Alnwick museum extends its reach around the world during lockdown

Bailiffgate Museum in Alnwick has enjoyed a surge in virtual visitors during lockdown.

Friday, 1st May 2020, 12:17 pm
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 8:07 am

Parts of the collection that would normally be hidden away in storage have been uploaded to its website, YouTube channel and to the Out of Town Museum website.

Just added are some cinema advertisements from the 1950s including an intriguing colour advert for ‘mixed X-Ray sessions’ where all the family can attend and women are cautioned not to wear ‘sequins, ornate buttons or painted fabrics’ and told that ‘no undressing’ is required.

An interesting poster from the pre-National Health Service days also advertises the 1937 Annual Fancy Dress Ball at Rennington held to raise money for Alnwick Infirmary.

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Bailiffgate Museum.

And there is a fine collection of Alnwick-born William Davison’s posters. Davison was a pharmacist, apothecary, printer, engraver/etcher, bookseller, stationer, publisher, bookbinder and librarian. He also set up the Alnwick Dispensary in 1815 which in 1849 became the Alnwick Infirmary.

A man dedicated to social reform through education, at the age of 72 he published the first Alnwick Mercury in 1854 which eventually became the Northumberland Gazette.

Jean Humphrys, chair of trustees said: “Like everyone else, we had no idea what might be happening in the world in 2020, but thanks to our amazing volunteers, we have been able to keep the museum vibrant and virtually accessible.

“Since the lockdown, we have seen a 170% rise in visitors to our collections website.

A pottery demonstration at the Duke's School in the 1950s.

“We have had people subscribing to our email newsletters from Ukraine, Zurich, Germany, St Petersburg, Texas, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Sweden, Winnipeg and Paris.

“It’s incredible to think that the history of Alnwick is reaching so many people across the world.

“In a normal year many tourists from a wide range of national and international locations visit to see what Alnwick & District has to offer. We often hear from people who have family connections and want to explore their past.

“It’s great to know that in these difficult times we are able to offer a glimpse of the rich heritage Northumberland has to offer. We hope that when tourism and travel are possible again that many of these virtual visitors will come to visit in person.”

A 1950s advert.

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Crowds at Emily Davidson's funeral.

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Alnwick Red Cross volunteers.
A 1950s cinema advert.
Pupils and staff of the preparatory Department of the Duke's School in the 1920s.
Bailiffgate Museum, Alnwick.