Thursday, 12 April 2012

Trip to Sleaford

 Chris and I are enjoying a few days holiday this week and although we haven't yet achieved that much, it is nice not to have to go to work.  We had a trip out to Sleaford yesterday: a small market town in Lincolnshire.  Above is a view across some of the rooftops.
 The purpose of the trip out was to visit the National Centre for Craft and Design (it used to be called the Hub, but has recently been re-branded).  It looks a huge building, doesn't it, but in fact a lot of space inside is used as teaching rooms and it actually only has two galleries. 
There was a jewellery exhibition, based around the theme of 'Transportation' and linked with Australia.
I really liked this piece, called 'Bed and Board' by a Professor at the University of Lincoln.  It is based on the Head of Lincoln prison in around the 1830s, who apparently took a shine to the women inmates and who would (for a favour or two) put in a word to prevent transportation to Australia. The piece shows an image of Lincoln Cathedral, with a cell window over the top and a hanged figure with a view of the Castle Observatory tower over it.  Apparently, when not involved with the women, the Head of the Prison was very fond of astronomy and had the tower built. 
The other exhibition made much more of an impact on me.  It was called the 'Museum of Broken Relationships' and displayed items that had been donated by people that had some kind of significance in a broken relationship.  There were descriptions by the side of each item by the donors; bittersweet, poignant, angry, bitter, sad, happy and heart-breaking.  There were a few that really stayed with me.  There was a postcard sent to a girl by her boyfriend.  He asked her parents for their permission to marry her but was told no.  That night, he drove his car off a cliff.
There was a sketchbook by a thirteen year old girl of her hospital ward. She died and the sketchbook was donated by her brother. 
There were two lacy bras (which initially made me smile, thinking they were a gift from an ex-boyfriend), which showed the broken relationship between a woman and her body once she was diagnosed with cancer and then had to face the reconstructive surgery.
 A roll of astroturf with a label 'for ...(name)' was a gift for a girl from a boy who had a crush on her.  She needed the astroturf for an art project and he managed to get some for her.  Unfortunately, she left the area soon after and the roll of turf had been by the door, waiting for her to collect it ever since.  The stories were fascinating and it left me with the thought that even though we all live in different parts of the world, we all share the same emotions.  A thought provoking and moving exhibition.


  1. What an interesting exhibition. Both actually but especially the second one. Like you, I would have been mesmerised by the stories attached to the various objects. The capacity of objects to hold a deep and hidden history never fails to fascinate me. I have a slightly fey feeling that memory can be held by things and indeed places as well as people. Do you know Alison Uttley's A Country Child? It's a delightful semi-autobiographical story of a girl growing up in the Derbyshire countryside at the end of the 19th C and she has the sense that the old furniture of the farmhouse where she lives chatters when everyone is absent and she hopes to surprise it one day. Childish fancy of course in the story but rather an attractive one that part of me buys into! Enjoy your time off from work - I too have a bit of welcome space this week and it's lovely! Elizabeth x

    1. Dear Elizabeth
      Thank you so much for your comment. It certainly was a fascinating exhibition.
      I have heard of A Country Child but haven't yet read it. I love A Traveller in Time though, with the evocative descriptions of Tudor life. It has always made me wish I could just go through a door and be in a different time, with all the people who lived there. Looks like I may have another book for my (ever growing) wish list...
      Enjoy your free time too.
      Best wishes

  2. This is fantastic!!
    I'd never heard of this town. Looking at the photo of the rooftops, I have to say that it looks a lot like towns here in the NL :)
    What a "jewel" that warden at lincoln prison was!!! I like the design too.
    I love the stories of broken hearts and broken relationships - sort of reminds me of the story of Abelard and Eloise :)
    Have a nice weekend!!

  3. Dear Aledys
    Thank you for your comment - lovely to hear from you.
    I wonder what it is about the rooftops in Sleaford that looks like the Netherlands - perhaps it is the red roof tiles?
    The stories in the exhibition were all very interesting to read and the ones I mentioned have really stayed with me.
    Have a lovely weekend too and I hope the weather has improved for you.
    Best wishes

  4. The tiles, sure, but it is the kind of houses and the church looks a lot like the ones you find here, the post-Reformation ones.
    As for the weather - I think it'll be ok during the weekend, at least it won't rain in this part of the NL :)