Professor Huttons Curiosities

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History Documentary hosted by Ronald Hutton, published by UKTV in 2012 - English narration

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Professor Hutton’s Curiosities Britain has a rich history of museums, but there are many full of history and curious objects that are not so well so known. Most of these ‘secret’ Museums are housed in small buildings, tucked away from the mainstream in hidden corners of our cities. The brand new and exclusive 12-part series takes viewers on a journey with enthusiastic academic and historian, Professor Ronald Hutton, to the unsung gems of British museums. Each episode features a different museum that is bursting with little known history. Professor Hutton visits little known places all over the country, including the Magic Circle museum; the Grant museum of Zoology, which houses a fascinating and macabre Victorian skeletons and remains in jars; Pollock’s Toy museum; and Egyptian mummies inside the Petrie Museum.

[edit] Dennis Servers House

Professor Hutton visits Dennis Severs’ House in East London. It did belong to an 18th Century Hugenot cloth merchant, and in 1979 the dilapidated property was brought by the Californian artist, Dennis Sever. He lovingly restored the house to it 18th Century former glory.

[edit] Grant Museum

In the second episode, Professor Hutton visits The Grant Museum and The Magic Circle Museum. The Grant Museum is the only remaining university zoological museum in London. It houses around 67,000 animal specimens, and is packed with all manner of skeletons and stuffed creatures from all corners of the earth. The Magic Circle museum is housed within the Magic Circle Headquarters, tucked away in a back street next to Euston Station. It has a wonderful collection of props and tricks dating back to Victorian times.

[edit] Pollocks Toy Museum

Pollocks Toy Museum is a delicious hidden gem. It takes its name from Benjamin Pollock, the last of the Victorian Toy Theatre printers, and was set up in the 1960’s by Marguerite Fawdry who, after buying up all the stock of Benjamin Pollock, slowly but surely built up one the largest collection of 19th and 20th century toys in the world. The museum is housed in two charming old buildings just north of Soho in London. It’s a fascinating exhibition of miniature theatres, teddy bears, wax and china dolls, board games, mechanical toys and doll’s houses. Today, the museum is still in family hands, and is run by Eddy Fawdry, Marguerite’s grandson who shows Professor Hutton around. The Professor also visits The Royal Society. It was established by the Royal Charter of King Charles ll in 1663 and has been at the heart of modern science for 350 years. Some of the greatest names of our age have been active members, including Sir Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle and Sir Christopher Wren. Although it’s not technically a museum, the Society have a tremendous collection of books, archives, paintings, and artefacts which are studied by scholars worldwide, some of which are put on display for the public who use the reading room.

[edit] The Petrie Museum

The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology based at University College in London, houses an estimated 80,000 objects, making it one of the greatest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world. It illustrates life in the Nile Valley from prehistory through the time of the pharaohs, and up to the Roman period. The bulk of the collection was sold to the University by the eminent archaeologist, Sir William Flinders Petrie in 1913. The collection includes one of the earliest pieces of linen from ancient Egypt, one of the earliest known examples of monumental sculpture, and the oldest known wills on papyrus paper. Petrie was fascinated with everyday life in Egypt, not just the Pharaohs, so the museum is packed with lots of little charming items that you don’t see elsewhere. Tracy Golding, the Museum Manager, shows Professor Hutton around.

[edit] Leighton House Museum

The Professor's first stop this week is at the Leighton House Museum. It was the former home and studio of the leading Victorian artist, Frederic, Lord Leighton. He bought it for just £4500 in 1866, slowly adding and extending it. Next, Professor Hutton pays a visit to The Museum of the Order of St. John. Based in St. John's Gate, the building is a 16th century gatehouse that once formed the entrance to the much older Priory of Clerkenwell, once the English headquarters of the 11th century Order of St. John who went out to Jerusalem as part of the Crusades.

[edit] The Hunterian Museum

Professor Hutton visits The Hunterian Museum & Library in Holborn. The museum is housed on the first floor of the Royal College of Surgeons. It’s one of the oldest collections of anatomical and pathological specimens in the country and is based on items first assembled by John Hunter, the 18th Century surgeon and anatomist. Then it's off to London’s Cinema Museum which is devoted to keeping alive the spirit of cinema from the days long before the multiplex. The museum also has some serious Hollywood credentials, as it’s based in the Master’s House of the old Lambeth Workhouse where Charlie Chaplin was taken as a boy, with his mother and brother.

[edit] The Cartoon Museum

The Cartoon Museum opened to the public back in 2009. On show are some of the very finest examples of British cartoons, caricature, and comic art from the last two hundred years, including rare and original artwork on loan from The Beano and the Dandy, as well as works by Searle, Scarfe, Steadman and Steve Bell. The Cartoon Museum does exactly what it says on the door. It’s literally crammed full of every conceivable British Cartoonist over the last two centuries. Anita O’Brien is an encyclopaedia of all things cartoon, and is Professor Hutton’s guide. The Museum Of Brands, Packaging and Advertising is tucked away down a cobbled mews in the heart of Notting Hill Gate. Intriguingly, it presents the collection of just one man, consumer historian, Robert Opie, who saw the need to record the history of the everyday products around us. Starting at the age of sixteen with a packet of Munchies, Robert built up the collection that now extends to all aspects of daily life. From toys, magazines, and soap powder, to sweets, hair spray and television sets. It now features a staggering twelve thousand original items, and the tour starts back in the Victorian era. Robert Opie shows Professor Hutton around.

