Saturday, 6 April 2013

Vikings in Furness!

Unlike her Autistic twin brother. my daughter is extremely sociable and always wanting to be doing something particularly when there are people.Today she asked if we could go to our local museum- it's not large but it's free to go in and I find that no matter how often we go we always learn something. There was a new small exhibitions about the Vikings following the discovery of The Furness Hoard - a collection of Viking coins on the Furness peninsula in 2011. We learned that the name of our village Kirkby is Viking for Church land, no doubt as a result of the monks at Furness abbey owning the land around our village.
I also discovered that if we travel up the west coast to Irton or Gosforth we can see some Viking crosses. Naturally my daughter decided to dress up....
There were also models of a viking man and woman,
And the charred remains of a human skull which it is thought was cremated but didn't burn because the temperature wasn't high enough.
Our local museum is contained in a dry dock in Barrow in Furness which is famous for ship building and more recently for building the nuclear submarine The Astute.This is what the bottom of the museum looks like. Presumably they used to let the water in here when they were ready to float the boats.

One of the things I was particularly interested to find out about was the Japanese Warship The Mikasa. I've mentioned my son's interest in Military History before. He has a huge encyclopedia by Dorling Kindersley on Military History and discovered that the Mikasa was built at Barrow in Furness- in fact until then I didn't understand the significance of Mikasa street in Barrow. My father tells me that he was given a small model of the boat when he was young which had been built in the model shop in Vickers (now BAE systems). Today however I managed to buy a postcard of it's launch in 1900 for my son and learn that it is now docked in Tokyo! Obviously my daughter just had to try a sailors cap but what the goggles were for goodness knows!
We also learned about the local iron ore industry  and saw a piece of hematite or pig iron! There are a series of local films too. This time we chose to watch one of the Furness peninsula from the air and learned that there is evidence in the village down the road of the Medieval strip field system.
Just a few more pieces of our history jigsaw!

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