The Bucklebury Experience

As Greta mentioned yesterday in her blog post, What did you do at work today…Updated, the Sense of Place Project team have experienced a fact-filled visit to Bucklebury today and have only just returned, hence this very quick blog post, which I am writing towards the end of a rather tiring but enjoyable day.

The team visiting the former site of George Lailey’s hut

Some keen members of Bucklebury History Group, Helen, David and Allayne, kindly devoted the best part of their day to giving us a tour of Bucklebury.  And who better to do it? Their knowledge and enthusiasm for the place in which they live, is impressive, infectious and quite enviable.  Especially to someone like me, who has not settled in one area (or even county or region) of the UK for more than 2 out of the last 12 years!

Whilst it might sound like a simple task to show someone around Bucklebury, we have learnt that Bucklebury Parish actually has a 26 mile boundary and encompasses Bucklebury Village, Upper Bucklebury, Chapel Row, Bucklebury Common (Upper and Lower), plus areas such as The Slade, Mile’s Green and Turner’s Green, amongst others. So cataloguing an object from ‘Bucklebury’ may not be quite as straightforward as we first thought!  It certainly calls for more work on our geographical keyword hierarchy, which Felicity discussed the complexities of, in an earlier blog post, Cataloguing ‘place’.

But having now undergone a comprehensive tour of Bucklebury and seen it with our own eyes, we have a much greater understanding of how the places within the Parish boundary relate to each other.  This will naturally lead to a better understanding of the objects and photographs we are cataloguing, which were made, used or acquired in Bucklebury.

As well as those mentioned by Greta yesterday, these include a large collection of items relating to the late George Lailey, a Bucklebury man said to have been England’s last traditional bowl turner. It is believed that his work came to have a profound impact on early twentieth century craft.  Lailey’s bowl turning lathe is on open display at MERL, along with many of the hand tools and bowls found in Lailey’s workshop, where it forms an important part of the story of rural life in England. The artefacts in this display include an incomplete bowl sitting on the lathe, which Lailey is said to have been working on at the time of his death in 1958.

Anyway, there will be far more details of Bucklebury’s history and its related objects and photographs from the MERL collection to follow in future blog posts, along with more details of what we are planning to do with all of this information.  For now, I will leave you with some images from our day out.  I know Felicity and Greta have also taken plenty of photographs so I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear more about their own versions of the Bucklebury Experience too!


Foundry House, Bucklebury Village

Behind the Foundry, over the River Pang, Bucklebury Village

The grave of George Lailey, Upper Bucklebury cemetery

George Lailey’s commemorative plaque, Turner’s Green, Bucklebury Common

The grave of Harry Wells, Bucklebury handle-maker

Example of an iron grave marker, made at Bucklebury Village Foundry

5 thoughts on “The Bucklebury Experience

  1. Pingback: A Sense of Place · The George Lailey athe

  2. Pingback: A Sense of Place · The team welcomes our resident Historypinner!

  3. Hi Helen,

    Thanks for the comment, its good to know you’ve had a look and enjoyed the blog. The stats are looking great actually and on the increase each month. We are definitely beginning to get the word out. You’ll have more visitors to Bucklebury than the royal wedding attracted soon!


  4. Pingback: A Sense of Place · Understanding Bucklebury

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