[edit] The Freud Museum

The Freud Museum was the home of Sigmund Freud and his family when they escaped Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938. It remained the family home until Anna Freud, the youngest daughter, died in 1982. The centrepiece of the museum is Freud's study, faithfully preserved just as it was during his lifetime, containing Freud's remarkable collection of ancient antiquities, his library, his desk and of course his couch. The Museum’s curator, Carol Siegel shows Professor Hutton around. Lord's is of course the most famous cricket ground in the world, but it’s also home to the MCC Museum, which is the oldest sports museum in the world, containing the most celebrated collection of cricket memorabilia, including the infamous Ashes. The Marylebone Cricket Club, or the MCC as it’s known, has been collecting memorabilia since 1864, and the items on display include cricket kit used by legends of the crease, old scorecards and lots of trophies. Look out for a battered copy of the cricketer’s ‘Bible’, Wisden that helped to sustain E.W. Swanton through his captivity in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. Neil Robinson, the Museum’s curator shows Professor Hutton around.

[edit] The Geffrye Alms House

The Geffrye Alms Houses were founded in 1714 with a bequest from Sir Robert Geffrye, a wealthy London merchant to provide homes for the elderly poor. There were fourteen houses in all which offered accommodation for around fifty pensioners. Each house had four rooms and each pensioner was allocated one room. It was functional rather than comfortable but much better than being on the streets. The Museum itself opened in 1914 specializing in the history of the English domestic interior. It explores the history of English homes and gardens over the past 400 years with recreated interiors down through the ages. Sir Robert Geffrye and his wife are buried out in the gardens, presumably so he can still keep an eye on proceedings. Also outside is the charming herb garden, home to all manner of curiously named plants and herbs, just a few hundred yards from the hustle and bustle of Hoxton and Shoreditch, right on the edge of the city of London.

[edit] Kew Bridge Steam Museum

The Kew Bridge Steam Museum is next for Professor Hutton. The Kew Bridge Pumping Station was originally opened in 1838 by the Grand Junction Waterworks Company to pump millions of gallons of water from the Thames into homes across West London. The steam engines were retired from service in 1944, and the museum opened in 1973. Today the site and its huge steam powered engines, remains an internationally recognised museum of steam pumping, and great Victorian engineering. The men whom run these leviathans of steam are called engine drivers, and one of them, Clive Penfold, shows Professor Hutton around.

[edit] Brunel Museum

Located in historic Rotherhithe, the Brunel Museum is on the site of the Thames Tunnel, the first tunnel under a river anywhere in the world, and the only project which both Brunels, father Marc and son Isambard, worked on together. It’s a fascinating story of drama, farce, ingenuity, and tragedy so typical of the great Victorian engineering projects. In the end, it nearly bankrupted Brunel, and damn near killed him too. But, in 1843, Londoners were finally able to walk under the Thames for the first time. Never short on hyperbole, the Victorians called the tunnel, the Eighth Wonder of the World. Today the Tunnel is used by the East London Line and closed to the public, but the original entrance shaft is still accessible and the Museum itself is housed in Marc Brunels original Engine House. Its curator, Robert Hulse, shows Professor Hutton around. The Cuming Museum, also in South London, is a curious collection on the ground floor of Walworth Town Hall, just a stone’s throw from the famous Elephant and Castle roundabout. It’s a century or so’s collection of curiosities of the wealthy Cuming Family including archaeology, ethnography, social history and natural history from around the world. Some have even called it ‘a mini British Museum’.

[edit] The Horniman Museum

The Horniman Museum was founded by Frederick John Horniman in 1901, who had inherited his father's tea business. The cash from the business allowed him to indulge his lifelong passion for travelling and collecting. The result was an initial collection of some 30,000 items, ranging from natural history, and cultural artefacts to ancient Egypt. This has now grown to over 350,000 items and the largest community museum in the country. The main part of the museum is the Natural history hall, with all manner of stuffed animals staring back from their glass coffins. There are ostriches, giant fish, crocodiles and wild cats, and one huge, stuffed, Walrus. The Horniman Museum also has one of the oldest aquariums in the country, with a charming array is displays including British river life, ponds, coral, and jellyfish. Its part Natural History museum, part British Museum and part V&A, with a small Sea Life centre thrown in. Museum guide Kathryn Leung shows Professor Hutton around.

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  • Video: Codec: x264 CABAC High@L3.1
  • Video: Bitrate: 1338 Kbps
  • Video: Aspect Ratio: 1.778 (16:9)
  • Video: Resolution: 832 x 468
  • Audio: Codec: AAC LC
  • Audio: Bitrate: 160 Kbps CBR 48KHz
  • Audio: Channels: stereo (2/0)
  • Audio: English
  • Run-Time: 25mins
  • Framerate: 25fps
  • Number of Parts: 12
  • Part Size: 210 MB
  • Container: mp4
  • Source: PDTV
  • Encoded by: Harry65

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