The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) is a little gem located right next door to our London Road campus. A fascinating place to visit, it has often caught the imagination of the world at large, as with the infamous mousetrap story.
Now the MERL shop has kicked off 2017 with its traditional January Sale. This is a chance to pick up some fantastic bargains, especially among MERL’s wide range of unusual and lovely books.
None of us know what the internet sensation of 2017 will be. But there is no doubt that the sensation of 2016 was the mousetrap story! Want to know the stories behind these deadly little devices? Dip into David Drummond’s “British mouse traps and their makers” (£1.50).
For anyone who has seen our new Evacuee interactive, we recommend two books by Martin Parsons – “War child” and “I’ll take that one”. Through his research work, Martin was responsible for building up the Museum’s incredible collection of evacuee memoirs. He is a leading expert on the experiences of children in wartime and his books help to dispel many of the myths about this fascinating period. We have copies of both titles signed by the author (£6.00 and £5.00 respectively).
First encounters with the countryside are also dealt with by “In at the deep end” (£1.50). Agriculture lecturer Paul Harris gathered accounts from 41 students who – despite not growing up on a farm – took the brave decision to study agriculture and found themselves getting a year’s work experience. Completed only weeks before Dr Harris’s death in 2013, these are compelling and fascinating stories, where the warmth of the welcome given by the farmers and farmworkers stands in contrast with the cold of the winter mornings!
If you enjoyed our apple-themed activities at the Grand Re-opening Festival, then Michael Clark’s “Apples, a field guide” (£5.00) may well be the book for you. It can help you to identify that unknown apple growing in your garden or in the park. Or if you are feeling ambitious, you can use it to help you choose which variety to plant! Of course, if you want to go even further and take the path to self-sufficiency, then what better than Sonia Kurta’s “No dear, that’s a pheasant, we’re peasants” (£2.50), full of the pitfalls of having a smallholding and tips for those brave enough to try living “the good life”.
Whatever your interests – from folk art to traction engines and from literature to local history – there are plenty more bargains to be picked up this month. The MERL Shop Sale runs until 5 February.
Museum of English Rural Life
University of Reading
6 Redlands Road
T: 0118 378 8660 Facebook