Preparation is underway here at Bradford Industrial Museum for the Christopher Pratt and Sons exhibition (8 December 2012 – 7 April 2013).
The company may be familiar to you. Pratts have fitted and furnished Bradford homes, businesses and buildings from their premises on North Parade since 1845, until their move to Leeds in 2003. Our very own Red Room at Bolling Hall Museum, with its restored Chippendale bed and 18th century silk damask walls, was created by Pratts.
In November we attended a historical talk led by David Pratt, about his family and their furniture business. This was followed by a nice chat over pie and peas, and a cup of tea. The family are being very helpful with our research and supportive of the exhibition.
Part of the exhibition planning process requires us to assess what relevant objects there are in Bradford’s museums collections. With the right interpretation, these objects will help tell the story, and fuel nostalgia and memories for visitors who remember Pratts. A trip to our collections store was needed with our Social History curator and Collections Officer.
We examined Victorian sideboards with ornate tiling through to complete Edwardian bedroom suites; Art Nouveau chairs contrasting austere utility armchairs from the Second World War. We also delved deep into the costume racks to see a late Victorian mourning dress and a 1920s flapper style wedding dress, worn by Pratt ladies. We left with a camera bursting with photographs, a list of potential objects to exhibit, and a smile on our faces.
Our photographs have encouraged discussion with the exhibition team about which objects to use, what themes and topics to explore and how to display them. The next steps are finalising the objects and themes, working out the exhibition space layout before designing and writing the interpretation panels.
Do you remember Pratts? We are keen to find out our memories. Did you buy a piece of furniture from them? Or did you work there? Let us know. Either write to us, email us [email protected] (Subject: Pratt exhibition) or fill in the memories folder in the reception at Bradford Industrial Museum.