A History of the World in 100 objects, Lailey’s lathe

I have very much enjoyed the ground breaking Radio 4 & British Museum program “a history of the world in 100 objects”

The project runs wider than just the 100 objects however with various museums choosing their favourite object to tell a story. The Museum of English Rural Life at Reading have chosen George Lailey’s lathe

“This lathe tells of an ordinary Berkshire man whose work had a profound impact on early twentieth century craft. Like his forebears, George Lailey operated out of a small workshop in rural Berkshire. An item made by him was collected by the British Council in the 1940s and toured the commonwealth. The bowl on the lathe is said to have been one he was making at the time of his death in 1958. His grave in Bucklebury is appropriately marked with a wooden cross. The Museum still acquires examples of Lailey’s craftsmanship, often signed and dated, and each with a unique history. Wooden bowls were standard eating vessels across Europe from 500-1600AD. When Lailey passed away the rich international scope of an ancient craft died with him. With a working replica of this lathe a contemporary artisan has helped to revive these techniques, assisting in the reintroduction of bowl turning to Sweden, the USA, Germany, France, and even Japan.”
That must be me then. ;0)


One Response to A History of the World in 100 objects, Lailey’s lathe

  1. Le Loup February 21, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    Good post.I find it very sad when an old craftsman dies. The trade or skills may be carried on, but it will never really be the same.Le Loup.