Research: A visit to Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings

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This weekend I went to visit Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, for me one of the most iconic buildings there is the windmill pictured above. This photo was taken when we first arrived, but we were lucky enough to see them rotating the windmill to catch the wind and unfurling the sails later on in the day. The sails were huge pieces of what looks like a heavyweight cotton calico, firmly tied down to the wooden frame, and it was certainly effective at getting the mill working, but I do wonder how they stop them from going moldy being outside in all weathers!

There were many different ages and types of buildings there to look at, and I found that most of them were covered in the most beautiful patterns. Alot of them had their wooden frame work visible on the outside, creating geometric patterns of squares and triangles, I feel the black and white Medieval Town House shows this off especially well, and it was amazing to see a building which on the outside you might find in any number of places around the country, but on the inside was extremly basic which lots of chunky preserved wood and an open hearth.

The Threshing Barn also had a visible wooden frame, but this time it was infilled with big panels of woven wood. It amazes me that its even possible to weave on such a scale, and with such a big and bulky material, but it was very effective at protecting the inside of the barn from the weather outside. Inside a raised agricultural storage building I also spotted some great textures on the walls where overtime the whitewash had deteriorated, leaving a wonderfully worn and patchy effect.

Inside the houses there were a variety of textiles to see. In the medieval house there was a display of simple woolen cloths and how they were made, starting with the washed sheep fleeces, carding, spinning and examples of felted woolen blankets. The Victorian-era house had lots of simple cottons, embroidery and examples of fabrics being recycled into rag rugs and quilts. I remember my grandmother having a very similar tablecloth embroidered with ladies and flowers when I was a child. The war-time Prefab house showed how textiles had moved on, the colour’s were more vibrant, patterns were used, the floors were covered in carpet – there was generally a lot more fabric used everywhere in the house!

These photo’s show a number of other items that caught my eye whilst looking round the museum. The old wallpaper was especially interesting, showing the different techniques, patterns and colour’s used at various times.

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