Bury Art Museum has approximately 60,000 objects in its museum collection the majority of which have been donated by the people of Bury and its townships since 1907. These objects are used by schools, college students, university groups, writers’ groups, and artists as sources of inspiration. They are exhibited in our satellite museums in Prestwich and Ramsbottom and of course in rotating exhibitions in the museum space on the lower ground floor of Bury Art Museum. On this page we wanted to share with you some of our recent gifts to the collection.

In January Paul Lindsey a Waste Disposal Operative for Bury Council donated a very special collection to our museum. The collection is made up of around 30 pictures and notes drawn and written by the people on their refuge collection round during the 2020 pandemic.

Paul and his colleagues Mick Wilkinson also a Waste Disposal Operative and Dave Edwards the driver, were very touched by the expressions of thanks that the Bury people showed them during this difficult time. When they found a picture or note attached to a bin, they kept them and luckily for us Paul decided to donate them to the collection as a very special and poignant memento of that time.



A Bury resident recently donated a Mudukare to our Museum collection. A Mudukare is a sleeveless crop top worn over a wrapper (skirt), it is worn by the Fulani women of Nigeria.

The doner bought it whilst visiting family in Nigeria. It is hand woven and features beautiful embroider motifs on the front of the top and intermittently on the wrapper.

The wrapper is traditionally worn low on the hips, so the belly is exposed and is often worn when a bride enters her husbands family home for the first time. Amulets are worn with the outfit, these are called Lohol, as well as beautifying they also serve as protection.

The Dolls House

This dolls house was made by Sargent Jack Hilton for his daughter Kathy during World War Two. Jack was serving in the RAF and based at RAF Manston in Kent and later, in Belgium, somewhere near Gent when he made it.

The doll’s house was sent back, piece by piece and possibly occasionally brought back, to Radcliffe from Manston and Gent over the course of WWII, together with various items of furniture, all of which were made by Jack.

It is the inspiration for our new WW2 exhibition in 2023 which explores a child’s experience of war.

Donated in 2021 by Mr. Thornely

Christening Gown

This handmade silk christening gown was made in 1942/early 1943 by Emmy (Emily Bertram). The gown is beautifully made and has delicate pin tucks and tiny pink and blue French knots on the bib and all around the hem.Every inner seam is neatened and hemmed. Sadly, never got to see her baby in the gown as she away on the day she gave birth to her first born, Geoffrey, who was born on 29 May 1943.  The family lived in Summerseat, Emmy was buried in the cemetery at All Saints Church, Stand, Whitefield, a family grave.

Christening gown

Ox Hoof Ink Well

In 2021 the museum was contacted by Miss G. Brown who wanted to donate an Ox Hoof Inkwell that once belonged to her grandfather Albert Taylor. She didn’t know anything more about the object just that her grandfather lived on a farm in Bury and the hoofs that make up the inkwell came from an ox he once owned.

So, the Museum Curator and the Assistant Archivist joined forces to find out more about this unusual object. The Assistant Archivist searched the Bury Guardian and discovered the fascinating story of the inkwell. The Bury Guardian on the 1st of July 1911 reported that an ox given by a Mrs. Albert Taylor wife of Councilor A. Taylor was to be roasted on Bury Fairground as part of Bury Corporations Festivities.

At 3pm on the afternoon of Saturday July 8th the ox would be roasted and distributed to 200 poor families of Bury on the fairground if the weather was fine and if raining it would be distributed in Bury Theatre. The head and the horns were raffled off and the proceeds given the various local charities. The roasting was not done on an open fire but in a closed oven, tables were set up to put the beef on and barriers erected to keep people in line. People dutifully queued up and a 3pm the beef was given out. Once the people received their portion of beef, they moved down the table and also received a cabbage and a pot of dripping. When the ox meat had gone Mr. Culling (a member of the committee) mounted the block and addressed the crowd and asked for three cheers for Mr. & Mrs. Taylor. Mr. Taylor kept two of the hooves and had them made into an inkwell to remember the day.

Ox hoofs

Mary Rider’s Needlework

This beautiful needlework was donated to the museum collection in July 22. It was donated by the niece of Mary Rider who lived in Bury for most of her life (1 Apr 1913 – 25 Dec 2006).

Mary studied at Manchester School of Art & Design in the 1930’s and this needlework was done during that time. She won the Primrose Award for it.

Mary taught at Bury Art & Craft School until she retired in 1973. She was the Deputy Head for several years.

Gifted by Mrs. L. Rider
Mary Rider Needlework

Black Pudding Sign

Black Pudding first arrived in the UK via European monks, who named the product ‘blutwurst’ which translates to ‘Blood Sausage’. They first visited Yorkshire before making the trip over the Pennines to settle in Lancashire where it became known as “Black Pudding”.

Caswell’s is said to be the first pudding makers in Bury. Established in 1810. During the 20thc Caswell’s sold their puddings from a shop at 60 Union Street. The ‘shop’ was an ordinary terrace house, and the puddings were displayed on a large plate in the window; inside the house a little table acted as a counter. The shop remained in existence until 1968. The photo below is of Vincent Ashworth the last owner of the Union Square shop.

This glass sign, once hung from Caswell’s Pudding Shop, Union Street, Union Square, Bury. was given to Bury Art Museum, by Mrs. Marsh. The sign is on long term loan to the Bury Black Pudding Company and is on display in their public foyer, as the company very kindly paid for its restoration costs when the sign was smashed in transit.

It’s a glass fire extinguisher!

Thank you, Facebook friends for taking part in our challenge and well done to Maria who guessed correctly.
This type of extinguisher was designed to be thrown on a fire and to break easily and spew the contents at the base of the fire and quench the flames. Because of this unique use, the grenades were designed to be light and easily handled. These grenades were to be found in homes, hotels, factories, schools, trains and other commercial buildings at the beginning of the 20th century. Many grenades are embossed with the name of the manufacturer such as Harden’s, Hayward’s, Babcock, Harkness. These beautiful and useful glass products have been gradually replaced by the metal fire extinguisher as we know it today.
Fire Extinguisher

Hair Work Embroidery

We have in the collection ten beautiful and unusual 18thc hairwork embroideries they have been gifted to us by Art Fund UK. This style of embroidery was popular in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Ladies would very skillfully reproduce engravings of the most popular paintings of the day. The embroideries were often worked with human hair in a palette of black and dark ground stitches of various sizes onto silk. This gives the impression of a stipple engraving; lots of teeny, tiny dots. They form part of our crafts and needlework collection.

Hairwork Embroidery

Japanese Photograph Album c.1890 – 1900

This album is part of our ethnography collection one of our oldest collections. Gifted to us in the early part of the 20thc. It contains 98 images of scenes of Japanese life. The subject matter depicted includes villages, towns, rivers, bridges, temples, religious statues, different aspects of working life and geisha girls. Produced by K. Kimbei Photographers, Yokohama. It is one of the finest examples of a photo album by Kimbei in any UK museum.

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