Brighton Museum

Compelling and frightening

By Martin Nimmo

"When I was a child, the Museum was both compelling and quite frightening! I could rarely bring myself to look at the skeletons from Whitehawk Camp at the end of the first room on the right, and the second room on the left (tribal paraphenalia and so on) was a "no-no"! Possibly the most worrying other part was the natural history section (since transported to the Booth Museum on Dyke Road), where the huge whale skeleton and the delicate structure of a snake competed with the horrors of coming face to face with an ape!"

Sent to website by e-mail on 12-02-2003
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
I worked as a warden at the museum during the late eighties. I have very happy memories of a relaxed atmosphere, with pleasant workmates, including the friendly and always accessible curators. Though involved only in the most mundane of tasks, through their kind informality and eagerness to provide information, I gained a degree of knowledge, and developed a love of the artefacts. I would like to see an extensive display of these on this site, but I realise the time-consuming effort this would take, and I congratulate the Webmaster on what has been achieved.
By Joe Reid (17/10/2004)

I also remember the skeletons from The Whitehawk Camp. However I was not frightened by them at all and used to go into the museum everyday to view them and all the other galleries. I was most struck however, by the amber cup that was in a little place by itself. You could press a button and the cup would be lit from below. I believe that it had been found in a barrow in Hove that is now where a major street is. It belonged to a group of people called, I recall, The Beaker People. The whale certainly made a big impression on me and I viewed it with a certain amount of awe. That section at the time had a certain unrecreatable moth eared charm, both sinister and sad at the same time.

By Edward (11/05/2007)

Oh, the amber cup! I always made a beeline for that whenever my mother took me to the museum! It was my very favourite thing there. I also liked the carriage that was in the main gallery downstairs and I always had to be lifted up to look in at the window. Was there a special day of some sort once when you could actually get into the carriage? I must admit I liked the skeletons, the whale and the stuffed animals and didn't find them frightening. "Unrecreatable moth eared charm" as Edward said, describes it well.

By Honor (09/01/2009)

It's amazing that the light button to view the 'amber cup' was not worn away. I think it was the 'button' that was the attraction, not the cup. The outside of the museum/art gallery/library was covered in black soot when I was a child, although I didn't realise it was soot. It was a leftover legacy of thousands of coal fires over many years. The pavilion was the same. One day in the 50s a huge operation to hose all this soot off started and Church Street was awash. I was so surprised to see the white stone underneath. Many Brighton buildings were hosed down in this manner. It's interesting to try and spot those still covered in this black grime.

By Maureen Sweet (07/09/2010)

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