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Tweets from Lostwithiel Musuem


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Lostwithiel Museum

 The museum is housed in a Georgian building on Fore Street. It was originally the Corn Exchange and  has also been a school-room, a butchers, then a magistrate's court and the town jail. Nowadays the building houses the Guildhall, which is used for meetings of Lostwithiel Town Council, above the museum.
The museum was founded in 1972 and  it is now is now a fully accredited museum and a registered charity, which is run entirely by volunteers
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2017 SEASON

Page updated 28th October 2017 
The Museum has closed for the 2017 season. We will reopen in Spring  2018.

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Our Window Display for December 2017


Our latest window display features the Christmas cracker  which was invented by London-based confectioner and baker Tom Smith (1823 – 1869) who set up shop in Goswell Road, Clerkenwell in the 1840s.

On a trip to Paris Tom came across the French 'bon bon', a sugared almond wrapped in a twist of tissue paper, which he copied and sold at Christmas. Anxious to develop the 'bon bon' idea further and stimulate year round sales, Tom decided to place a small love motto in the tissue paper.

When Tom died, at only 46, his expanding cracker business was taken over by his three sons, Tom, Walter and Henry. Walter introduced hats into crackers and he also travelled around the world looking for new ideas for gifts to put in the crackers. Crackers and paper hats were made by hand, which involved cutting tissue paper with heavy guillotines, pasting, folding and carefully packing for a perfect presentation. The idea of wearing a paper crown may have originated from the Twelfth Night celebrations, where a King or Queen was appointed to look oversee the Wassailing.

The success of the cracker enabled the business to grow and move to larger premises in Finsbury Square, employing 2,000 people by the 1890s, including many female workers.

The Second World War caused paper rationing and a restriction on the manufacture of cracker snaps, but the industry recovered – in the 1950s and 1960s, Tom Smith & Co. was making 30,000 crackers a week.

Lostwithiel Museum would like to thank Black Dog Antiques and Interiors for sponsoring our Christmas Window.

More pictures from our display are available via this link.


Tom Smith (1823 – 1869)


Making Christmas Crackers (1910)


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Lostwithiel Museum display
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