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A new exhibition at Saffron Walden Museum explores agriculture in Uttlesford in both the past and the present.

James Carter

From the Hazely Brick Earth: Agriculture in North-West Essex - which open on 27 January and continues until 29 July - looks at rural life and agricultural trades over the past four centuries. Using objects, photographs and film, the exhibition tells the story of how people have made their livelihoods from trades such as malting, milling, thatching and saddlery.

Contemporary photographs and film provided by Saffron Drones are shown alongside historic objects, photographs and film from the museum's extensive agricultural collection. Objects on display include a collection of saddlery tools used by Teddy Worley, a saddler in Saffron Walden in the early 20th century, a range of agricultural hand tools, and paintings of local rural scenes.

The exhibition includes the stories of farmers, tradesmen and scientists who continue to work in these agricultural trades and how they have changed over time. These stories include James Carter, a thatcher in Clavering who continues to use traditional methods, and Dr Christopher Burt, a wheat geneticist at RAGT Seeds in Ickleton who conducts research into wheat varieties.

Leah Mellors, curator of the exhibition, said: "Uttlesford has always been, and continues to be, an agricultural district. It has been fascinating to learn about the history of this agriculture, the back-breaking work that went into making a living from the land, and to compare it to how things are done today.

"I am delighted that the museum is able to explore and share this aspect of our district, which is easily forgotten in our modern lives."

The exhibition has been kindly sponsored by RAGT Seeds and NFU Mutual (Saffron Walden).

The exhibition is open from 27 January until 29 July 2018 during the museum's opening hours, which are Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and Sundays and Bank Holidays, 2pm-5pm (closing at 4.30pm from November to February).

For more information see the museum's website at www.saffronwaldenmuseum.org, or call 01799 510333.

12 January 2018