Objects from the collection of Museum of British Folklore. © Simon Costin / Museum of British Folklore.
Ahead of a series of features exploring their collection, Museum Crush talks to the Museum of British Folklore about their plans to start a physical museum and the magic and ritual of our lives
What is it about British folklore that seems to capture the imagination so? Perhaps it’s that yearning for a simpler way of life, free of Facebook, full of ritual, magic and rural rhythm? Or the sense of coming together with our communities to take part in a living cultural heritage that links us to the past?
Whatever the reason, the interest in our more curious customs – from dressing up as green men to chasing cheese down precipitous English hillsides – is on the rise. For example, Padstow May Day attracts up to 30,000 people each year and Hastings’ Jack in the Green has grown from just a few hundred bank holiday Morris Men to thousands of visitors.
The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance. c.1900, Benjamin Stone as published in Sir Benjamin Stone’s Pictures – Festivals, Ceremonies and Customs. Published by Cassell & Co. London. 1906
Poacher Morris – one of the many dolls dressed by Morris dancing sides across the UK for the Museum of British Folklore. © Simon Costin / Museum of British Folklore.