Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 08:06 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010
Bristol and A History of the World


Brooch reveals story behind Bristol singing star

As part of a major new project for the BBC - A History of the World - we asked Tim Corum from Bristol Museum to help us choose 10 items of major historical significance from the city.

A History of the World is a unique partnership between the BBC, the British Museum and 350 museums and institutions across the country.

Tim says it was a real challenge to come up with the 10 iconic manmade objects which highlight Bristol's importance in world history.

St Peter hunting jug
Bristol reform iron bar
Alfred the gorilla
Clara Butt brooch
Bristol Boxkite
Drawing of the slave ship Brooks
Charles Wesley's hymns
Alfred Leete's painting: Sanctuary
Brunel's despatch case
Banksy's Paint Pot Angel

"We sat in the museum and spoke amongst ourselves initially," he told BBC Bristol.

"We also involved all the museums in the rest of our region, so the ss Great Britain and the museum in Weston-super-Mare have been involved in this project as well.

"The 10 objects which we came up with were very much decided on by the curators.

"But one of the exciting things about this project is that it will go further - what we're really interested in is what people out there think."

The idea is for people to contribute their ideas for objects from our patch which have had an impact on history.

If you have a digital image of an item, click this link and follow the instructions on how to add it to a unique digital museum online.

Tim is particularly keen for people to suggest objects from the more recent past, which museums do not have in their collections.

"If you think about the last 50 years there have been huge developments in media, music, sport - we haven't been able to include those.

"Some people will take a very personal view and say what are the 10 objects that they have which demonstrate the history of the world."

What must be one of the biggest submissions to the whole History of the World project is the replica Bristol Boxkite, which hangs in the foyer of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

Clara Butt's brooch

"It was one of the first mass-produced aeroplanes in the world," says Tim.

"The reason we chose it is because it's emblematic of that early phase of development of the aeronautic industry which has been very important not just for Bristol but for the world.

"It genuinely made a huge impact on globalisation, the development of travel and trade.

"So Bristol can quite rightly claim a significant and ground-breaking achievement in Boxkite revolutionising travel."

A jewel-encrusted commemorative brooch presented to singing superstar Dame Clara Butt is another of the 10 objects from the city.

"In her day, she was the most famous singer in the world," explains Tim.

"We were mainly interested in this brooch because it demonstrated the first phase of globalised popular culture.

"Today we take it all as a matter of course... but back in the 1920s the music industry was not globalised.

"Clara Butt was the first person to make it on the international stage and the brooch commemorates her extraordinary achievement."


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific