Bacup Natural History Society & Museum
Transforming the Centenary room to Mrs Ibbitts Shop & Parlour
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In 1978 when the Nat celebrated it’s Centenary, great play was made of the Centenary Room situated at the back of the  property, towards re-roofing, of which the Bacup Rotary Club gave £100 and John Willie Johnson contributed £200. Originally an outhouse the room had become derelict, the walls were treated with sealant  before being painted, and steps taken to underdraw the roof. It was intended that the room  would open to mark the Centenary of the society and house a collection of Industrial  Archeology.  Over the next few years it was home to a pillar drill a Lancashire Loom, a penny  farthing bicycle and various other industrial exhibits.  As the years passed articles became affected by damp and the room became a dumping  ground for items we didn’t know what to do with.  The bicycle was taken off our hands by a  private enthusiast and Gordon Rigg aquired the Lancashire Loom, the pillar drill was  donated to Ellenroad Steam Museum at Newhey Rochdale. In 2016 we put in a First World War Then and Now bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to transform the room into Mrs Ibbitts  1917 shop and parlour. The name Mrs Ibbitts is based on a real lady Mrs Ibbs, who owned a haberdashery shop in Bacup during the  Great War and who  often appeared in the local newspaper the Bacup Times in response to her work in organising and sending out war comforts to the boys in the trenches and  those held as prisoners of war.   The Mrs Ibbitts, character  was introduced to visitors to the Bacup Natural History Society & Museum aka the Nat in  December 1914 when we hosted Mrs Ibbitts 1914 Christmas event along with Mrs Ibbitts Easter Open Day and Mrs Ibbitts  1940 Christmas.   Bacup in 1917 was a time of great change a time of political unrest with a by-election that  involved the imprisonment of one of the candidate as a Conscientious Objector, lads aged  18 were being called up for military service, the resumption of unrestricted warfare on allied  shipping by Germany in February  led to shortages, rationing, food control and land  cultivation.   We wanted to use Mrs Ibbitts shop to tell the story of how Bacup was affected by the Great  War and in particular the food controls introduced in 1917, along with land cultivation and  how men women and children alike all helped with this,  the introduction of new foods like  margarine.  The Centenary Room was cleared of all remaining items in early January 2017 and work began on transforming it into the  shop and parlour, opening on Easter Saturday April 15th 2017.   
This was how the back wall looked before work began. Right hand corner prior to work starting. Back wall prior to work starting. Left hand corner prior to work starting. Back Wall once work had been completed with shelves and counter installed. Right hand corner after work had been completed. Back wall after work completed and ready for Christmas. Left hand corner after work had been completed.