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  • Writer's picturePenrith and Eden Museum

Remebering Eden - Sharing Stories through Objects

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

In January 2020, the museum was awarded a small grant from the Heritage Fund for our reminiscince project Remembering Eden. Our exhibition launched on the 17th March, the day we closed the museum due to COVID-19. It has been a fantastic project, and we and we want to be able to share what has been achieved so far.

Remembering Eden is an inspirational Heritage Fund project to bring together cross-generational groups and those living with Dementia to share stories of their lives living in the Eden Valley.

Dementia has been identified as one of the major challenges in the 21st Century, an estimated 921 people are living with Dementia in Eden, and a predicted 1,268 people to be diagnosed by 2025.

Developing new partnerships with local care homes and Dementia groups, we have asked them to participate in the creation of Reminiscence boxes for future museum programming. And to take part in creating an art installation that will slowly take shape during the exhibition. Reminiscence and art practice has been recommended as tools to promote social inclusion and improve the quality of life of those living with Dementia

A table of museum objects used in the reminiscence sessions, with examples of the felt forget-me-nots.

Everyone taking part in the project will make a piece of felt that will feature their name and date of birth. The wool fibres are tactile, and the aim is to stimulate different senses while the groups will learn the skills of felting. Artist Karen MacDougall will then make the felt petals into forget-me-nots, and this will become part of a much larger installation. It will represent how Dementia affects all of the lives it touches.

Within this exhibition, we show highlights from our collection that evoke shared story-telling in our reminiscence sessions.

In this blog post we are focusing on the objects taken to care homes and the memories that they evoked. The statements in blue are memories collected from people who took part in the project.

In the coming weeks we will be focusing on themes of the exhibition in closer detail and sharing with you the finished sculpture with a blog post from our artist Karen MacDougall. Todays post is focusing on the objecst that sparked memories with our local community groups.

Middlegate, Penrith, C1950s

The photograph is looking south towards the town centre. Pictured is a busy street scene. It shows the corner of Robinson's School (now Penrith and Eden Museum) Alhambra Cinema, Arcade Cafe Snack Bar, Burtons and Hepworths.


Doreen: “I was aged 5 in 1938 and went to Robinson’s Infant School and then went to the Girls’ National School in Drovers Lane when I was 10 or 11. There were two teachers I think it was Miss Kelly and Miss Anderson and we had 2 classes. Just girls I think. There were 2 rooms with toilets out the back which froze up when it was cold and we were sent home. There were no luxuries like central heating - you wore your coat and there was a stove I think. We used slates with wooden edges and white chalk. We skipped, sung and played marbles. School dinners hadn’t started then so we took our own food. There were no school uniforms and you wore what your mother could afford. In the playground you did exercises.”

Stalkers Iron Foundry

In the image to the left is a display case from the exhibition containing clogs made at the Stalkers Iron Foundry, two metal signs for Stalkers and a framed photograph of the image below.

A pair of wooden clogs, c1910

The Stalker brothers inherited their iron foundry business from their father in 1851. They supplied people living in the Eden Valley with a range of useful items such as these Clogs up until the 1970s.

Annette: "We used to walk to school in clogs when we were just small. We loved to kick up sparks with the metal strips on the bottom of the wood. My mother walked me over to a farm in the morning, on the way to school, and I was given a huge spoonful of malt there."

David: “My mother was born in 1903. She wore clogs and used to go under the looms at Brookhouse Mill in Preston cleaning out the bits underneath. My Grandfather was a tattler and had his own bench at the end of the weaving shed so he could oil and adjust the looms.” Ron: “I was the only one in the family that wasn’t allowed a pair! At 5o’clock when the mill women all came out they made a dreadful clatter!”

Stalker Brothers Foundry in Castlegate, Penrith, 1969

A Fowler steam roller, formerly belonging of Westmorland County Council, ouside the entrance to Stalker Brothers foundry in Castlegate, Penrith, in 1969. Mr George Stalker, who ran the business at that time, is on the right, and his son Paul on the left. Copy print from an original owned and taken by Frank Boyd.Stream roller outside


Glassons Brewery, Penrith

The image to the left shows a display case containing three beer bottles a wooden Glassons beer barrel top and a framed photograph of the image below.

Glassons Brewery Bottle

Michael: “Wine?” Alan: “It's beer” Dawn: “There were a lot of pubs here. For a small town, it was a lot. We had 40 pubs here.”

Glassons Beer Barrel Top, c1940


A framed advert for Glassons , Penrith Breweries Limited

Glassons Breweries Office, c1955

The photograph shows the offices of Glassons Penrith Breweries Limited, Wine and Spirit Merchants, at the corner of Cornmarket and Great Dockray in Penrith. The picture is by J Charles Fearnsides, the Penrith photographer. Glassons was founded in 1754 and was one of the major breweries in Penrith. It was taken over by Dutton Blackburn Brewery in 1959. The last of Penrith brewery buildings were demolished in 1987.


Looking at a picture of the brewery: Dawn: “The town hasn't changed at all.”

Agfa Synchro Box B2 box camera, c1949-1958

David: “It’s a box Brownie! I’d always wanted one of these but couldn’t afford it! It’s terrific! There are 2 viewfinders one for portrait and one for landscape. This was made in Germany they (Agfa) were really good!” John: “My parents had one of these. In those days you had to send the film away and they would come back, black and white and blurry and you had to throw lots of pictures away!”

Kodak Ekra 22 Camera, c1978-1980

Kodak Ektra 22 Camera Claire: “You had to put film in them. You got pictures from Truprint.” Dawn: “I had a camera like that in the 80s. I went to Portugal with a camera like that – an 18-30s camp. When you got back it was really expensive to get the pictures developed. Then we had a Polaroid, which were instant – quite cool.”

Bush Radio c1970

The TR82 transistor radio was first manufactured in 1959 and proved to be immensely popular with the British public, as it is battery-powered and portable made it particularly attractive to teenagers. On the back of this radio are price stickers from the batteries used successively to power it.


Alan: I had one of those. Same colour. I had one of those in my bedroom. I liked the 60s music. I got a radio for my birthday.

Sugar Bags

Image of blue paper bags that contained sugar.

Denise: “There were all sorts of grocery shops. They used paper bags. I liked to go and choose items.” Jean: “They would take things from glass jars and put them into bags. Nothing was pre-packed then.” Lena: “My grandmother had a grocers shop and everything had to be weighed 2oz/4oz/etc. During the war. We used pan scales and we used to help in the evenings getting orders ready for the next day.”

Stone Water-Bottle c1910

Henry Thompson Ironmongers sold this Earthenware water-bottle in Penrith. Designed to warm feet, it has a flat base so that it can stand upright easily.


Stone Hot Water Bottle David: “I hated these they gave you chilblains! There was a knitted cover that went round it.”

Image shows display case with stone water bottle and the sugar bags.

With thanks to the Heritage Fund, for supporting Remembering Eden. Keep following our blog for future posts about the project.

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