National Recognition for Yate Heritage Centre

June 09 2015

Although we at Yate Heritage Centre are not averse to promoting ourselves far and wide, the vast majority of the work here rightly focusses on our wonderful local history and serving the surrounding community.

Although we at Yate Heritage Centre are not averse to promoting ourselves far and wide, the vast majority of the work here rightly focusses on our wonderful local history and serving the surrounding community.

However, every now and again we receive recognition on a wider stage. Recently, Cherry Hubbard our Education Officer submitted Thelma Barlow’s factory works pass for inclusion in the British Museum’s prestigious “Teaching History in 100 Objects”, a national educational project involving any museums with an outstanding object with a fascinating story. What possible object of national importance could Yate Heritage Centre have you may ask? The item in question is a fragment of a Parnall Aircraft works pass, commonplace enough in wartime factories. However, this works pass was directly involved in probably the most traumatic event in Yate’s history, namely the raid on Parnall Aircraft in February 1941 resulting in 51 casualties with a further 3 in another raid a week later. Thelma Barlow’s pass was retrieved from her handbag having been left behind in the factory in the main bombing raid on the Parnall Aircraft works. The pass tells a visual story. Clearly charred, the fragment has evidently been involved in a dramatic event and was obviously affected by the heat of bomb damage within the handbag. The British Museum was clearly impressed by the historic context of the fragment and how it might enable children to understand the Second World War. It told a clear story of bombing in industrial Britain and also illustrates how female staff were a key feature of most wartime factories. Thus, the fragment, while only small, has enough dramatic history to be included amongst objects such as the Sutton Hoo helmet, the fi rst passenger locomotive and the Bletchley Park enigma machine. Most museums included in this project are either national or major regional institutions. Firstly, we are indebted to Susan Tubey and the Town Council for passing on the object to us. Cherry Hubbard receives our greatest admiration for putting together the application for the artefact to be recognised as something of national importance. I must also thank Thelma Bennett herself who made the pass and its story accessible in the public domain and ultimately for future children to discover the dramatic events of World War II. The artefact is one of many fascinating items in our current Second World War display at Yate Heritage Centre. Events at the Centre 14th May – 4th July - World War II in Yate & Sodbury Exhibition 6th June - World War II 70th Anniversary Day ( 10.30-4.30) 9th June – Lecture – Black GIs in Gloucestershire 1942-1944) 16th June – Yate Heritage Centre Summer quiz (7.30pm) 4th July - Medieval Archaeology Day – 10.30-4.30pm 7th July – Lecture - Magna Carta and Medieval Bristol.