Macclesfield Silk Museum, Old Park Lane, Macclesfield
Launch of New Display of Macclesfield’s Ancient Egyptian Treasures at The Silk Museum
16 February 2019 - 2020
A ring belonging to Tutankhamun, a statuette of Queen Tiye - one of the most important queens in Egyptian history, and the mummy case of a significant female temple worker called Shebmut, are just some of the stars in a new display that sheds new light on Macclesfield’s own Marianne Brocklehurst and her remarkable collections.
This new display at The Silk Museum will be officially opened by Cllr Lesley Smetham, The Worshipful the Mayor of Cheshire East, at 11.30am on 16th February 2019 and runs until 2020.
The new display explores the connection between Macclesfield’s silk industry and Marianne Brocklehurst’s Egyptian collections. John Varney, Chair of The Silk Heritage Trust, said, ‘We are thrilled that the new research carried out by the museum’s curatorial team, has shown that many objects are even more significant than we thought; and this new display puts many more objects on show so that local people can enjoy more of this important heritage for the town’.
Marianne was the daughter of silk manufacturer John Brocklehurst, Macclesfield’s first MP. Her family’s wealth and social standing provided the resources for Marianne to travel extensively in Europe and the Middle East. In 1873-74 Marianne, along with her companion Mary Booth, her nephew Alfred and servant George, made an epic voyage up the Nile. Throughout this trip Marianne kept a personal diary illustrated with lively watercolours that captures life on the Nile through the eyes of this remarkable Victorian woman.
Marianne Brocklehurst and Mary Booth were life-time companions and were generally referred to as The MBs. They were unconventional women for their time – as a couple they seem to have been uncompromising and determined in their life and work. They collected various objects on their travels around Egypt, but they seem to have had a particular interest in items with a connection to Ancient Egyptian women. On their first trip, they collected the mummy case of a female temple worker, a scarab commemorating the marriage of a non-royal woman to the king, and the scarab of a king’s daughter. Perhaps it was intentional that the MBs, two unusually independent Victorian women, collected so many objects that bear the names, titles and likenesses of unusually independent Ancient Egyptian women.
A Family Open Day takes place at The Silk Museum on 16th February 2019
11am Welcome & Speeches John Varney, Chair, Silk Heritage Trust and Cllr Lesley Smetham, The Worshipful the Mayor of Cheshire East 11.30am onwards: Come and see the unique diary and notebooks that Marianne Brocklehurst made of her incredible adventures
Learn more about the Tutankhamun Ring and other amazing treasures in the collections
Mummification and Mask-making: Free Family Activities in the School Room
New Makers’ Place Meet the brilliant craftspeople making unique handmade gifts + demonstrations and craft activities All day: New Silk Shop Exquisite silk products – perfect for gifts for all occasions PLUS Egyptian inspired jewellery and souvenirs Coffee and Cake, The Jacquard Café generously supplied by the Friends of Macclesfield Silk Heritage with thanks to Bollington Co-op The Silk Museum admission is now Give What You Can. All donations welcome to support our work.
Grateful thanks to Cheshire East Council for very generously supporting the new displays and the Friends of Macclesfield Silk Heritage
One of Manchester’s greatest mills which stood at the very cusp of the Industrial Revolution is delving deeper into the working conditions of those who lived and worked at Quarry Bank in a new exhibition, ‘A Healthy Profit.’ Opening this month at the National Trust attraction, the exhibition delves into the realities of mill life and the physical, mental and emotional toil that kept the wheels of this industrial powerhouse turning.
At Quarry Bank, mill owner Samuel Greg hired Peter Holland as the first known physician to work in a factory. This was partly motivated by genuine concern for the poor and partly by the mill owners’ religious beliefs as Unitarians. However, a healthy workforce was also a productive workforce, ensuring healthier profits.
In this new exhibition, visitors can journey through different parts of the body, including the brain, eyes, ears, lungs, and skeleton to uncover how long, hard days in the mill affected the workers. Historical medical equipment including glass eyes and medical chests complete with powders and potions, as well as leech jars, inhalers and ear trumpets from the Thackray Medical Museum and Manchester Medical Museum will be on display. For the very first time, visitors can also see original documents from the mill archives accounting for accidents, injuries and even causes of death at Quarry Bank.
Exploring the connections between people, place and health both past and present, the exhibition also considers how the body is impacted today. The effects of pollution, screen time, earphones and diet, as well as the significance of the environment and outdoor spaces feature in the exhibition.
The mill in autumn at Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire
Suzanne Kellett, Programming Manager at Quarry Bank says, ‘We’re excited to be launching this new exhibition exploring the historical pressures the human body was put through, whilst drawing parallels with our lives today. Our visitors will discover more about what working life was really like for the men, women and children of Quarry Bank and we’re encouraging them to reflect on their own wellbeing as well. There are lots of interactive elements for families which bring the subject to life and we’re looking forward to seeing what they learn along the way.”
The National Trust has worked closely with the University of Manchester on new academic research looking into how the toil of mill work affected the body. The research has uncovered stories of what life was really like for those at Quarry Bank and how the mill’s healthy profit wasn’t necessarily driven by a healthy workforce. These findings have helped shape the new exhibition opening this autumn.
Families visiting the exhibition will find plenty of interactive features including a giant brain revealing more about its different functions with a chance to put their concentration to the test and see how they compare to a mill worker. Visitors can also have a go at mee-mawing - a form of speech invented by the mill workers using exaggerated movements to allow lip reading over the clatter and bustle of the noisy machines.
Throughout October half term there will be themed activities and science experiments getting families closer to what it was like to live and work at Quarry Bank.
Inside the mill, visitors can see the historic machinery thunder into action and feel the floors shake beneath their feet. Guided tours of the Apprentice House and workers cottage also show where the men, women and children who worked at Quarry Bank lived, ate and slept after toiling for twelve hours a day in the mill.
2020 28th January
History from Local Sources a talk by Ian Doughty.
Wagon’s West a talk by Ian Cameron.
Three Cheshire brothers converted to Mormonism in its early years in England and in about 1850 set off for the US with their families, heading for Salt Lake City on sailing ships and on wagons crossing the Great Plains, with three entirely different outcomes.
Studying the three R’s: an introduction to School and Education Records for Family Tree research
a talk by Claire Moores.
What did he die of? a talk by Sylvia Dillon.
Exploring causes of death and where you might find death records.
Women of Macclesfield - short talks.
Some you may have heard of and others may be new to you.
Tabley House a talk by Claire Pye.
Visit to Tabley House (date to be arranged)
Researching Military Medals a talk by Peter Ramsden
AGM and “Show and Tell” bring along a family heirloom or two and tell us why they are so precious to you.
Bollington History including some Bollington families
a talk by Tim Boddington
What’s new in Family Search?
a talk by Val Moss