Not all ‘work, work, work’ for Victorians

A number of Items, which were brought to a recent Finds Day run by Winchester City Council’s Museums Service, revealed an intriguing snapshot of ‘working’ life at a Winchester mill. The tokens, dating back to the Victorian era, would have been used for playing games. Was this evidence of lunchtime diversions or of widespread gambling in the workplace?

The objects - some taking the form of coins and one in the shape of a fish - were brought along to the Finds Day event that was held at City Space inside Winchester’s Discovery Centre.  Members of the public were invited to have their mystery finds examined by museums and finds specialists. The Finds Day was well attended, with finds spanning across a two thousand year period.  All qualifying finds will be recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database, to help build-up a picture of Hampshire’s past.

Rob Webley, the Hampshire Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Liaison Officer, said: “Each year, many thousands of archaeological objects or ‘portable antiquities’ are found by members of the public.  They form an important source of information about our local and national past, so it’s great that people are bringing them forward to be recorded at events such as this”.

Cllr Patricia Stallard, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport at Winchester City Council, welcomed the continuing collaboration between Winchester Museums Service and the Portable Antiquities Scheme: “We are told that ‘history is the new ‘gardening’ these days, and the popularity of events like these really demonstrates that local people want to feel part of their local history.”

The event formed part of the Art and Artefacts exhibition which runs until Sunday 1 June 2008 (excluding Monday 26 May).  It is a showcase for some recent archaeological treasures which have been recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme.  Displayed alongside the finds is artwork by Alan Cracknell, a local artist inspired by ancient landscapes and craftsmanship.

The exhibition offers individuals and families a great chance to get in touch with their local history and see what life was like in the Hampshire of yesteryear.