by Calum Boyde, SVQ Student at The Devil’s Porridge Museum.
I came to volunteer at the museum due to a work placement at Annan Academy in 2019. I got offered a chance at doing an SVQ by Judith (the former museum manager). I want to work in the museums because ever since I watched Horrible Histories, I have been interested in History. My favourite time period is the Ancient Egyptians, Roman and Greek, The Golden Age of Piracy and The Age of Revolution and all the way up to the end of the Cold War. Some of my favourite people from History are Cleopatra, Robert The Bruce, William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, Blackbeard, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Marquis de Lafayette, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. My hobbies are Gaming, Reading and watching Musicals.
One of my many experiences of working here is re-organising the object store and accessioning objects. I started by having a short meeting with Judith as she explained what needed to be done. We took boxes out to see what was in them and to see if they could be better in a different box. We had a collection of objects gifted to us last year that I had to accession all the objects. During the accessioning of the objects, I had to write a description of what it was and where it could be found in the object store and then I wrote a label for it. After we have accessioned and catalogued all the objects we got to work at reorganising the object store so everything was easer to find.
At the museum we check pest traps and environmental control once a month. Pest traps are recorded by picking up the pest traps and seeing what bugs and insects are in and seeing if there is any pests. If there is any pests we check the trap or traps a week later to see if there is anymore in the trap because it would be a sign of an infestation. Every trap gets a number and is recorded on a report sheet. Environmental controls are recorded digitally and we collect them to put the data onto a computer so we can print it out. In this we look at the temperature and humidity to see if any places are affected by them. If there is anything above or below the lines, we would see if we can explain what it is before we do any action.
Tik Tok club was set up to bring in teenagers who use this site to the museum. I have enjoyed working on Tik Toks because it diversifies what I have done in the museum. The challenging parts of making Tik Toks are making sure everything we want is in frame and making sure we don’t make many mistakes while making them, even if they are sometimes funny.
Have you ever been so bored you’ve shot a telegraph pole? Stitch this with your most unusual object museums! We tag @lincsmuseums @sachistorymuseum
I have enjoyed doing this SVQ and volunteering in the museum as it gave me experience of working in different parts of a museum, even though it is a small museum, The staff and volunteering here are welcoming and very polite. If I had any advice for new SVQ students it would be to do it because it’s great for CV and experience.
This Postcard of HMS Temeraire is one of the many WW1 postcards we have of battleships. If you would like to know more information about other battleships check our website.
HMS Temeraire was one of three Bellerophon-class dreadnaught battleships built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She spent almost her whole career assigned to the Home and Grand Fleets. Aside from participating in the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 and the inconclusive Action of 19 August, her service during World War One generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea.
Temeraire was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet in October 1918 and she supported allied forces in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea after the War ended in November. The ship was deemed obsolete and was reduced to reserve when she returned home early in 1919 and was then used as a training ship. Temeraire was sold for scrap in 1921 and broken up the following year.
Did you know that only one woman in Scotland appears on a War Memorial for those who died in the First World War? Her name is Roberta Robertson and she appears on Dumfries War Memorial. What was she doing in the War? How did she die? why was she commemorated?
Have you ever considered how animals contributed to the War effort and continue to serve in conflicts around the world? Hear stories of animal bravery, learn about the Dickin Medal, and did you know that a bear served in the Second World War and then moved to Scotland?
If you’d like to arrange an assembly or presentation to your whole school or class (either in person or remotely via videolink), please email or phone us to arrange something different for your school this Armistace Day. We can guarantee unusal accounts students are not familiar with, a local perspective on the War, knowledgeable speakers with entusiasm for the subject and lots of images and objects. Hope to hear from you soon!
Welcome to the Devil’s Porridge Museum Podcast!
Through conversations and interviews, our volunteers and other from the local community will be sharing their personal stories and memories with The Devil’s Porridge Podcast team.
In this weeks podcast we talked to David Carter about the Royal Fusiliers in World War One. David was meant to do a talk at the Museum about this subject in August which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.
One regiment which over the course of the war recruited thousands of men was the Royal Fusiliers. The talk will look at the way in which volunteers from the Empire became involved in different battalions. Some battalions were formed which took account of the knowledge of the volunteers, other men were incorporated into battalions comprised of British volunteers. Their experiences varied, from the time given for initial training, to where they were posted and what they had to do.
If you are interested in podcasting and would like to learn more about how to create your own podcast, then you might be interested in the Museums Podcasting workshop happening on Sunday December 13th from 6:00pm – 7:30pm. For more information contact: email@example.com
You can listen to the podcast below:
A chance to talk with Judith Hewitt, Manager of The Devil’s Porridge Museum about objects in the Museum collection. Judith will showcase maps, photographs and objects relating to Gretna in World War One. Come along if you’d like to take a look and discuss any aspect of local history with her.
One of the gas masks which we have on display within the Museum is a kids Mickey Mouse gas mask from WW2. These masks were desinged to look like Mickey Mouse to appeal more to children and to encourage them to wear them. Children were asked to keep their masks within reach at all times, which meant they had to take them to school stored in a box with string on it to go over the child’s shoulder, they also had to keep them next to their bed at night and when they were doing general activities in the event of a sudden German gas attack. Kids were sometimes told to wear the masks in class while they were at school, presumably to get the children more used to wearing them so they wouldn’t struggle or refuse to put them on in the event of a gas attack. 10 million of these masks were made and distributed in 1938 in the event of the outbreak of war.
