Will Hertfordshire’s object of the year be a scone, monkey or toilet cream?

PUBLISHED: 17:25 07 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:47 08 September 2020

Straw plaiter peg doll, Peggy Straw, from the Dacorum Heritage Trust, Record Peter and his young cousin Speedy Steven from North Herts Museum, Nuciline Theatrical Toilet Cream from the Garden City Collection in Letchworth and the Ackroyd Scone from Harpenden Museum. Pictures: Supplied by HCC

Straw plaiter peg doll, Peggy Straw, from the Dacorum Heritage Trust, Record Peter and his young cousin Speedy Steven from North Herts Museum, Nuciline Theatrical Toilet Cream from the Garden City Collection in Letchworth and the Ackroyd Scone from Harpenden Museum. Pictures: Supplied by HCC

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Museums across the county have nominated their Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020 Museum Object of the Year – which include a toy monkey, an old scone and some toilet cream.

Victorian toy from the British Schools Museum in Hitchin. Picture: Supplied by HCCVictorian toy from the British Schools Museum in Hitchin. Picture: Supplied by HCC

During September the public will be asked to vote for their favourite object, nominated by 13 of the county’s museums.

Nominations include a 105-year-old scone made in Harpenden, the Mill Green Mill, located between WGC and Hatfield and Letchworth-based Garden City Collection’s Nuciline Theatrical Toilet Cream.

The Ackroyd Scone from Harpenden Museum. Picture: Supplied by HCCThe Ackroyd Scone from Harpenden Museum. Picture: Supplied by HCC

Other entries include Stevenage Museum’s handmade dolls’ house, St Albans South’s signal box with Lever Frame, North Hertfordshire Museum’s Record Peter and Speedy Steven – which are monkeys on bicycles – and Hitchin-based British Schools Museum’s Victorian spiky toy from the Jill Grey collection.

Some entries are topical and in line with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has plagued this year.

Record Peter and his young cousin Speedy Steven from North Herts Museum. Picture: Supplied by HCCRecord Peter and his young cousin Speedy Steven from North Herts Museum. Picture: Supplied by HCC

A straw plaiting peg doll demonstrates that working at home was the norm in much of the county in 1851 and theatrical cream made in Letchworth has been nominated to demonstrate solidarity with theatres across the county in these difficult times.

St Albans Museums have also put forward a placard from a recent Black Lives Matter protest in the city.

Straw plaiter peg doll, Peggy Straw, from the Dacorum Heritage Trust Picture: Supplied by HCCStraw plaiter peg doll, Peggy Straw, from the Dacorum Heritage Trust Picture: Supplied by HCC

Other museums may have taken note of the success of previous winners, such as in 2018 when Watford Museum’s ‘Charlie the Chimp’, a mechanical toy which had pride of place in a Watford shoe shop for many years.

Last year, the crown was awarded to an 86-year-old toilet roll from the Garden City Collection. It was manufactured in 1936 by Letchworth chemist E.E Russell, who ran a chemists on Station Road from 1911 - and it is considered to be the oldest surviving toilet roll in Hertfordshire.

The ‘Lever Frame’ is the heart of the manual signalling system demonstrated at the preserved St Albans South signal box. Picture: Supplied by HCCThe ‘Lever Frame’ is the heart of the manual signalling system demonstrated at the preserved St Albans South signal box. Picture: Supplied by HCC

Hertfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for education, libraries and localism Cllr Terry Douris, said: “It’s great to see such a variety of objects nominated for the Hertfordshire Year of Culture Museum Object of the Year Award and a wonderful way for people to find out about some of Hertfordshire’s excellent museums and what they have to offer.”

Voting closes at midnight on Sunday, September 27 here hertfordshiremuseums.org.uk/object-of-the-year-2020.aspx.

St Albans Museums' BLM placard Picture: Supplied by HCCSt Albans Museums' BLM placard Picture: Supplied by HCC

The ‘Lever Frame’ is the heart of the manual signalling system demonstrated at the preserved St Albans South signal box. Picture: Supplied by HCCThe ‘Lever Frame’ is the heart of the manual signalling system demonstrated at the preserved St Albans South signal box. Picture: Supplied by HCC

Stevenage Museum's doll house. Picture: Supplied by HCCStevenage Museum's doll house. Picture: Supplied by HCC

The mill at Mill Green Museum and Mill. Picture: supplied by Mill Green MuseumThe mill at Mill Green Museum and Mill. Picture: supplied by Mill Green Museum


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