South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

Bristol Mingle trip to English Heritage stores

Bristol Culture and Heritage Mingle is an informal meet-up in Bristol that is run by the South West Fed. In December English Heritage gave the Bristol Culture and Heritage Mingle a very warm welcome to their stores. Here, our Bristol Rep Iona Keen writes about the trip:

After a series of fascinating introductory talks from three of the curatorial and conservation team for the West of England (and copious tea and biscuits!), we were taken round the purpose-built warehouses, which opened in 2018. We heard about the huge task of moving English Heritage’s vast collections from a damp and leaky historic fort in Portsmouth to the new buildings.

Now that the move is complete and many of the objects have been cleaned and catalogued, the team are faced with the mammoth task of going through hundreds of boxes of smaller artefacts, some of which are still wrapped in 1930s newspaper. Who knows what they might uncover! They have a very small team and rely heavily on volunteers to help clean, catalogue and research the collection, so they are always looking for people to help! Please contact Ian Leins if you’re interested:

Our highlight was seeing a core of stone which was removed from one of the sarsens at Stonehenge during work to stabilise the stones in the 1950s. The core recently returned home from Florida where it had been hanging on the office wall of the Director of the construction company that carried out the work in the 50s. It was amazing to imagine how bright and pristine the stones would have been when they were first erected over 5,000 years ago. Now that’s a slice of history!

Upcoming Bristol Culture and Heritage Mingles are:

Monday 10 February
Monday 16 March
Monday 20 April

We meet at the Cosy Club on Corn Street, Bristol BS1, 10–11.30am.