A Grand Spell of Sunshine - The Life and Legacy of Francis FrithA Grand Spell of Sunshine - The Life and Legacy of Francis Frith

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Memories Of A Stately Building And A Magnificent Museum

A Memory of Bolton.

Built on land bordering Queen's Park, it was simply a wonderful and exotic place. As a 5 year old first timer until it closed for good (when I was 11 years old) I visited the place so many times you would have thought I lived there. The custodian and his helpers were always explaining to me the items and where they were from and how important they be preserved for children and grandchildren. I always tired quickly of the Queen's Park wading pool and would often as possible venture to the museum. It was always thrilling and interesting.
The old chap (I think his name was Harry) let me enter areas that were off limits but because I was there so often he afforded me a better in depth visit. Some 35 years later when I visited Egypt the first time, my memories of those Chadwick days came flooding back. At the National Museum in Cairo I saw those things that I learned so much about from the Custodian at Chadwick Museum.
So sad the building was not preserved for posterity. When Chadwick closed almost all the items were doled out to various museums, though the bulk of the Egyptian content went to the Bolton Museum on the Le Mans Crescent. So I could still see my mummies. I so much more appreciated Egypt because of my Chadwick days.
It was closed Sundays, but that did not matter because the Band would play at the bandstand. Simpler times.........but wonderful memories.
I held gold coins from Spanish Fleets, and I was allowed to touch stuffed birds and foxes that were alive in the 1880's. Touched ancient weapons. I saw and was allowed to touch old manuscripts in big drawers that Harry would roll out for me. Old books, magnificent volumes. Some Heraldic pages from the dark ages and lithographs of the 1830's and was allowed to touch all things I saw. An Elizabethan Era Silver Spoon. touching or holding these beautiful artifacts just thrilled me. So much so, that even today, my motto is and has always been since my Chadwick days...."If you have not touched it, then you have not seen it..me Lad".
Harry's words...not mine. I only adopted them. And, I have applied his mantra to all my travels around the world. I have touched everything I have seen with few exceptions. Apollo 11 Capsule - I had my upper torso in the capsule touching the seats of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins with my mother doing the same thing and then leaving a permanent finger print just inside the opening.
My Navy friend had a friend at the Smithsonian who let us into the display Prep. room where the day after, it was sealed in Plexiglass forever.
JFK's Massachusetts White Lincoln ( Actually sat in the drivers seat in1973).
Al Capone's car (Actually sat in it in 1973) arrested for trespassing. Etc, etc.
All I can say is, thank you my friends at Chadwick Museum, you made my life so much more interesting. I remain Chadwick Alumnae all the days of my life.
Thanx for the Memories !!!
Mike............Pennsylvania, USA

With thanks to Mike Wilson for this memory of Bolton

Added 13 April 2012


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