The museum of found objects is also known as my office. It started from a bottle found in a wall in the Central Lodge, and has steadily grown to include larger items such as bricks and the wheels which moved the coach house doors.
I already have quite a unique office, complete with flywheels. The room used to be the workshop during the Bolckow period. Before I moved into here, when I was working in the Central Lodge during the council era, I remember this room as a dark space where all of the dog bins used to be kept. I’m assuming there are now dog bins everywhere as they are no longer here!
Instead I now have a box of bones at one end of my desk and a chunk of marble at the other. They make for interesting talking points and are currently waiting to be cleaned and logged and then they will be wrapped and boxed. I will probably be surrounded by boxes at the end of this project. The box of acid free tissue paper and acid free envelopes will be replaced with neatly logged items and photos.
In the years I worked in the Central Lodge, I didn’t think we would ever find any artefacts still inside the building. The attics had been thoroughly cleared by the Council and the building seemed empty. Perhaps it was very full before, as this empty building has still unearthed a plethora of artefacts!
Some of the most interesting things we have found are the pieces of newspaper that were wedged around the doorframes in the attics to help stop draughts.
One paper is the Wednesday 10th November 1915 edition of the Northern Echo. The photo on the front page shows the capture of German field guns at Loos. There’s a mention of the Dacia being torpedoed.
On another piece there is a headline which mentions teachers enlisting but not the police. Another section of the same paper mentions the Irish Immigration problem and Greece seeking a new loan from its allies. It’s quite difficult to read as it is all gathered up but it helps give a flavour to what was happening.
I think someone made good use of this particular paper as it had been stuffed between the plaster and the doorframe for over one hundred years.
An unidentified newspaper with a date of December 29th 1916 was also found acting as a draught excluder. This piece is very crumpled and difficult to read. It looks like it’s mentioning ‘A Great Hymn Writer’, Horatius Bonar, apparently a minister for the Church of Scotland and a hymn writer who was born in 1808 and died in 1889.
Another piece found in the doorframes is from The Scotsman on the 6th April 1918. A bold headline proclaims the Russian advance on Hungary. A headline mentions The United States and its allies’ blockade. Another headline mentions Bulgaria and Serbia and the fight on the frontier.
This is like the stuff that has fallen down the back of the sofa, although we haven’t actually found any old money. What I find fascinating is that these objects were lost or put somewhere; it’s a quick glimpse into the past, such as the boxing flyer I mentioned in a previous post – did someone go to the bouts? Or the bottle of ‘drops’ that was found in the living quarters upstairs – had someone felt unwell and needed something from Taylor’s chemist on Gilkes Street? When did they go? Did the drops help? Who was the soldier or soldiers who were bothered by the drafts and stuffed the newspaper into the gaps? Did they come back?
I think you could make great stories up from this.
So what’s going to happen to these items? We are using some as handling boxes for when we go out to schools and community groups. They aren’t valuable in money but they help to tell the building’s story, which makes them very valuable in our eyes!