British Museum treasures to return to Kettering

Manor House Museum, Kettering NNL-140411-160619001
Manor House Museum, Kettering NNL-140411-160619001

A series of treasures normally on display in the British Museum will return to Kettering for the first time in 100 years.

Kettering Council’s Manor House Museum is one of 13 in the country to be awarded a substantial arts fund grant.

The Desborough Mirror. Credit: 'The Trustees of the British Museum' NNL-180518-121107005

The Desborough Mirror. Credit: 'The Trustees of the British Museum' NNL-180518-121107005

The £20,000 awarded will be used to borrow objects from the London museum for a four-month exhibition.

Stars of the exhibition are three world class items which were found in the borough of Kettering but have not been back since they were discovered and donated to the British Museum in the late 19th and early 20th century.

They are the Desborough necklace, an early Saxon gold necklace, the Desborough mirror from the Celtic period and the Kettering hockey player, a unique Roman pottery mould.

Cllr Scott Edwards, Kettering Council’s portfolio holder for community, leisure and youth, said: “It’s fantastic news to hear that these treasures are coming back to our borough for the first time and that local people will have the chance to see them.

The Desborough Necklace. Credit: 'The Trustees of the British Museum'. NNL-180518-121337005

The Desborough Necklace. Credit: 'The Trustees of the British Museum'. NNL-180518-121337005

“I heartily congratulate staff and volunteers who have made this happen and I would like to thank the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund for their support.”

The necklace was found in 1876 in a graveyard by workmen who originally broke it into six pieces to share amongst themselves, before being persuaded to hand them over in return for a small reward.

The Celtic mirror would have been a powerful object in a world where reflections could only be glimpsed in water and there is conjecture as to who the owner may have been.

And the Kettering hockey player mould is unique and has its own mystery – is the figure playing a form of hockey and if so why are there three balls?

The exhibition will also include other archaeological finds from the area, looking at objects that are not only familiar to us today but were also used in the past.

Museum staff fought off stiff competition to win the funding from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund.

Philippa Charles, Garfield Weston Foundation director, said: “We have been blown away by the ambition and creativity of museums and galleries across the UK and Kettering’s idea really stood out.

“Some of the most talented curators in the UK have imagined the art, objects and exhibitions which promise to transform the experiences of their audiences.

“We are delighted that the local community in Kettering will get to see these amazing archaeological treasures.”

‘Local Treasures: The British Museum comes to Kettering’, opens at the Manor House Museum in Kettering on Saturday, September 22 and runs until Saturday, January 12, 2019.

There is no charge for entry and there will be a programme of free events on offer.

Additional funding for the exhibition has been granted by Museum Development East Midlands and Kettering Council.