,” above 1000 men are usually employed.”

— Joseph Hemingway, Panorama of the beauties, curiosities, and antiquities of North Wales, exhibited in its Mountains, Vallies, Waterfalls, Lakes, Cities and Towns, Castles and Ruins, etc. Intended as a Pocket Companion to the Tourist and Traveller., 1839

Further Reading

National Slate Museum;
Dinorwic Quarry;
Other posts in the Dinorwic Quarry series

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World Museum, Liverpool

World Museum, Liverpool

World Museum, Liverpool

Date

23 May 2015
Location

William Brown Street, Liverpool

SJ 34808 90770; 53.40968°N, 2.98218°W

Information

William Brown (1784-1864), who was born in Ballymena and who had lived for a number of years in America, founded the Liverpool merchant firm William Brown & Co in 1810. He entered into partnership with Joseph Shipley in 1825 to form Brown, Shipley & Co (which survives today as a subsidiary of Luxembourg-based KBL European Private Bankers SA) and over the years the firm’s emphasis shifted from trading to merchant banking. Brown served as Liberal MP for South Lancashire from 1846 to 1859 and was honoured for his philanthropy by having a street named after him. He was also created Baronet Brown of Richmond Hill in 1863.

Following the construction in Liverpool of the monumental St George’s Hall, which was built on the site of the 1749 infirmary and which opened in 1854, there was a vision of transforming the adjoining area then known as Shaw’s Brow into a forum surrounded by grand civic buildings. The idea of a forum was never realised, but the following buildings were constructed in what became William Brown Street: Library and Museum; Walker Art Gallery; Picton Reading Room; County Sessions House; and, finally, the Museum Extension and Central Technical School.

The first of these public buildings, the Library and Museum, was built between 1857 and 1860. London architect Thomas Allom (1804-1872) had been commissioned to design it and his plans were subsequently adapted by Corporation Surveyor John Weightman (1793-1883) in order to save costs. William Brown initially donated £6,000 towards the project, into which the Corporation invested £10,000. Brown later donated a further £35,000 to enable the project to be completed. The new building served as a replacement for the city’s Derby Museum, which housed the natural history collection bequeathed by Edward Smith-Stanley (1775-1851), 13th Earl of Derby and former president of the Linnean Society. The new museum’s collection eventually outgrew its premises and in 1901 it expanded into the newly built extension on its left – designed by Edward William Mountford (1855-1908) – which also housed the Central Technical School.

The building sustained serious damage during World War II when it was bombed in 1941. The Library was subsequently rebuilt in 1957-60 and the Museum in 1963-69 by City Architect Ronald Bradbury (1908-1971), with the original façade being retained. Major alterations were completed in 2005 when the then Liverpool Museum became the World Museum. New galleries were opened, with the museum expanding into the lower half of the extension building, which at the time was owned by Liverpool John Moores University. The old entrance, up a flight of stone steps, was also replaced by a new ground-level entrance leading into a five-storey atrium.

The original building, which houses part of the World Museum and part of the Central Library, has Grade II* listed status.

Further Reading

World Museum;
William Brown Library and Museum (Wikipedia);
World Museum (Wikipedia)

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Blists Hill Victorian Town

The Hay Inclined Plane was one of the first canal boat-lift inclines to be created and was in operation from the 1790s until the 1890s. Coal, iron and other products were conveyed from the short section of the Shropshire Canal running through the industrial complex that is now the site of Blists Hill Victorian Town down to the Coalport Canal and thence to the River Severn.

The Hay Inclined Plane was one of the first canal boat-lift inclines to be created and was in operation from the 1790s until the 1890s. Coal, iron and other products were conveyed from the short section of the Shropshire Canal running through the industrial complex that is now the site of Blists Hill Victorian Town down to the Coalport Canal and thence to the River Severn.

Date

1 April 2015
Location

Blists Hill

SJ 69603 03613; 52.62940°N, 2.45052°W

Information

Further Reading

Hay Inclined Plane;
Blists Hill Victorian Town

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Darby Houses, Coalbrookdale

Eagle Slayer (John Bell), bronze sculpture cast by the Coalbrookdale Company around 1848.  The piece was purchased to commemorate the founder Chairman of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, E Bruce Ball (1903-1985) and is on display in the Darby Houses.

Eagle Slayer (John Bell), bronze sculpture cast by the Coalbrookdale Company around 1848. The piece was purchased to commemorate the founder Chairman of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, E Bruce Ball (1903-1985) and is on display in Rosehill House.

Date

30 March 2015
Location

Coalbrookdale

SJ 66680 04967; 52.64140°N, 2.49385°W

Information

The Darby Houses in Coalbrookdale are one of the ten attractions run by the Iron Gorge Museum Trust and were the homes of various members of the family of Quaker ironmasters. Rosehill House was built in the 1720s and has been in the care of the Trust since 1978. Dale House served as the Manager’s House for the Coalbrookdale Company and its construction was started by Abraham Darby I, who in 1709 revolutionised iron smelting by using coke rather than charcoal. Dale House suffered from a 20th-century flat conversion, but is now in the process of being restored to its condition of the 1780s, the period when it was the residence of Abraham Darby III, who built the world’s first cast-iron arch bridge.

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Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron – Great Exhibition

‘Africa’ lamp standard, from a series of four cast-iron standards representing continents, produced by the Coalbrookdale Company in the 1860s and thought to have been designed by John Bell

Africa lamp standard, from a series of four cast-iron standards representing continents, produced by the Coalbrookdale Company in the 1860s and thought to have been designed by John Bell

Date

30 March 2015
Location

Coalbrookdale

SJ 66770 04671; 52.63874°N, 2.49248°W

Information

Further Reading

Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron

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HMS Conway’s Anchor, Merseyside Maritime Museum

Anchor from HMS Conway

Anchor from HMS Conway (The ship’s other anchor is on display in Victoria Dock, Caernarfon.)

Date

29 October 2014
Location

Merseyside Maritime Museum,
Albert Dock, Liverpool

SJ 34052 89860; 53.40141°N, 2.99336°W

Information

Further Reading

Remains from the wrecked HMS Conway, Treborth;
HMS Conway’s Anchor, Caernarfon;

Other posts about Liverpool…

 

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Mostyn

Cast-iron verandah

Cast-iron verandah

Date

16 March 2014
Location

Vaughan Street, Llandudno

SH 78537 82048; 53.321378, -3.824968

Information

Designed by architect G A Humphreys, the Mostyn Art Gallery opened in 1901 as a public gallery funded by Lady Augusta Mostyn to exhibit works by female artists. The gallery closed twelve years later and the building was subsequently put to a variety of uses until eventually reopening as an art gallery, Oriel Mostyn, in 1979. Now branded simply as ‘Mostyn’, the gallery of contemporary art underwent a three-year programme of renovation and extension which was completed in 2010.

Further Reading

Mostyn (official site);
Oriel Mostyn art gallery (HistoryPoints);
Mostyn (LustreBox)

 

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