Present a series of evening concerts with ‘Hilary James & Friends’ set within the evocative context of the Museum gallery.
The concerts hosted by Hilary & Simon will focus on the music of the English countryside and its evolving tradition, and feature high profile invited guests from the national folk scene. The series will include talks and workshops on the issues surrounding folk music and the Englishness debate. The Museum of English Rural Life,
Redlands Road, Reading, Berkshire houses the most comprehensive national collection of objects, images, books and archives relating to the history of food, farming and the countryside. The collections have Designated status ensuring their importance is recognised nationally and internationally.
Tues 28. Museum Of English Rural Life, University of Reading, Redlands Rd RG1 5EX. Tel: 0118 378 8660 Tickets £12.00 Concessions £10.00 – From 7.30 p.m. Reading born Luke Daniels is a composer, singer, guitarist, accordion virtuoso and a previous BBC Young Tradition Award Winner.
Workshop with Luke from 6.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. How to play the tin whistle in fifteen minutes, a workshop for seven to seventy year olds!
Luke Daniels will teach you to play simple folk tunes by ear on the penny whistle and help you make up a tune of your own.
Tue 12 Museum Of English Rural Life, Reading University, Redlands Road RG1 5EX. Tel: 0118 378 8660 Tickets £12.00 Conc £10.00 – From 7.30 p.m. Freelance writer and popular broadcaster, Tim Healey, tells ‘The Green ManStory’ with stunning visual images and musical interludes from Simon and Hilary.
Together with Reading resident and internationally renowned folk singer and musician Hilary James, MERL is planning to present a series of Folk Concerts as part of its Spring 2009 programme of events. Kate Arnold Forster, Director of MERL says “This new series of folk concerts, workshops and illustrated talks, represents a new and exciting departure for the Museum in exploring new ways to encourage the current resurgence of interest in English traditional music, song and storytelling.
The Museum has a long standing involvement in pioneering new approaches to exploring Englishness and its cultural traditions through its collections and within the context of its programmes.”
The collaboration between Hilary James and Simon Mayor with the Museum will provide a rare opportunity to hear live folk music in Reading. Hilary James and Simon Mayor, two of the country’s most highly acclaimed folk musicians, who met as Reading University students in the 1970s, have lived in the town for more than thirty years.
The concerts hosted by Hilary & Simon will focus on the music of the English countryside and its evolving tradition, and feature high profile invited guests from the national folk scene. The series will include talks and workshops on the issues surrounding folk music and the Englishness debate.
We hope that this programme will be a successful pilot for establishing a regular programme of specialist Folk performances at the Museum, in collaboration with Hilary James. Under discussion are plans to include opportunities for school children to participate in workshops with Hilary and Simon, who, incidentally, have worked extensively in the field of children’s music as both performers and as writers and presenters for BBC Radio and Television.
The Museum of English Rural Life houses the most comprehensive national collection of objects, books and archives relating to the history of food, farming and the countryside. It is the sheer quality and scope of the Object Collections that makes MERL exceptional. The collections have Designated status ensuring their importance is recognised nationally and internationally. As a University Museum and as the founder member of the Rural Museums Network, MERL has built up a reputation as the leading authority in its field and as a centre of excellence in teaching and learning.
Housed in new gallery premises, the museum offers a unique visitor experience, with access to more than 22,000 objects, 50,000 books and over 1 million rural history photographs, and is a source of information on rural heritage for everyone.
Agricultural hand tools, farm wagons, horse drawn ploughs, dairying equipment, livestock accessories e.g. horseshoes; veterinary equipment land drainage material, country crafts and rural industries; the thatching collection, for example is particularly extensive as is that covering the woodland trades woodworking and carpentry, country smocks, basketry; corn dollies, friendly society brasses, beekeeping equipment, animal traps, sewing machines paintings and prints, especially of early nineteenth century livestock.
Below: Inset William Barnes Composer 'Linden Lea' Music: Simon Mayor - Vocal: Hilary James
The Museum of English Rural Life is responsible for the Bibliography of British and Irish Rural History, a searchable online database of bibliographical references.
The Bibliography contains over 50,000 records, including 31,000 articles from over 1,500 journals and over 10,000 books. Many references date from the late 18th and 19th centuries: for example, some 1,400 articles have been extracted from the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, which began publication in 1840. However, the majority of articles in the Bibliography were published in the leading and lesser known journals from the 1940s up to the present year. he Bibliography also contains over 4,000 theses awarded for degrees world-wide since the 1870s, including contemporary surveys which are now of historical interest. Thee are also over 10,000 books in the Bibliography, most of which are held by the Museum of English Rural Life's Library, plus articles from edited works.
The Library of the Museum of English Rural Life holds about 40,000 books, pamphlets and periodical volumes. The collection covers the whole range of agricultural history and rural life with particular strengths in farming techniques and equipment and dairying.
The image library is divided into the following categories, Crafts + Gypsies + Horses + Steam + Women’s Land Army
The Museum of English Rural Life is a major national repository for archives of agriculture and rural life.
The museum is housed within the walls of what was once East Thorpe House built by Sir Alfred Waterhouse for Alfred Palmer (Huntley & Palmer) an early benefactor of ReadingUniversity. The building was extended in 1911 and became St Andrew’s Hall, a hall of residence for women attending ReadingUniversity.
Available for Interview: Museum Director - Kate Arnold-Forster & for Acoustics - Hilary James
Museum website www.reading.ac.uk/merl + Acoustics www.acousticsrecords.co.uk
For further information, interviews, music and images contact Pat Tynan.