Thirty Thousand Streets

Friday, November 16, 2007


Today I went to the Land Of Lost Content, which is a museum of ephemera from the 20th century, situated in Craven Arms in Shropshire, in an old Market Hall.

To put it another way, it's three (draughty) floors of some of the most fascinating tat and bric-a-brac you're ever likely to stumble across in a country village.

It was themed section by section, but part of its charm is that everything is displayed 'Alladin's Cave' style, every corner dripping with the marginalia of popular culture: There's posters, clothes, toys, packaging, records.. the list goes on.

The museum's mission statement is (and I'm going to paraphrase from memory here) to preserve a unique record of how people lived, in times when they endured greater hardship, yet enjoyed an unparalelled contentment, and in this I suppose they are referring principally to the war/post war era of the early to mid twentieth century.

I guess I'm always slightly suspicious of this kind of rose-tinted nostalgia for times past, but it must be said, from the vantage point of our marketing and branding obsessed times, much of the trivia on display manages to evoke a wistful smile, as a lot of it does seem quite sweet and naive, and yes, less sophisticated, than the incredibly nuanced sea of media we inhabit now. To some extent these are kitsch kicks you're getting here (chuckling gently at seventies chocolate wrappers is surely the museum equivalent of those 'I heart the 60s/70s/80s' programmes) but fascinating nonetheless.

Apparently the guy who used to run 'Red or Dead' is a big fan too, and is now involved in trying to market the place a bit more effectively. Good thing, as that day my mum and me were the only two people in there.

I've no pics (at their request) but if you're in the area, take a look.

Afterwards we left, and there was some kind of Children in Need thing going on, with a huge Papier Mache head being wheeled down the street with a guy in Pudsey Bear outfit next to it. I have pictures of that, which I'll stick up shortly.


mountainear said...

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

From Housmnan's A Shropshire Lad

The Eyechild said...

That'll be the one.