Here’s the latest story from our What’s in the Box display.
This beautifully made wooden model of the church organ in Stanford Avenue Methodist Church Brighton was made by a Mr DA Wright – perhaps a worshipper at the church? It was donated to the collection in 1974 by his son along with two postcards; one of the model organ and the other of a splendid Harvest Festival display of produce at the church in 1911. The model has some very old wiring which may have powered a light, or perhaps linked to recorded music. The actual church was built in 1897–98 to an Early English Gothic Revival design by E.J. Hamilton, so in 1911 it was still a relatively new building. At that time – before the full scale development of the Hollingdean side of Ditchling Road – the church was at close proximity to farmland, allotments and smallholdings so giving thanks for the fruits of the harvest would have been an important local celebration.
The donation record also notes that Mr Wright made a toy taxi complete with driver, ‘from cigar boxes during the 1914-1918 war’. Only a few years separate the making of these two objects but one can only contemplate how much life may have changed for Mr Wright, his family and the locality, between the peaceful abundance of the pre war Harvest Festival and the Great War.
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Joy Whittam, Collections Assistant