On display with the Childs Mickey Mouse gas mask is a gas mask for babies which is designed to cover the top half of the child and strap around them like a nappy which allows means only their legs are exposed. These gas masks were issued to every child up to 2 years old in 1938 when all citizens were issued a gas mask in the event of an outbreak of war. These gas masks were tied securely which made it air-tight, and had a big visor so that the child could see out of it. These gas masks were fitted with an asbestos filter which absorbed poisonous gas, attached to this was a rubber tube with a handle which was used to pump air into the mask which would be used by the child’s parent or any other adult present. Many paretn doubted these masks as they were very skeptical about putting their child in a completey air tight mask. There were also reports that during demonstrations babies fell asleep and became unnaturally still inside the masks. It is likely that the pump didnt push enought air into the mask and the babies came close to suffocating, luckily this was never put to the test.
These two gas masks were made safe by a professional from Kadec Asbestos Management with some of the other gas masks we had kept in the Museums store cupboard. This was kindly funded by Museums Galleries Scotland and allows us to better our Museum collection by making the gas masks we have in our possession safe for public viewing and for staff who work with the objects.
The Devils Porridge Museum collects and displays objects relating to World War One and Two and objects relating to the military and industrial heritage of our area after 1945 (including Chapelcross Nuclear, Scotland’s first Nuclear Power Station). This inevitably means that we have a large collection of gas masks in our collection. These objects are precious social records of wartime experiences but they also contain asbestos in the filter (it wasn’t known at the time the damage that asbestos dust can do to the respiratory system).
We’re very pleased to have received funding from Museums Galleries Scotland to manage the asbestos in our gas mask collection. This has enabled us to hire a professional from Kadec Asbestos Management to work with the objects and make them safe. Bill, from Kadec, has been at the Museum for the past two days and yesterday he spoke with two of our young employees, Desray and Alastair, about his work. Desray and Alastair are completing their SVQ Level 3 in Museums and Galleries Practice. Some of the units focus on collection care and this was a good opportunity for them to find out about the work of external consultants within the Museums sector.
The Museum offers opportunities for training and volunteering to all members of our community, if you’d like to find out more about our work, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 01461 700021.
This postcard from WW1 shows HMS Iron Duke and Admiral Jellicoe. Admiral of the fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl of Jellicoe was a Royal Navy Officer. He fought in the Anglo-Egyptian War and the Boxer Rebellion and commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 during the First World War. His handling of the fleet at that battle was controversial. Jellicoe made no serious mistakes and the German High Seas Fleet retreated to port, at a time when defeat would have been catastrophic to Britain, but the public was disappointed that the Royal Navy had not won a more dramatic victory given that they outnumbered the enemy.
HMS Iron Duke served as the flagship of the Grand Fleet during the First World War, including at the Battle of Jutland. There, she inflicted serious damage on the German Battleship SMS König early in the main fleet action. In January 1917, she was relieved as fleet flagship. After the War, Iron Duke operated in the Mediterranean as the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet. She participated in both the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War in the Black Sea and the Greco-Turkish War. She also assisted in the evacuation of refugees from Smyrna. In 1926, she was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, where she served as a training ship.
Iron Duke remained on active duty for only a few more years; in 1930, the London Naval Treaty specified that four Iron Duke-class battleships be scrapped or otherwise demilitarised. Iron Duke was therefore converted into a gunnery training ship; her armour and much of her armament was removed to render her unfit for combat. She served in this capacity until the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, when she was moored in Scapa Flow as a harbour defence ship. In October, she was badly damaged by German bombers and was run aground to avoid sinking. She continued to serve an anti-aircraft platform for the duration of the war, and was eventually refloated and broken up for scrap in the late 1940’s.
This Booklet was recently donated to the Museum and explains the different parts and the operating of different kinds of rifles. These bookelts were published from 1940 onwards and include diagrams of many World War One rifles.
The first rifle which is featured in the booklet is the P14 Service Rifle. The Rifle, .303 Pattern 1914 (or P14) was a British Service Rifle of the First World War period. A bolt action weapon with an integral 5-round magazine, it was principally contract manufactured by companies in the United States. It served as a sniper rifle and as second line and reserve issue until being declared obsolete in 1947. The pattern 1914 Enfield was the successor to the Pattern 1913 Enfield experimental rifle and the predecessor of the US Rifle M1917 Enfield.
The Short Magazine Lee Enfield Rifle is a bolt-action, magazine-fed repeating rifle that served as the main fiream used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th Century. It was the British Army’s standard rifle from its official adoption in 1895 until 1957. the WW1 versions are often referred to as the “SMLE”, which is short for the common “Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield” varient.
The Ross rifle is a straight-pull bolt action .303 inch-calibre rifle that was produced in Canada from 1903 until 1918. The Ross Mk.II (or “model 1905”) rifle was highly successful in target shooting before World War One, but the close chamber tolerances, lack of primary extraction and overall length made the Mk.III (or “1910”) Ross rifle unsuitable for the conditions of trench warfare, exacerbated by the often poor quality ammunition issued. By 1916, the rifle had been withdrawn from front line service, but continued to be used by many snipers of the Canadian Expiditionary Force until the end of the war due to its exceptional accuracy.