Raising the Standard: A day at the Toc H Tea Party
My name is Isabel Humphreys. I am the Museum Development Apprentice at the South West Museum Development Programme based in Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. I was invited along to the first Raising the Standard event to photograph and keep a record of the day’s events.
On Monday the 26 June 2017 I was excited to be attending the first of the many events for the Raising the standard project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Raising the standard is a £81,900 project delivered by the South West Museum Development Programme, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund working alongside 10 museums within Devon and Cornwall to conserve and display 15 banners. We are looking to engage local communities in the social history and relevance of these banners through festivals and other special events across the South West.
Our first event took place last Monday at Saltash Heritage Centre, a 1950’s themed tea party based around the banners from the Toc H movement.
Toc H is an international charity that was started in 1915 during the First World War. Toc H (Talbot House) was styled as an “Every Man’s Club”, where all soldiers were welcome, regardless of rank.
We were keen to hear stories from actual members of the movement and discover more about the power of local communities in history and how this is relevant to us today.
If you’ve got a story to tell contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
At around 2pm we arrived at Saltash Heritage Centre for the 1950’s Toc H tea party for an afternoon of filming and photographing and we certainly weren’t disappointed by what we learnt about the Toc H movement and the history of the banners. The small space in the heritage centre was decorated with bunting featuring Toc H stamps, beautiful hand-made cards set up on the table of the Family Compass and a stand displaying information, photographs and newspaper articles. In the corner were some old artefacts including a bible and a lamp previously used by the members of Toc H.
After setting up a variety of tea, cakes and sandwiches, accompanied by a wonderfully decorated Toc H sponge cake, volunteers and staff at Saltash Heritage welcomed attendees. Guests included the Mayor, the local Reverend and a previous member of Toc H, Phil Rundle. There were also reporters and a journalist from the local press. Phil was bursting with stories about his experiences so we quickly hooked him up with a microphone for our camera man to capture footage of his stories and the history of Toc H. There was plenty to photograph and Jamie, our film man managed to capture some good footage of the interviews and the general atmosphere of the event. Ultimately the footage will be used as part of a film about the Raising the Standard project which will be displayed in each of the project participant museums.
Following the interview, we were all invited to take a seat at the tables set out with food and drinks. The Mayor and local Reverend said a few words about the importance of this project to Saltash’s heritage. We chatted with various people, including Audrey Miller, a journalist of 66 years, armed with various cameras and notepads to record the afternoon’s events.
After sampling some of the delicious treats kindly made by the staff at the Saltash Heritage Centre, we all stood up to watch Phil reciting a Toc H prayer before cutting the cake, bringing the event to a close.
The event was very successful and I was able to capture some brilliant images. Our camera man was also very happy with the footage he captured. I hope this event helped bring together a small part of the community in Saltash to share their own stories and their heritage.
There’s a lot more to come from Raising the Standard including parades, festivals and competitions all over Devon and Cornwall. We will continue to bring you updates via this blog over the course of the project.