Friday, 4 November 2016

Bringing out that souvenir from the Great War

Now it isn’t always the big things which bring you close to the great events of history.

I am sure that if I ever got to hold the original copy of the Declaration Independence signed in 1776 I would be very excited.

But this porcelain ambulance also does it for me.

It will have been turned out in the thousands at a factory in Stoke on Trent and the same company will have also made souvenir tanks, ships, and a whole range of other china items with a war theme.

In the years before 1914 this company along with its competitors would have produced replicas of Blackpool Tower, The Houses of Parliament along with windmills, and an assortment of tourist memorabilia each with the coats of arms of the seaside town it was sold in.

The Great War just changed what was made.

And that brings me back to the ambulance which carried the badge of the City of Manchester, but could so easily have sported the coat of arms of Liverpool, Edinburgh or pretty much anywhere.

This one belongs to David Harrop who has an extensive collection of material from the Great War, some of which can be found in his permanent exhibition in the Remembrance Lodge in Southern Cemetery.

Here there are also porcelain tanks, a model of HMS Manchester and a bull dog, and they are a reminder that during the war these pieces will have been bought and proudly displayed on the mantelpiece or in a glass fronted cabinet in homes across the city.

Location; Southern Cemetery

Picture; porcelain ambulance circa 1915-18 from the collection of David Harrop

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