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 children’s 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 1960’s . . .



. . . showing us items that in those days were probably treated as luxuries!


The ‘Toy Box’ room takes us back to our childhood days . . .


. . . there’s 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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