Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010
Objects tell history of the world
Ancient Egyptian statue of a servant girl carrying a jar  Oriental Museum, Durham University
Ancient Egyptian statue of a servant girl carrying a jar

BBC Newcastle is using 20 objects from Tyne and Wear museums to tell some fascinating stories from North East history.

The broadcasts are part of a year-long BBC series of TV and radio programmes called A History of the World.

We'll be exploring the region's international influence and sharing the tales of how global artefacts have found their way to the region.

The objects chosen range from a broken toy rocking horse to a Roman tombstone.

Ten of them come from Wearside and County Durham.

Egyptian statuette

Staff at each of the region's museums suggested items they thought should be included and these were then whittled down to 10.

The final list gives a spread both throughout history and geographically.

The objects are:

  • Carved boxwood statuette of an Egyptian servant girl
  • Clanny type Miner's Safety Lamp
  • Toy rocking horse
  • Col Lilburne's boots
  • Model of the SS Empire Liberty
  • Strippy Quilt made by Hannah Peart
  • Nissan Bluebird Saloon Car
  • Oil painting of the Durham Ox by G. Garrard
  • Watercolour of Maori chief by Horatio Robley
  • Consett Railway Company Iron Tank Wagon

Toy rocking horse from the Victoria Hall Disaster in Sunderland on 16 June 1883  Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Toy rocking horse from the Victoria Hall Disaster in Sunderland on 16 June 1883

Damaged in disaster

Juliet Horsley, regional exhibitions manager at Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, said the story behind each object was an important factor in the selection process.

Whether they raised questions that are still relevant to today's world was also something considered.

The broken toy rocking horse is a good example. It was damaged in a disaster at Victoria Hall in Sunderland in 1883. 183 children were crushed to death when they ran down from the upstairs gallery to try to get one of the toy prizes and were crushed against a bolted door.

"It's of ongoing relavance to the safety laws that followed and it still has a lot of resonance in Sunderland with a memorial to the disaster in one of the parks," Juliet said.

"We also looked to represent major themes such as industry, invention and immigration in our selection - and significant periods in history like the Roman era, which left such a physical legacy in this part of the world.

"The quilt from Upper Weardale shows that people were emigrating from even the most rural areas a long time ago."

The other 10 objects BBC Newcastle are featuring come from Wearside and County Durham.

Read about them here.

Find out how to listen to the BBC Newcastle series - and be part of it - here.

Radio 4 series

Also in 2010, BBC Radio 4 will be telling the story of the history of the world in 100 objects.

The items have been picked by the British Museum and the series is written and narrated by its director, Neil MacGregor.

The 100 programmes will be broadcast in three instalments, with the first starting on 18 January.

Find out more about the BBC Radio 4 series here:

A History of the World
10 Nov 09 |  History

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific