Here you will find information centred on specific items in the Woodhams Stone Collection (for example the Medicine Cabinet featured below), themes running through the collection which unite a number of items (for example Breweries) or information about businesses which have been prominent in Malton or Norton and the people behind them.
Much of this information has been researched to support exhibitions we have run in recent years.
Medicine Cabinet. This large medicine cabinet has recently been added to the Woodhams-Stone Collection. While its exact history is not known, it appears to have retained most of its original contents. It has also had some wonderful extra items added to it including an enema kit and a glass nipple shield. It probably dates to about 1900. Read more about this fascinating item here.
Brewing Industry. Brewing has been an important part of life in Malton for generations. Both the main breweries, Russells and Rose’s, met their ends with mergers and buy outs in the mid to late 20th century. Vivid memories remain of the brewery buildings on Castlegate. Read brief histories of our breweries and learn about the range of artefacts the Woodhams Stone Collection has here.
Pop! Aerated water and carbonated drinks were made in Malton and Norton in Victorian times by a number of manufacturers. It was originally thought that carbonated drinks had medicinal benefit and so early involvement in this business included chemists in the towns. Do you know a ‘Codd’ bottle from a ‘Hamilton’ bottle? Read more here.
Horse Hoof Inkwell. Many museum collections include examples of antique taxidermy. Not to modern taste, they often divide opinion and are problematic to display. The inkwell in the Woodhams Stone Collection, however, has a happier story than most examples of taxidermy. The horse, named Malton, carried Lord Grimthorpe during the First World War, 1915-1917. Lord Grimthorpe went on to breed race horses, and later thoroughbreds, at his Eastthorpe Hall stud. He was also joint Master of the Middleton Hunt from 1921. Read more here
Shaving! Throughout history both men and women have removed unwanted body hair, and razor like objects have been found dating back to the Bronze Age. The first recorded folding ‘cut throat’ razor was listed in Sheffield in 1680. The type of edge that a razor was given varied and they could be quite specialised. One of the cut throat razors in the Woodhams Stone Collection is marked ‘Hollow Ground’ meaning that the sides of the blade are concave. These were the type of razors usually preferred by barbers. Cut throat razors required skill to use and the blade had to be extremely sharp and held at just the correct angle to the face to avoid injury. Read more here
Typhoid Outbreak of 1932. It is easy to think of typhoid as a problem which affects only developing countries, but not long ago typhoid epidemics were endemic in Britain. Indeed Malton experienced a serious outbreak as late as 1932. A large framed map in the Woodhams Stone Collection records the epidemic. It pin points the position of the sewers, drains and water mains as well as the houses where those affected lived – each marked with a red cross. It is believed to have been created in 1933 for the Ministry of Health’s Report and covers houses in Malton, Norton and Old Malton. Read more here
Sewing Machine – Wilcox & Gibbs. Today the sewing machine is a firmly established piece of equipment both in the work place and the home. Traditionally women were expected to clothe themselves and their family and provide all the household textiles. If they were unable to employ a professional tailor or seamstress, then they stitched everything themselves – by hand. No wonder then when the first practical and affordable sewing machines appeared on the market women took to them almost immediately. Sewing machines were truly time and labour saving. Read more here
Ceramic Water Filter. This water filter in the Woodhams Stone Collection is typical of those used in the late 19th century. It was manufactured by T. Elliott and Company in Manchester, a city where there were great problems with the provision of a clean water supply. It is made of brown salt glazed stoneware and the body of the filter is decorated with sprigging showing baskets of flowers and other foliate motifs. The filter itself was made of activated charcoal, or, as the company put it, it was a “Self Cleansing Carbon Filter”. Carbon absorbs the impurities present in water making it much safer to drink. Carbon filters are still used in water filters today. Read more here
Paper Pattern by Mme. Demorest. Madame Demorest was born Ellen Louise Curtis in 1824. Her father owned a hat factory and she initially opened a millinery shop. After moving her business to New York she met and married William Jennings Demorest, a widower, who had recently opened Madame Demorest’s Emporium of Fashion on Broadway. She developed many fashion related innovations including her own drafting system, but it was her mass-production and promotion of paper patterns that single her out in the history of fashion.
Madame Demorest offered single paper patterns for bodices, sleeves, children’s clothing, underwear and outerwear in plain or trimmed. Complete patterns were also sold and were available through shops, dressmaker’s establishments or mail order. The patterns were all one size only and came with very few instructions. They had to be adapted by the maker to fit the wearer, although Madame Demorest offered custom made patterns on receipt of the relevant body measurements. Read more here
Corkscrew & Champagne Tap. As bottles moved from being hand blown individually to being moulded in large numbers, they became more uniform in shape and size. They became more cylindrical and could be stored on their sides. Corks, therefore, had to fit tighter, and were compressed before being inserted into the bottle neck. As a result they were more difficult to remove. The ‘bottle screw’, as the corkscrew were first known, appeared in England in the 1600s. It was almost certainly modelled on the ‘worm’ or ‘screw’, an implement used for cleaning gun barrels. Read more here.
Portable Gramophone. The gramophone in the Woodhams Stone Collection is an HMV Model 102. This was a popular portable model produced between 1931 to 1958. This machine dates from the 1930s and the case is covered in a very fashionable green. It also boasts an additional record holder with raised sides which fits over the turntable. This was used to transport records safely and lifts off the turntable when the gramophone was in use. It strangely does not look so old fashioned. 3.2 million vinyl records were sold in 2016 a rise of 53% on the previous year and vintage style record players have been popular for a few years now. I suspect that these new gramophones are not hand-cranked like our original.