Bailiffgate was delighted to welcome a visitor with a close personal connection to one of the prize exhibits in the museum’s collection. Margaret Blackwell is the niece of Arthur Shelford, whose death is commemorated with the Mouseman oak lectern. She travelled from Cheshire to see the memorial to her uncle, Alnwick born and bred, who was tragically killed early on in the Second World War.
The lectern was commissioned by Margaret’s grandfather, Percy Shelford following the death of his son Arthur, killed in 1940 when his destroyer, HMS Express was hit by a mine. Arthur was a doctor and surgeon-lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Percy, headmaster of the Duke’s School for 40 years, commissioned Robert Thompson, the Mouseman furniture maker of North Yorkshire to make the piece dedicated to his late son. Nearly every piece of Mouseman furniture has a distinctive trademark mouse carved into it.
Bailiffgate was delighted to receive the Mouseman oak lectern when the Duke’s school closed. Bailiffgate’s own mascot is a mouse and children visiting the museum go on mouse hunts and win prizes. Next summer 2020, to celebrate the Vikings coming to Alnwick in partnership with Jorvik museum, knitted Viking mice will be hidden in the museum and in Alnwick’s shops for the duration of the exhibiiton. All Viking mice will also be available for adoption in September.