Modern technology helps an exhibition step back in time...
MODERN technology is being used in a church exhibition looking to the past which goes on display this weekend.
Last month in the Rothley Cemetery Chapel the Rothley Heritage Trust launched its new exhibition ‘Echoes from the Workhouse’, telling the story of the pauper experience in the Barrow upon Soar Poor Law Union. The Union Workhouse opened in Rothley in 1840, became the Victorian solution to dealing with the problem of the poor right through to 1930. It looks at what was it like to be caught up in that system, and who the people were who had to rely upon an unpaid Board of Poor Law Guardians for their relief.
Guests invited to the launch on May 11 were welcomed by costumed officials of the era, the Workhouse Master, the Matron, a female Pauper and the roving Relieving Officer.
A group of volunteers had carefully researched and imagined what the poor law system was like, and briefed an illustrator who produced twenty stunning drawings of typical interactions in the system. They went on to uncover 20 real life stories of Victorian people who sought relief in the system, and the illustrator has drawn a poign- ant image of each person. To bring these images to life, another group of volunteers have recorded imagined voiceovers for each image, each one skillfully edited into a short video clip.
The Rothley Heritage Trust was awarded £30,600 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to finance the project. Other grants came from the Hames Cottages Charity and the Helen Cope Charity. The funding enabled the use of a professional museum contractor, Vertigo Creative, to turn the trust’s concepts into an exhibition.
The Workhouse Exhibition is being assembled in Rothley Parish Church as part of the church’s Midsummer Heritage Day on Saturday, June 16, open from 1pm to 5pm. Admission is free, and visitors will also be entertained with handbell ringing and can enjoy a cream tea.
The exhibition features a new model of the now demolished workhouse, built from see-through material to allow visitors to see how the classes and genders of inmates were kept apart.
Surrounding the model is a lavishly illustrated 12-panel Diorama filling out the poor law story in the Barrow Union. To complete the displays is an interactive touch-screen monitor from which visitors can hear and see the video clips. It is all beautifully written up into a project book of 124 pages, on sale for £9.
The ‘Echoes from the Workhouse’ exhibition is coming to Rothley Parish Church this weekend.