Inspiring Sheffield – Bishops House Museum

This weekend I wanted to share some more tales of my adventures around Sheffield. It may be wise to prepare yourself for more of this type of posts, as I keep discovering new places I need to visit!

Having once again reached the summit of the mighty Meersbrook Park, I decided to peek into Bishops House – a 16th century dwelling which has been open as a museum since the seventies. Up until that point, it was inhabited by local families, but I imagine the external toilet facilities wore them down eventually…

Being manned entirely by voluntary staff makes for a warm welcome and plenty of enthusiasm about the house and its history. Just by virtue of turning up and looking cheerful I was shown a host of fascinating maker’s marks in the wooden beams of the house – a set of signals showing how to assemble the pieces. The most intriguing marks however were these daisy wheels carved into doors on the ground floor, said to avert evil.

bonus points for spotting the daisy wheel

bonus points for spotting the daisy wheel

Some of the spaces in the house have more traditional cased displays taken from the Museums Sheffield collections, whereas others are room settings, which I always enjoy despite their unpopularity in contemporary museum practice. My favourite of these has to be the bedroom, complete with four-poster bed, embroidered curtains (drool) and intricate plaster fire surround. This piece is said to have been removed from Sheffield castle and re-installed here. In any case, it looks just beautiful.

Bishops House4

The furniture within the house featured some really beautiful wood carving, which I am hoping will inspire me to create some new embroidery designs. As fellow museum geeks will most likely understand, I was extremely happy to discover this little treasure trove – and so close to home!

Bishops House3

My thanks to Ken, Dave and Helen who were on duty the day I visited. I would also like to thank Nick and Martine for a warm welcome to the volunteer team! Perhaps if you visit in the future it will be me telling you where the original staircase used to be! Well Huzzah for that.

For more information about Bishops House you can visit their website, or have a look at their Facebook page.


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