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Read, Watch and Listen

A ceramic jug that dates from the Romano-British period

This ceramic jug dates from the Romano-British period, and is made from a fine grained black burnished ware known as Upchurch ware. The writing on the object, copied from earlier markings and labels, records the provenance of the object as Uriconium – the Roman name for Wroxeter. Together with a contemporary label, it also records a detailed sequence of acquisition – its discovery in 1866 by ‘Mr Stannier who farmed the land’, its sale to a dealer in Shrewsbury named Mr Last, and Pitt-Rivers’ purchase of the object from Last in 1870 (Pitt Rivers Museum Accession Number 1884.37.31).​

Welfare, Training and Governance

Following a 1997 tent fire in Saudi Arabia which killed over 300 Hajjis, the UK's first pilgrim welfare organisation was founded in Birmingham. The Association of British Hujjaj (ABH) lobbies government to support UK citizens visiting Makkah. It also educates intending pilgrims about health and safety. At a 2014 event in Birmingham, speeches were delivered in English and Urdu by medics, Islamic scholars and civic dignitaries. Trading Standards in the city has been especially proactive in tackling ‘Hajj fraud’.

© Seán McLoughlin, 2014. Creative Commons licence - “CC-BY”

Collecting the Legacy of Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh left an exceptional body of work across arts, architecture and interior design. He was someone who was very much of his time – but who was also looking to the future through his work, and who has remained enduringly popular.

A Somerset folksong, 'Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron' [c.1900] provides the hebdomadal basis for this mailing campaign.

With express reference to 21-day regimens, it is suggested that the domestic schedule of the sixties housewife might be matched to routine self-administration of oral contraceptives. 1966. Physician's circular, No.4 in a series of 7 / Parke Davis, 'Norlestrin-21'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Prehistoric flint knife

This prehistoric flint knife, with a curved edge and straight back, is probably Neolithic in date. Its recorded provenance, “Yorkshire”, is unspecific, but the faded number in black ink, ‘1337’, matches with a manuscript source dating from 1874 in which Pitt-Rivers recorded a “triangular flint knife or arrowhead” in his collection. Pitt-Rivers was a Yorkshireman by birth, and returned there throughout his life, so the object could have been acquired by him any time before 1874, in the first 47 years of his life (Pitt Rivers Museum Accession Number 1884.123.333).​

The British Hajj Delegation

Under New Labour a British Hajj Delegation was established in 2000. Unique among Western nations, it made Foreign and Commonwealth Office support available on the ground in Makkah. However, in 2010, funding for volunteer medics ceased. This photograph shows the now privately-funded British-Muslim doctors in 2012. With government stressing the need for self-help in the Hajj travel sector, it also highlights the key contribution since the mid-2000s of a ‘second generation’ welfare organisation, the Bolton-based, Council of British Hajjis.

© Rashid Mogradia, 2012. Creative Commons licence - “CC-BY”

The Nahrein Network

A new historical project aims to prove the value of the arts and humanities to education and post-conflict development in Iraq and neighbouring countries.

"Life is not restricted, but enriched".

This campaign utilises a contemporaneous resurgence in child psychology, marking the young, healthy multipara as facilitator of family well being; once enabled as a strategic contraceptor, pregnancies are viable and desired, and emotional privation is negated all round. 1966. Physician's circular, No.3 in a series of 4 / Syntex, 'Norinyl-1'. By kind permission of Roche. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Neolithic stone scraper

Three curatorial hands inscribe this Neolithic stone scraper. Modern writing reads “YORKSHIRE WOLDS”, giving two museum catalogue numbers. The number ‘10’ and an illegible word are written in pencil. Their meaning is obscure, but the single faded word “GREENWELL” connects the scraper with a seminal moment in Victorian archaeology. Canon William Greenwell pioneered the excavation of prehistoric burial mounds in Yorkshire, and Pitt-Rivers spent time excavating with him in April 1867 –later reminiscing that he gained crucial early experience in digging from Greenwell. Acquired at some point by Pitt-Rivers from Greenwell, this scraper represents evidence not just of prehistoric Yorkshire, but also of a personal exchange between Victorian antiquaries (Pitt Rivers Museum Accession Number 1884.133.56).

Ihram and Ritual Separation

At one of several miqats (boundary points) surrounding Makkah, pilgrims make ablutions, don their ihram (ritual attire), and state the intention to perform Hajj. They enter a state of consecration which includes various prohibitions. Travelling from the West today, the miqat is often reached en route to Jeddah International Airport. Here, however, British-Muslim pilgrims gather at the miqat nearest Madinah, Dhu’l Hulayfa. The women's light, cotton ihrams are optional, whereas men must wear two unstitched pieces of white cloth.

© Qaisra Khan, 2010. Creative Commons licence - “CC-BY”