An Afternoon of Curiosities

An Afternoon of Curiosities

With thanks to Heather Stevenson for photos and info

A group of ladies met at the East Street Museum for another afternoon of ‘Cakes and Curiosities’ on Wednesday March 15th. Each had brought along an item or two to discuss. Some were definitely curious — some puzzles remain — and this time the range covered the world,..


Jo’s contribution was related to our East Street displays of Royalty. This was a very special handbag with matching dress and Stewart gloves, bought by Jo’s mother (for Jo) but from the Queen herself who was serving at a special sale in 1956 at a church in Balmoral. There is even photo and movie evidence of the queen doing the selling in aid of the church. What provenance for these special items!

We also saw a photograph of the Queen in 1966 on her visit to Cadborough and another photograph from the 1900’s showing the staff of Lord Ashburnham including the Bayliff.

glazed-potItems from the Museum’s collection included two horse harnesses and an unusual pot with two spouts but no lid (right). Could it have been used to store oil or wine? It resembles Cadborough Ware with its brown glaze. And there was also a ticket to see Wilfred curling-stone-and-knitting-gadgetPickles in Rye in 1960; on the reverse of the ticket were the words ‘Have a Go’. Other items included a necklace with a silver medal, a small pottery curling stone and a knitting gadget (left).


But we also saw curiosities owned by Ryers which originated far away.

reindeer-carvingOne peculiar item was a carved bone with intricate carved rings – a baby’s rattle from Lapland (right).. The carvings included a reindeer plus a pattern and a tribesman (Sami?) This item was loaned by Arne who had grown up in the very northern part of Sweden, within the Arctic circle.

An unusual lacquered wooden box with painted scenes and an internal tray was thought likely to be a trinket box, possibly Indonesian. An arrowhead from the Ute Indian tribe of Colorado and a very small bird’s skull prompted Heather to tell of a recent book linking animals, bones and display: Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy about a Victorian countryman of Sussex who became famous for his museum (now gone) with its whimsical animal tableaux featuring, for example, multi-legged kittens and two legged lambs.

Certainly there were many items to ponder over and some fascinating stories — all enjoyed along with a nice cup of tea and homemade cake.

If you look carefully at the photographs and have any insight into these curios do let us know.

First posted in East Street Posts, Featured, Past Events on 25th March 2017
Last updated: 25th March 2017