Scheme for the Development of a Local Museum (1919) by T. W. Woodhead

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Scheme for the Development

of a Local Museum.



Ph.D., M.Sc., F.L.S.

Read at the Town Hall, Huddersfie'd, August 8th, 1919.



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Scheme for the Development

of a Local Museum.



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to show the influence of these factors on the organic life of the neighbourhood, and these in turn on the evolution of man’s activi-

ties and social development.

Local factors, in a broad sense, are the same as general or universal factors, and the fundamental lessons concerning them can be learnt most effectively by a study of local conditions and from local illustrations. But as surrounding conditions affect, and to some extent determine and modify the more local conditions, know- ledge of them is essential. For a complete understanding of local

conditions a wide outlook is involved.

Fundamentally, the conditions of life are everywhere the same,

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suggestive adaptations. It should be the main object of the Natural History section of the Museum to illustrate these features. The names of the plants and animals come then as a matter of convenience, not as items of first importance. Names are essential

of course for purposes of accurate identification and reference.


What is true of plant and animal societies is, and has been true of human societies, and the history of man in this district provides interesting examples in the Britons and Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans. The trail of their immigration is hinted at in a number of our place names, while the numerous examples of their handiwork, would provide a section of our Museum of special


Intercommunication—more or less friendly—is a natural con- sequence of this immigration; and interesting forms, both graphic and vocal, are exemplified on the one hand on inscribed stones, and, characteristic of a hill region, this district is still rich in

what primitive forms of speech.

Their later developments, on the one side as Art and Literature, and on the other as Language and Music, while provided tor

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sculptured and inscribed stones of the Anglo-Danish Period (so- called Anglo-Saxon), which occur in 42 sites. Of this number il sites with 47 examples (7.e., about 4) occur in the immediate neigh- bourhood of Huddersfield, while within the Borough itself we have a Roman Fort and the largest and best preserved pre-Roman Earthwork in Yorkshire.

INDUSTRIES. Turning again to the other side of the diagram, Plants and

Animals furnish man with his food products and clothing materiais, hence he occurs only where these necessaries are available, and as early man became a tiller of the soil, his distribution would be restricted to areas capable of cultivation. In this respect, the history of man in this district 1s of specal interest when considered

in relation to the natural surroundings.

To the west of the town, topography and climate combine to produce adverse conditions which man’s efforts of more than 2000

years have failed to conquer. He finds it easier to leave the hills

and the moors to nature, and spend his

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Exchange and Distribution.—Exchange of surplus for neces- sities becomes imperative and in consequence leads to improved methods of communication and distribution in Waterways, Road-

ways, and Railways.

Towns.—Centres of Exchange are not only a convenience but a practical necessity, and the position of Huddersfield is very typical as being in the line of easy communication, where several valleys meet and therefore a natural point of concentration. The deter- mining factor is its peculiar Topography. The history and development of our industries and their relation to local factors should be properly displayed, showing the rise of our staple trade from its simple natural beginnings as a cottage industry, and through its various stages of development, this would prove of wide interest, and no time should be lost in securing examples of the

more primitive processes as they are rapidly disappearing.

It is of interest that other and older centres of the industry died out when steam replaced water power, but in this district, because of its local Geology (providing coal and iron), Topography and Climate (which gave us an abundant and suitable water supply), the industry developed to its present dimensions. There is con- siderable scope, and much useful work may be done in the Museum, in connection with local Agriculture and Horticulture, and in the

study of Economic Botany and Economic Zoology.

Barriers.—Another factor of interest to a community is that of Barriers, and we are provided with quite a good example of one of these obstacles to exchange in Holme Moss and the Stanedge, for although it has long been pierced by a waterway and railways, it is still a very effective obstacle.

Huddersfield is an interesting illustration of the fact that the establishment and success of a community is largely determined and controlled by natural agencies. Its geographical position and relation to other centres of exchange and distribution, present important problems which have not yet been satisfactorily solved.

Government.—Finally, such a community with its complex and competing activities, necessitates control, hence Government as a crowning: factor.

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The Habitat. (a) Geology of the district and its relation to the Geology of Britain. Local Fossils illustrating the fauna and flora, and the life conditions of the Carboniferous Period. Local Minerals, their occurrence, economic importance and local influence.

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