Roz Currie, Curator
Over the summer we have been working with the Museum of London on their rationalisation project. Following a review of the Social and Working History collections, 6000 objects were identified for disposal … and Islington Museum was one of the lucky recipients!
During the 1970s and 1980s museums undertook ‘rescue collecting’. As traditional craft workshops were closing, many museums collected the whole contents, from all of the tools to the tea cups. The idea was to capture disappearing crafts and trades and recreate workshops in the museum. At the Museum of London many of these collections have never been displayed and so the rationalisation process identified duplicate and unusable items and then offered them to other museums.
I spent time at the Museum of London store in Hackney looking through boxes and boxes of exciting objects from the following places in Islington:
- The Oliver family watchcase-maker business which had a workshop at 31 Wynyatt Street, Clerkenwell and then in at 25 Spencer Street until 1971.
Oliver’s Watchcase Workshop which closed in 1971
- Rowley Parkes clockmakers and brass finishers -One of the last Clerkenwell firms to make clocks by hand, based in Briset Street.
The Rowley Parkes building on Briset Street
- Groome upholsterer and button manufacturer
We hope to do a lot more work with these collections –looking at the different tools, understanding how they were used, and exploring their local history so keep a look out for more information. And if you know anything about light industry in Islington please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Museum of London project see here.