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Herbert Celebrates 10 Years Since Redevelopment

The Herbert redevelopment is 10 years old today. Here’s our curator’s pick of the top 10 history objects you might not have noticed in our displays


This dress was worn in Godiva procession by Rose Watson, c 1875. It is on display in Discover Godiva.


This is a sampler worked by Jemima Shakespear in 1804. Jemima's parents were married in 1773 and over the next 25 years had 18 children, 7 of whom were still alive in 1804. See it in the Victorian section of the History Gallery.


These are George Eliot’s gloves. Mary Ann Evans lived in Coventry during 1840s and later became a world-famous author under the name George Eliot. It was supposedly claimed her right hand was bigger than her left due to butter churning in her youth, but in this pair of gloves the left is actually larger! See them in the Victorian section of the History Gallery.


A Suffragette calendar for 1910. This calendar was made to support the suffragette movement and displays their colours – white, green and purple. It belonged to Angela Brazil who was a famous author who lived in the Quadrant from 1911 to her death in 1947. You can see this in the timeline case linking Victorian to modern in the History Gallery.


Enamelled and gilt Bible cover, made by Francis Skidmore of Coventry in about 1864. Skidmore was a well-known metalwork in Victorian Britain. You can see his light fittings in Holy Trinity church and more of his work in the History Gallery. Thsi object is on display in Connected.


This toy train is homemade using old materials. Can you spot the tin can and cotton reel? On display in the modern section of the History Gallery.


You may have spotted the amazing sallet, or helmet in the history gallery, but have you seen this strange object nearby? It’s a bracer used by archers to protect their arm when shooting. It was found in the river bed in Coventry. It, alongside the sallet are on display in the Medieval section of the History gallery.


This small piece of carved bone is actually the king or queen from a chess set. It was actually found right here at the Herbert, during the excavations preparing for our redevelopment! It can be found in the Pre-medieval timeline case, History Gallery.


Have you ever used a toilet quite as amazing as this? Before it came to the Herbert it was in the Waterloo Tavern, Brook Street, Coventry. It was made by Doulton. Find it in What’s in Store.


Can you guess what this is? This is a birch or whip used as punishment in one of the Gift Schools in Coventry. Ouch! You can find it in the Victorian section of the History Gallery. You will need to lift a flap to find it.

Finally, check out this news footage from 1960, the original opening of the Herbert! 

The Herbert was the first Art Gallery & Museum to be built in Britain after the Second World War.

Credit to MACE for the footage.