Museum News

Generous Donations of World War 1 Items to the Museum

In June 2016, BDHH has received two very interesting donations from relatives of those who participated in the First World War. Firstly Dr. R. Colin Welch has kindly given us the Trio of Medals awarded to his grandfather R. William Welch.

William Welch came with his wife to Belford in 1908, when they became Master and Matron of Belford Workhouse, a post which they held until 1911. As well as being responsible for the welfare of the inmates of the Workhouse, William was also a member of the Cricket Team and Northumberland Fusiliers Territorials.

When he resigned his post in 1911, he went to Work for Gerard Leather at Middleton Hall as a Gardener/ Chauffeur, living in the Lodge.

He signed up the day after War was declared, and his first task was to drive a lorry to Liverpool, from where he went to Belgium and then France, arriving in time to fight at the battles of Mons and Loos.

His involvement in these battles is borne out by the rosette on his 1914 Star - this was only given to soldiers who fought between August and November 1914.

We have also received a Nurse’s Uniform worn by Daphne Leather, the daughter of Gerard Leather.

This she wore when nursing the soldiers who had been invalided home, and were recovering at Hampton Court , Leominster.

This has been generously given by Charlotte Gaisford, Daphne’s granddaughter. Both items will enrich our first world war displays.

Yr 3 and 4 from Belford First School visit the Belford Hidden History Museum.

Our first school visit, in fact, from 17 children and teacher accompanied by 2 parents. They enjoyed looking at the displays, using the Touch Screen and Listening posts, and heard about some of the people who have lived in Belford.

The boy pointing to the photo of the soldier is related to him. The photo is one of many in the museum in a display of Belford people who served in WW1.

Afterwards one child wrote in the Visitors Book:

"Class 3 really enjoyed this museum. It was interesting and fantastic."

Over half-term some of the children returned to the museum with their parents and did the quizzes which are always available to anyone visiting. It is open every day from 10-4.

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Our First Heritage Open Day 15 Sept 2013

Our first Heritage Open Day was a great success! We prepared by advertising it widely in the locality and leafleted the whole village as well as sending leaflets out via the schools. Heritage Open Day organisation provided bunting to complement our own Northumberland bunting kindly provided by our own Belford Community Group.

Four of the Friends of the Museum were able to be present during the day to chat to visitors. The main attraction was the showing of a DVD of home movies showing Belford celebrating the 1977 Silver Jubilee. This proved quite a draw to villagers who were amused to spot themselves and friends and family at such events as the Brownies Disco, Football Match and Old Years Night celebrations.

Gales of laughter could be heard from the Billiards Room into which we were allowed to extend for that day as people edged their chairs nearer to the screen trying to recognise people. We managed to get a long list of names of people appearing in it. It’s amazing how old-fashioned 1977 looked! The movies were made by the late Mr Nicholson of West St.

We were also fortunate to receive some photographs of Adderstone Hall Farm during the 1920’s and 30’s. These were professionally-taken photographs of workers on the farm. The mystery man leading the horses was featured by the Berwick Advertiser in its publicity for the event and was identified by visitors as Bob Sprott.

We had over 90 visitors that day, most of whom stayed for some time, watching the DVD several times. Most were local but there were also visitors from further afield, some of whom had spotted the event in the official HOD brochure or website.

The newly-installed listening posts were very popular. Sadly only one child came that day but she had fun doing the Blue Bell quiz. We are looking for ways to appeal to more children and both schools have been invited to send groups of children in the future.

It was great to see all the rooms of our little museum thronging with visitors! We are open every day from 10-4 throughout the winter.

Our First Coach Trip to the Belford Hidden History Museum.

We had a party of 25 people employed in the tourism business visit the museum on Tue 25th March 2014 accompanied by a Blue Badge Tour Guide.

We invited them as they were touring the area looking at attractions for visitors which they could recommend.

They seemed impressed with our FREE Museum so lets hope they recommend us as a great FREE attraction in 2014.

This was our first coach party visit!

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