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These small glass light bulbs were made at Mazda lamp works in Rugby. They were subsequently hand painted and used as Christmas decorations by the mother of the person who donated them to the museum. On one of the bulbs the message ‘A Happy Xmas to You All, 1947’ has been painted. British Thomson-Houston (BTH) obtained the General Electric patents for tungsten filaments, and the Mazda...

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This piece of green Egyptian porphyry was recently found by our summer placement from Leicester University in a box containing archaeological bulk finds. The bulk finds were excavated by Rugby Archaeological Society from Tripontium, the Romano-British town which was located five miles from present day Rugby. Porphyry is a type of igneous rock containing large-grained crystal. This piece would...

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The photograph was taken by B. Morris of 14 High Street, Rugby. Cartes de visite are small photographic portraits mounted on a piece of card, usually about 4.5 x 2.5 inches (11.4 x 6.3cm) in size. They were invented by Parisian photographer Andre Adolphe Eugene Disdéri in 1854. Before 1854, most professional photographers used processes that produced only single copies of photographs and made...

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This lock was removed from the front door of Rugby workhouse in Lower Hillmorton Road before the building was demolished. The workhouse opened in June 1819 following an agreement between the ten parishes of the Rugby Union to build a “House of Industry” to accommodate their poor The workhouse was intended to accommodate 120-130 people, although it was only fitted out with 50 beds. The men...

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Postcards in a wide variety of forms became increasingly popular from the mid to late nineteenth century. An attractive and relatively inexpensive means of communication, they were slow to take off at first – any messages had to be short, and many senders worried about these messages being so openly visible – but in 1894 the cost of sending a postcard in Britain was set at ½d, and this led to a...

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To coincide with our Summer exhibition The Life Behind the Landscape: landscape from the Rugby Collection we caught up with Judith Cowan to find out about her affiliation with Italy, and creating work during a pandemic… Can you tell me about A Memory of a Particular Corner in Rome I created the piece in 1979 whilst on a Gulbenkian Rome Scholarship—it was made trying to understand and...

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