Did you know that Staffordshire County Council has a collection of over 25,000 social history objects, 35,000 photographs and 1,800 items of fine and decorative art?
The museum collection covers a wide range of subjects and the past 200 years of Staffordshire's social and agricultural history. The variety of subjects covered in the collection include; childhood toys and games, historic dress and textiles, local shops and public houses, sport and entertainment, warfare and defence and rural trades and crafts.
The collections are on display at the County Museum, Shugborough. Items currently in store can be viewed by appointment (details below).
The great strengths of the collection are items relating to domestic cooking, cleaning and laundry. We also have an internationally renowned collection of horse-drawn carriages, including coaches formerly belonging to the Earl of Shrewsbury at Ingestre, and the Dyott family of Lichfield.
Most of the coaches can be seen at the Staffordshire County Museum and Park Farm, both at the Shugborough Estate.
The agricultural collections can be seen at Shugborough Park Farm.
Find out about Staffordshire's characteristic mixed agriculture of arable, dairy and sheep farming and cheese making. See rare breeds of livestock, a working water mill, a dairy and a fine Staffordshire wagon. Explore the reconstructed blacksmith's and wheelwright's shops and displays featuring everything from pig farming to beekeeping.
The reserve collections include a wide range of farm machinery made by Bamford's of Uttoxeter, horse drawn carts and wagons, a 1940s Bedford horse van, classic 'Fergie' tractor, and a Clayton & Shuttleworth threshing box.
The costume collection features costume and accessories from the past 400 years.
We have a unique collection of shoes and boots from Lotus Ltd, Stafford and Stone's last shoe manufacturers.
Other highlights of the costume and textiles collections include the cap presented by Charles I to the Bagot family of Blithfield
, a superb collection of women's costume, wedding dresses, samplers and servants' costume
Come and see our changing displays of costume from the collection at the County Museum and the Mansion House at Shugborough.
The Fine Art and Contemporary Craft collections have been collected over the last 70 years.
The art collection now contains around 700 prints, drawings, watercolours, maps and oil paintings. These reflect the landmarks, landscape and people of Staffordshire, and local and nationally known artists. Local artists include: John Prescott Knight, Thomas Peploe Wood|, Samuel Peploe Wood, J.L. Petit and Peter De Wint, Mabel Layng and William Eyre Walker. There is also a strong collection of post-war prints by nationally known artists, including John Piper, Graham Sutherland, Julian Trevelyan and Francis Kelly.
You can see work from the fine art collection in some of the temporary exhibitions at the Shire Hall Gallery|. You can also see many of the prints, paintings and watercolours of Staffordshire people and places on Staffordshire PastTrack| and oil paintings from the collection on the BBC's Your Paintings website.
In our collections we also have contemporary jewellery, automata, textiles and toys crafted by regional and national makers. The jewellery collection is particularly strong, featuring work by some of the leading designer-makers of the past 30 years. Artists featured include Jane Adam, Caroline Broadhead, Anne Finlay, Daphne Krinos, David Poston, Wendy Ramshaw and Eric Spiller. Much of the work was donated by West Midlands Arts following their touring exhibitions of the early 1980s. The rest of the collection has been purchased or commissioned.
The large and varied photograph collection contains over 35,000 photographs covering Staffordshire places, buildings, people, trades, organisations, activities, entertainment, transport and events since the 1850s.
Within the collection are a number of important smaller collections:
13,000 images taken by Uttoxeter based father and son photographers, Alfred and Gerald McCann, between the 1910s and 1960s. These photographs cover every imaginable aspect of agricultural and social life in the Uttoxeter area and further afield and provide an invaluable document of the great changes which have occurred during the present century.
Yelland Collection: over 300 glass plates from South West Staffordshire at the turn of the century.
Adnitt Collection: nearly 200 glass plates from Eccleshall and the western half of the County, the work of Frank T. Hudson of Eccleshall and H. Osbourne of Woodseaves between 1890 and 1910.
Peter Rogers Collection: a recently acquired collection of over 7,000 negatives and prints taken by Stafford photographer Peter Rogers between 1948 and the 1970s, covering the County town and surrounding towns and villages.
North Staffordshire Field Club Collection: 1,200 prints, glass positives and colour transparencies of North Staffordshire buildings, places and archaeology dating between 1890 and 1940. Photographers include William Blake of Longton, P.C. Dutton of Stone, E.B. Wain, Thomas Pape and C.F.L. Barnwell.
Album of photographs of Stafford Gaol 1869-1871: a wonderful set of images taken by Robert Flamanck, showing daily life in this Victorian Prison, from treadmills and stone breaking, to kitchens and the women's prison laundry.
You will find thousands of images from the photograph collection on the Staffordshire PastTrack| website.
The reserve collections can be seen by appointment. Please contact Chris Copp| Museums Officer.