Objects of desire
In Oxford yesterday so I popped into the free Pitt Rivers Museum . I spent a year living on Museum Road but never tire of it or the attached Natural History Museum; if you are ever near visit.
The Pitt Rivers is undergoing some building work as they increase its size, without damaging its original Victorian interior and displays, so the collections are a bit limited.
They have a special display of Wilfred Thesiger photographs taken in the 1950s in Iraq, especially in the Marshes - destroyed by Saddam.
Knowing the readers of this blog I'm sure you would also be interested in the permanent display of the evolution of the gun, with examples, including my favourite the 1898 Enfield - object number 1957.5.1- "Accession Book Entry - MRS. IDA DOYNE, ... Henley-on-Thames. Enfield 1898, .303 rifle, found by the donor's brother, Frederick Nicholas Griffin, after an engagement with the BOERS at WAGENAARS KRAAL, CAPE COLONY, 18 Feb. 1902. The wooden encasement beneath the barrel has been cut away, presumably to lessen the weight as a whole. The firing-pin has been filed away at the point. Its owner Judge HUGO was killed during the action. Length 3' 4". "
Of course others may prefer objects 1940.7.0377 .1 1940.7.0377 .2 1940.7.0377 .3 loaned by Cheltenham Ladies College - can you guess what they are?
Accession Book Entry [Loans] - Council of the Ladies' College, Cheltenham, Glos. - From Africa - Rifle and bayonet, European make, late 19th or early 20th century. ? Used in African campaigns.
Related Documents File - New information from Graham Priest, 13/12/2001, re: 1940.7.0377 .2 (bayonet): "Turkish Model 1891 Mamer Rifle bayonet. Made under contract in Germany. Turkish inscription will be German maker's name (Weyersberg?) and Turkish date - (Muslim calendar). [Crescent & Star symbol] - back of blade - Turkish symbol. IVLLIO = Arabic weapon #. Sheet brass on scabbard = N. Africa - probably a post WWI (Gallipoli) souvenir." [CF 18/12/2001]
Old Pitt Rivers Museum label - Mauser Rifle, Germany, 1898. With the 1898 pattern bolt-action magazine Mauser, the 19th century rifle reached its most perfect form. In the hands of an expert, more than 20 r.p.m. can be fired; 15 r.p.m. is readily attainable. The design was adopted by many other countries besides Germany (this specimen was exported to Turkey) and would have been adopted by Britain but for the outbreak of the 1914-18 war. The British P.14 and U.S. P.17 snipers' rifles had Mauser actions. Mausers are still eagerly sought by marksmen and "sportsmen" the world over. Calibre: 7.92 mm. (.311") Sight Range : 2000 yards. Loaned by Cheltenham Ladies College. [DCF Court Team 25/11/2002]