Museum Review No.4

The Gordon Boswell Romany Museum, Nr.Spalding

On the evening of Thursday, 3rd April, a group of seventeen, members and non-members, enjoyed a visit to the Romany Museum, Clay Lane, (off the A16) near Spalding. We arrived at 7 pm and were shown around the museum by Mr Boswell himself. Gordon's father had been born in a tent on the beach at Blackpool and had grown up travelling in a horse-drawn vardo, basically an open wooden cart with bent ashwood boughs supporting a canvas cover, with carpet in between for insulation. He was one of seventeen! There were many vardos to look at, including some from the 'Fifties, as well as the older wooden ones. The museum houses the largest collection of Romany photos, artefacts and vardos in the world, included cooking utensils, harnesses, knife-sharpener's cart, models and examples of crafts such as peg-making, the first artificial flowers carved from elder stems, and whitesmithing - making and repairing copper and tin utensils. We were then treated to a slide show of beautiful photos of Mr and Mrs Boswell's annual trip to the Appleby Horse Fair, a journey which takes them two weeks to get there in an antique horse-drawn vardo. We then enjoyed some refreshments and a look around the shop. Everyone agreed that we had enjoyed a wonderful evening.