A small leather football dating back to the 19th century and the very boat used by Grace Darling to rescue survivors – a range of exhibits at north Northumberland attractions have been chosen for a new showcase to celebrate the region.
The artefacts, selected from the likes of Alnwick’s Bailiffgate Museum and Cragside, in Rothbury, form part of The History of The North East in 100 Objects project.
The initiative aims to highlight the creativity and innovation of the North East, as told through a ‘virtual exhibition’ of 100 objects held by museums, galleries and archives across the area.
Two exhibits have been chosen from the Bailiffgate Museum; the Rothbury Shrovetide football and The Davison Bible.
The ball was used in the late 19th century and early 20th century. It is stuffed with hay and not much bigger than a large hand-ball. It was used in contests between the villagers of Thropton and those of Rothbury.
The football is on display at the museum, on loan from the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle.
The Davison Bible meanwhile, believed to date from around 1820, has a great significance for Alnwick.
It was produced by one of its most illustrious citizens, William Davison (1781–1858), who was an important and prolific printer in Alnwick, as well as being a noted apothecary, newspaper producer and philanthropist in the town.
His desire to increase and support Christian learning led him to develop an innovative approach. Rather than solely print the Bible in its entirety, his Universal Holy Bible or Complete Library of Divine Knowledge was published in 100 parts at one shilling each.
This enabled it to be more widely available to people. A complete bound copy of The Bible (complete with 49 engraved plates) cost £2. 2s.
The Wind Indicator, at Lindisfarne Castle, on Holy Island, has also been chosen. Painted on a large wooden panel, it depicts a map of the Northumberland coast lined with a defensive network of castles. To the right, the fleeing Spanish Armada – dispersed by strong winds – is shown.
The coble used by William and Grace Darling to rescue nine survivors from the wreck of the SS Forfarshire in 1838 is included in the virtual exhibition. It is on display at Bamburgh’s RNLI Grace Darling Museum.
A cloisonné vase lamp (1881) at Cragside is one of the 100 objects. This lamp, one of four, was the first in the world to use Joseph Swan’s incandescent light bulb.