National Park Week in the USA has just finished, organised (of course) by the National Park Service and supported by the National Park Foundation. This year, there have been more virtual events unsurprisingly than ever before, along with daily themes around which social media content was focused such as Transformation Tuesday, Earth Day, and Junior Ranger Day. Twitter even rolled out a Covid-friendly Park Ranger emoji complete with mask to accompany the related hashtags for the week #findyourpark
The Presidential Proclamation from the White House noted the healing power of connection with nature, and the opportunities for the NPS as an organisation to engage ever more equitably with the communities it serves.
This year’s Park Week also saw the anticipated launch of the NPS app, which brings together a range of handy visitor information about parks and sites in the National Park System, along with maps and links to interpretation materials. The app takes the design principles of the Unigrid further into the digital realm (Those who recognise our guidebook and signage obsessions on this blog will realise I’ll inevitably be coming back anon on this….).
The app’s first iteration is good and, even though somewhat afar sitting in the UK, I have already lost a number of hours playing with it – and am now mentally planning future trips back to the States to try it out on location.
Alongside vital repairs, the project will help provide an enhanced visitor experience with new activities: the creation of a reminiscence café, a community hub and a Youth Shed where young people can gain basic engineering skills and find inspiration in the achievements of Richard Garrett, his descendants and those who worked at the site.
New displays will feature the Museum’s own extensive collections – from sickles to steam engines – and draw on the Garrett Archive at Suffolk Record Office to explore the history of industry and science, tell the stories of the workers and reveal more about the lives of the Garrett family – including Elizabeth Garrett who became the first woman in Britain to qualify as a doctor.
The Stott Park Bobbin Mill in Cumbria was in use from 1835 (when it was founded by John Harrison) until its closure in 1971. It was placed in State Guardianship in 1974 (and is now in the care of English Heritage). One of its chief functions was to make bobbins from locally harvested wood for use in the cotton mills. The mill is located at the south-west corner of Lake Windermere.
The first DOE guidebook was prepared in 1983 by Ian Ayris and Peter White. The introduction states: ‘The mill buildings and the machinery are predominantly Victorian. It is scarcely different in appearance today than it was over 100 years ago. It is, therefore, a unique and important monument’. The cover indicates the then vision for the bobbin mill: ‘An Industrial Museum’.
The fully illustrated guide has sections on the products; the bobbin masters; the bobbin mills; the bobbin makers; and bobbin making.
The acknowledgements notes that the DOE ‘will be pleased to hear from people who have further records, photographs or information on the history of the bobbin industry’.
The present fully illustrated English Heritage guidebook by Peter White is divided into two main sections, tour of the site, and history of the mill. There is a description of each feature of the mill and its outlying buildings. There are several special features including child labour; powering the mill; apprentices, journeymen and masters; the cotton famine; and the workhouse. There is a section on the 1980 interview with Jack Ivison and his memories of the working mill.
Last night (14 July 2016) we attended a ceremony to celebrate the World’s First Twinned Archaeological Sites: Grime’s Graves in Norfolk and the Hoshikuso Obsidian Mines in Japan. There was a warm welcome from the Mayor of Thetford.
We were given a tour of one of the pits, and then a walk round part of the site to Canon Greenwell’s Pit (not open to the public).
This was followed by speeches, and a signing ceremony between the two archaeological sites.
The party of Obsidian Ambassadors then sang to us, followed by further music suited to a perfect summer evening.
In March 2016 the Department for Transport announced a £1 million fund to make it easier to travel by rail. Minister Claire Perry MP has spoken about the ‘great ideas’ that had been put forward.
A group of us proposed a project, ‘Travel Back in Time with King Raedwald’. This will involve using proximity prompts to encourage visitors to move from viewing the Sutton Hoo finds in the British Museum, the UK’s top tourist attraction (see here), to the find-spot in Suffolk. The app will provide information about how to get to Liverpool Street, how to buy tickets, where to change (at Ipswich), and where to alight (Woodbridge or Melton). It will then have further details of where to buy food and coffee, and how to walk (or find other transport) from the station.
Minister Claire Perry MP announced the winners yesterday (“Rail tourism winners announced“, 25 May 2016). The competition “offers grants to rail operators for innovative ideas and trials and is aimed particularly at heritage railways and community rail partnerships. It hopes to encourage more tourists and make it easier to explore the UK by rail.”
‘Travel Back in Time with King Raedwald’ was one of the 17 winners and the team members are looking forward to delivering the project over the next year.
Claire Perry MP commented: “We want to show the best of British to our visitors and Heritage and Community Railways are part of that package. I am delighted that this project is one of 17 national winners across Britain. I look forward to seeing the scheme develop, providing another great reason to visit Suffolk.”
The Long Shop Museum in Leiston celebrates the output of the engineering company of Richard Garrett & Sons. The displays record the remarkable industrial output of this small Suffolk town including a wide range of agricultural equipment including traction engines and seed planters. During the First World War the plant produced aircraft, and in the Second World War guns for ships.
This is one of the more unusual features of Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. This comes from a British Pathe news bulletin of 1963. The castle was placed under state guardianship and is now part of English Heritage.
The well was dug after 1136, and is some 49 m deep. The first recorded mention of the use of donkeys to turn the wheel dates to 1696.
A more recent video from the BBC shows the revised conditions in 2011, although some of the older Ministry signage can still be spotted.
My colleague Eddie Duggan has drawn my attention to the 3D model of the Etruscan Tomba dei Rilievi at Cerveteri, Italy. We had been working on sympotic equipment that features in the decoration of the tomb.
The 9 mile long Crinan Canal skirts the edge of the Kilmartin prehistoric landscape. It was constructed to avoid the long sea route round the Mull of Kintyre. The canal runs from Ardrishaig on Loch Gilp to Crinan and the Sound of Jura. The canal was started in 1794, and opened in 1809, with further modifications by Thomas Telford.