‘Cabinets of curiosities’ to be displayed for one weekend only

Wednesday, 21st September 2016

A WEIRD and wonderful collection of items, not usually on display to the public, will be brought out of storage for a special one-off exhibition at Tamworth Castle on Saturday September 24 and Sunday September 25.

After previous successful ‘Collections Weekend’ events, members of staff at the historic Castle decided to have another rummage through the stores to find more interesting items to put on display.

This time the theme will be ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ and will give visitors the opportunity to view some of the more unusual items that have been gifted to Tamworth Castle or acquired from local collectors over the years.

This weekend’s exhibition includes a medicine cabinet which is believed to have belonged to the infamous ‘Rugeley Poisoner’ William Palmer – a doctor who was found guilty of murder in one of the most notorious cases of the 19th century.

He was convicted for poisoning his friend with strychnine and was suspected of poisoning several other people, including members of his own family. He was hanged in 1856.

The medicine cabinet was part of the private museum of Tamworth Councillor Frederick Allsopp, which he donated to Tamworth Castle just before his death in 1953. There has been much interest in the cabinet since then, including in 2013 when it was filmed for the BBC’s ‘A Very British Murder’ programme.

Other items in the Cabinets of Curiosities display include a pencil made from a bullet, a miniature shoe, a small wooden replica of the double helix staircase in St Editha’s Church and a ball made from cow hair.

As well as looking at the collection, visitors will be able to chat to knowledgeable museum staff and volunteers to find out more about the rich history of the various items.

In addition, visitors to the Collections Weekend will be given the opportunity to have a go at some conservation work by helping to clean a row of tiles in a wooden frame that were found in store in the Castle.

Tamworth Castle launched its Collections Weekends in 2014. As two-thirds of the museum collections are held in storage, the themed weekends provide people with the opportunity to see objects that cannot be accommodated in the building on a more permanent basis.

The Castle is open between 11.30am and 4pm (building closes at 4.45pm) and general admission fees apply for Collections Weekend.

For more information, contact Tamworth Tourist Information Centre on 01827 709618, or visit www.tamworthcastle.co.uk.