A Hive of Industry

And other exhibitions at Gunnersbury Park Museum

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Gunnersbury Park Museum
Gunnersbury Park
W3 8LQ
Tel: 020 8992 2247/1612

Nearest tube: Acton Town (District/Piccadilly Lines)
Bus Route: E3 Popes Lane (off North Circular A406)
Disabled parking available

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Quietly over the summer a new exhibition has been installed at the Museum at Gunnersbury. A fantastic array of products made in Hounslow and Ealing, the two boroughs the museum serves, has been brought out of the stores. Visitors will be amazed at the number of famous brands which have local connections!

A Hive of Industry is the kind of exhibition Gunnersbury does really well and it demonstrates what our Museum could be with some proper investment. Despite its extreme lack of resources, the combination of a rich collection and an imaginative curator really works. This display is thoughtfully laid out, clearly labelled, and very enjoyable.  

There are some surprising facts to discover: did you know that Elizabeth I insisted that her bread be made from Heston wheat, thatBuckingham Palace was built with bricks made in Northolt, that an Acton toy factory made the teddy bear which was the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh and that Feltham supplied fire extinguishers to the Tsar of Russia?

Some of the objects are now on show for the first time. You will find a vacuum cleaner from the Hoover factory, tins of Cherry Blossom boot polish, a Bush radio and a Leak tuner, a seventeenth century sword from the Hounslow sword factory, a Jantzen swimming costume, beer bottles from Fuller Smith and Turner, early pharma-ceuticals from Glaxo, Noon curry packaging, razors from Gillette and Wilkinson Sword, an Ealing Studios film poster and a wealth of other products from well-known factories such as Coty, Sandersons, Firestone, Macleans, and Lucozade.

This exhibition explains why the area has been so productive – the local soil encouraged horticulture and brick-making, fishing and boat-building used the Thames, canals and railways attracted a huge variety of industry, modern model factories lined the Great West Road and film studios and airports loved the clean air west of London.

If you or your family have worked in these local industries Vanda Foster, the Curator, would love you to share your thoughts and memories, and even add to the exhibition with loans or donations of products or old photos. Contact her on 020 8992 1612 or by e-mail at vanda.foster@laing.com.

A Hive of Industry runs until September 2011, admission free.  Opening times - 11 to 5 April – October; 11 to 4 November – March

Stir-Up Sunday: free family event

Join the Victorian servants as they prepare for the Christmas festivities! Traditionally, the preparations would begin on the last Sunday before Ad-vent, known as Stir-Up Sunday. The Victorian kitchens will be decked with holly and ivy to put you in the Christ-mas spirit, and you can help the servants pound the sugar and spices, stir the plum pudding and make a Christmas wish!

You might also discover a few Christmas traditions. . . Why do we stir the pudding from East to West? Why do we put three spices into the mince pies? And who are the Lord and Lady of Misrule?

Sessions take place first-come, first-served as follows: 11.30am –12.30pm, 1–2 pm and 2.30–3.30pm. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Phone 020 8992 2247 for details

The Polish Lives exhibition   5 Dec 2010 – 20 Jan 2011

Ealing is renowned for its large Polish community, the result of several waves of migration which began with the famous Polish pilots based at Northolt during World War II.

This exhibition is the result of an oral history project carried out by Ealing Local Studies Library, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Different generations of Polish residents were interviewed about their origins, experiences of living in Ealing and how they have maintained or adapted Polish cultural traditions and attitudes.

The interviews are being edited for a website, which can be used by local schools. Gunnersbury Park Museum is providing the main venue for the exhibition and will add the original interviews to the museum’s oral history archives.

Vocational training for schools

In February 2011 the museum education department will be working on a joint project with the London Transport Museum Depot at Acton and the Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network (ASDAN) to provide vocational training for a group of secondary school pupils from Acton High School.

Museum staff will train the pupils to deliver sessions on the Victorian Kitchens to a class from Derwentwater Primary School – they will be learning the skills of live interpretation in museums. This project will help them to work towards their Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) by enabling them to practice key skills such as communication and team-work. Some of them will be "actors" in the Kitchens and some will be our "site managers". The latter will be expected to focus on customer service skills.

Iron Age coins

The Friends made a donation to the Museum to enable it to buy seventeen Iron Age coins found in Brentford. These have now arrived at Gunnersbury and are being carefully documented before they go on show in the not too distant future.



November 24, 2010