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Previous Window Displays 2017

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)


Our Window Display for October 2017

Our latest window display features  the development of Railways in Cornwall, concentrating on the history of Lostwithiel Station. 

In May 1892 the conversion from Broad to Standard Gauge from Exeter to Truro was completed in just 2 days.

In 1907 the midnight sleeper from Paddington to Penzance arrived just 7 hours later. More information about the history of the Penzance Sleeper train available from this link

During the Second World War trains of ammunition arrived at War Department sidings at Lostwithiel Station. The ammunition was unloaded by American soldiers and taken out into the countryside where it was stored in fields behind hedges.

More pictures from our display are available via this link.

1922. Lostwithiel Station looking west showing the fine footbridge.

Note: Click on images above for larger view


Our Window Display for July 2017

Our latest window display celebrates the history of the Duchy Palace.

It is not known if the Great Hall of Lostwithiel, or the Duchy Palace, began to be built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall or his son Edmund. Edmund inherited the title after his father died in 1272, only four years after acquiring Lostwithiel.

It was never a palace but the administrative centre of the Duchy lands and where tin was assayed,
and the county court was held.

It later became a coinage hall, Stannary hall and gaol. Earl Edmund held the title for twenty seven years and during his time Lostwithiel became the undisputed capital of Cornwall.   More pictures from our display are available via this link.
(Note: Click on images for larger view)


Our Window Display for June 2017

Our latest window display celebrates the history of Lostwithiel Carnival.

Dating back to at least 1875 Lostwithiel Regatta and Gala day included the Flora dance, decorated boats on the river, a carnival procession and the crowning of a gala queen.
The Carnival scheduled for Saturday 2nd September 1939 was cancelled, being the day before Britain declared war on Germany. More details of the events planned can be read by clicking on the poster.

In the 1970’s the celebration developed into a week of events and since the 1990’s has been organized by the Rotary Club.  It became Lostwithiel Carnival, as we now know it,  in 2003 and this year will be held from 16th to the 22nd July. Information about the latest carnival can be found on Lostwithiel Rotary website.

(Note: Click on images for larger view)


Our Window Display for March 2017

  Our latest window display has converted the museum window into a old fashioned sweetshop.


(Note: Click on images for larger view)

Our  Window Display for January 2017

Our latest window display depicts the links between Cornwall and Mexico, concentrating on how the making of Cornish Pasties was exported to Mexico. More information in the Latest News section of our website.

(Note: Click on image for larger view)