North York Moors CAM
Thursday 12th April 2001
Weather: Mild with some sunny spells
Preston Hall Museum
Just to the north of the towns of Eaglescliffe and Yarm is Preston Park
The 117 acres of
attractive parkland are full of things to see and do, with a
miniature railway, 'Butterfly World',
crazy golf, an aviary and a childrens adventure playground
The central attraction of the park is Preston Hall, built in 1825
The Hall was once
the home of local shipbuilder Robert Ropner but in 1947
it passed into the hands of Stockton Borough Council who opened the hall as a museum in 1953
The large Victorian conservatory houses a fine display of tropical plants
Once inside the
museum we wander around the various display cabinets in the
large, airy rooms
these particular ones contain pens, inkwells and an old typewriter
(Because most of the museum exhibits are behind glass I apologise for any reflections)
Here are examples of some medieval weapons - hammers, pole axes and military flails - ouch!
A whole corridor is dedicated to showing us period rooms from Victorian times to the 1960s . . .
. . . showing us items that in those days were probably treated as luxuries!
The Toy Box room takes us back to our childhood days . . .
. . . theres everything from toy soldiers . . .
. . . to clockwork train sets
Perhaps the most popular part of the museum is outdoors . . .
. . . a typical period street, rebuilt to show us what shopping was like in Victorian times
There's a bit of everything here, from the pawnbrokers . . .
. . . to the grocery shop
The shop windows are well-stocked . . .
. . . and there are some bargains to be had if you have any old money!
'The Dice Players' by the French Artist, Georges De La Tour (1593-1652)
- the most famous and prized exhibit in the museum -
The Dice Players
was purchased by the avid collector Edwin Clephan, the son of a
baker in Silver Street, Stockton
- in 1911 Mr Clephan's art collection then passed to his daughter, Miss Annie Elizabeth Clephan.
In 1930 the entire collection of paintings was left to the people of Stockton by Miss Clephan in memory of her father.
The paintings were stored at Preston Hall for many years and it was only during a routine inspection in 1972
that the importance of the painting came to light - it was a remarkable discovery and is only one of two examples
of De La Tour's work in this country, the other is at Hampton Court
(Due to the high security surrounding it, I wasn't allowed to photograph the painting but managed to obtain this print)
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