Monday, April 14, 2014

Newarke Houses Museum, Leicester, England

Newarke Houses Museum is a fun museum about 20th century Leicester spread over two 16th century mansions (houses on Newarke Street, hence the name). The building has a good variety of exhibits appealing to most every age and taste.

The entrance

Side view of the museum

The first room has displays of the industrial history of Leicester, including an old time clock for workers.

Clock for clocking in to work

An old grocer's store

J and L were much more interested in the toy exhibit, which has some items for playing. L's favorite was a horse-stick. J played most with a plastic bowling ball and pins.

J looks at some classic toys

20th century toys!

Ride 'em, L!

Also downstairs is the Paneled Room, which recreates the 1645 conditions of the locals. The family was fairly affluent as can be seen from the decor.

Paneled Room

Downstairs also has a recreation inspired by 1950s-era Wharf Street in Leicester.

1950's street

Jolly Angler pub

The grocer's store (different from the one above!)

The top floor of the museum is dedicated to the military. The history of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment is described along with many mementos both serious and fun.

History of Royal Leicestershire Regiment

Some weapons

Tiger-head snuff box!

The museum has a recreation of a World War I trench with sounds and lights flashing. The kids weren't too scared to go through.

In the trench

A small room with bunks

A machine gun

Soldiers often adopted stray dogs as companions and to help with the rat problem. This dog (who was named "Rats") was so popular that he was stuffed for display.

Rats the dog

World War II items include the usual variety of gear along with a display on the Women's Land Army. Young women who didn't join the military forces could go and work on farms to keep the local production of food as high as possible.

Women's Land Army display

The museum also has a Morrison Shelter. It's a steel table with metal legs and mesh on the sides. If people couldn't make it to an air raid shelter, they could hide under the table during an air raid. Otherwise, it functioned as a kitchen table. 500,000 were distributed by 1941 and it is named after Herbert Morrison, the Home Secretary in charge of air raid precautions.

Morrison Shelter

The museum also features a treasure hunt trail for children, looking for family crests and other nice decorations sprinkled throughout the museum. J and L weren't particularly interested in doing it but I did find some nice items.

A family coat-of-arms

Even fancier coat-of-arms display

An eagle!

Some random paneling

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