Exhibit of the Week: Cobbler’s polishing and finishing machine

Polishing machine in the cobblers shop at Beck Isle Museum, Pickering.
Polishing machine in the cobblers shop at Beck Isle Museum, Pickering.

Our exhibit of the week is a polishing machine which was used to smooth off and polish new boots and shoes that had been made in Henry Coverdales factory.

The factory was located on the left of a yard leading into what is now the Flea Market in Pickering. The building was later used as a Youth Club and Scout Room before it was demolished.

The Coverdale family were a prominent business family who owned the White Swan Hotel which had its own brewery in the outbuildings behind. They also owned the shop below the hotel which was used to sell the new boots and shoes that had been produced in Henry Coverdales factory just across the road. This shop is now operating as a wine bar.

Henry Coverdale was a Justice of the Peace and when Queen Victoria celebrated her Jubilee in 1887 the family donated a bullock that had been purchased for £16-12-6d. The animal was slaughtered and used in the towns Ox Roast Celebration on Smiddy Hill where it was slowly turned over a small fire. Henry Coverdale died on 10th November 1933.

The polishing machine can still be seen today by visiting the Cobblers shop inside Beck Isle Museum in Pickering.

l The museum is now open for the 2017 season having been closed for maintenance and exhibition changing over the winter period. This year is particularly special as the museum celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Founded in 1967 by a small group of local volunteers, Beck Isle Museum started out as a museum and arts centre in the ground floor rooms of the grade II listed building beside Pickering Beck. Over the last 50 years the Beck Isle Museum has developed and expanded, and now displays thousands of objects relating to the social history of Pickering and its trades, crafts and industries.

To celebrate the museum’s 50th anniversary there are new displays on the history of the museum and the building as well as a small temporary exhibition ‘50 years, 50 objects’ showcasing the wide ranging collection from early bronze age arrowheads to 1960s costume. The focus of the anniversary will be in May when there will be a special event.

In the meantime there is a family fossil day tomorrow, Friday, and next month on 9 March there is a volunteer recruitment day from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the Beck Isle Museum come along to find out more about volunteer roles available at the museum, have a cup of tea or coffee and meet some of the museum volunteers and staff. Please contact us on 01751 473653 or email info@beckislemuseum.org.uk for more information.