Unique Artefact of the Month

George Pennell Collection

For this month’s unique artefact there is a First World War theme. As we are currently in the centenary years of the First World War it is an appropriate artefact to choose, as well as the fact that there will be a large focus on Orangemen in Service in the new interpretive centres.

George Pennell was the son of Thomas and Mary Pennell of Pernau Street in Belfast.  He forged his age to enlist during WWI and was killed on 25th October 1918 at the Battle of the Lys, 17 days before the end of the war.  His age at death is given as 19, however, in the 1911 census of Ireland he was listed as aged 10, which would have made him 17 when he died.  He was posthumously awarded the 1914-1918 war medal and the Victory medal. Georges’ parents received the Memorial Plaque (known as the Dead Man’s Penny).

He has no known grave, and is commemorated on Panel 140 to 141 of the Tyne Cot Memorial, at West-Vlaanderen in Belgium.

The Museum of Orange Heritage has in it’s collection his death penny, dog tags, RIF Cap badge and a letter written to his mother by a 2nd Lt. detailing how, where and when her son died.

The transcript of the letter is as follow:

B E F

15/11/18

Dear Mrs Pennell,

I received your letter of the 4th a few days ago but have unfortunately not been able to reply sooner owing to having been down with the ‘Flue’ for the past week.

I regret that I cannot inform you what part of France your son is buried in but you will hear in due course the exact location from the Graves Registration Committee.

He was wounded about 9.30 in the morning of the 25th October 1918. I saw him fall and beckoned up the Stretcher Bearers who carried him to a farm near by – he died a few minutes later without feeling any pain.

Alf Cook was wounded shortly afterwards. I do not know which hospital he is in. The shell by which your son was killed was not from an airship but was FROM a long range high explosive (probably 6 or 7 miles).

His personal belongings including, I believe, two pipes have already been forwarded to you through the “D. A. D. R. T., A. M. F. O. Le Havre, France” – to whom you should write if you do not receive them soon.

The pay due to your son will be sent to you in due course as you are mentioned in his pay-book as next of kin.

I will give your address to any of your son’s chums who are still with the platoon.

May the thought comfort you during this time that your son died like a soldier and his loss was a great grief to his officers and comrades who again offer their sincerest sympathy.

I am,

yours very sincerely,

R. Lindsay Lees 2/Lt

Royal Irish Fusiliers

Friends of Schomberg Host AGM

The Friends of Schomberg House held their Annual General Meeting on Wednesday at the Templeton Hotel.

Presentations were given on the Museum of Orange Heritage, the progress of the capital work, and tasks completed to date.

Dr. David Hume, Director of Services at the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, gave a talk on Independent Orangeism in East Antrim in 1869.

The Friends of Schomberg House then re-elected their new committee members and encouraged those involved to get more people to sign up to support the Museum of Orange Heritage. It was also highlighted at the meeting that approximately 20 groups or lodges have signed up for the corporate membership of the Friends which is fantastic to see.

New Committee Members for the Friends of Schomberg House:

  • David Cargo
  • David McNarry
  • Brian Blair
  • Derek Gallagher
  • David Hume
  • Desmond Brownlie
  • David Cargo Jnr.
  • Andrew Charles
  • Alan Lindsay
  • John McAllister
  • Trevor McIntyre
  • Roberta Heaney

If you wish to join the Friends as an individual or indeed wish to join as a lodge as corporate membership, please find all the information you need in the Friends of the Museum section of the website. You can also sign up online through the website via Pay Pal.

Images below courtesy of Roger Bradley

Unique Artefact of the month

A Ritual of Ceremonies for the First Degree of the Loyal Order of Moose.

The Loyal Order of Moose known now as the Moose International in Great Britain, is a fraternal organisation. Their aims are similar to the Loyal Order of Moose in the United States. These aims are to help the orphaned and the widowed. They organise and run a variety of fundraising and social events for worthy causes. Formed in 1926, the Moose International in Great Britain have 45 centres across England and Wales. Their headquarters can be found in Somerset.

This is an example of the variety of fraternal artefacts we have in our collections at the Museum of Orange Heritage.

New museums to promote Orange Heritage

New interpretative centres promoting the Orange Institution will be formally known as the Museums of Orange Heritage, it has been confirmed.

The museums, currently undergoing construction at Schomberg House, Belfast, and at Sloan’s House, Co Armagh, are part of the REACH Project (Reaching out through Education and Cultural Heritage), which received £3.6 million from the EU’s PEACE III programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

Both facilities are progressing well and expected to open later this year, providing a unique and unprecedented showcase of Orange history and culture.

The museum branding, which was commissioned by the Grand Lodge, is now officially trademarked. It encompasses King William III on horseback and is based on a silver statuette from 1829, produced in Cork city, now in the care of the Institution. The clearly defined saddlecloth represents the original version, also in the possession of the Loyal Order, and which will be one of the major attractions set to go on display at the Belfast site.

The official title of the new interpretative centres was unveiled by the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson.

He said: “The Museums of Orange Heritage represent one of the most significant and exciting initiatives ever undertaken by the Institution. There is now a sense of real anticipation as their physical completion moves ever closer.

“The new name exemplifies this innovative outreach project, and it is only appropriate King William III should represent such world-class interpretative centres, given his obvious historical significance and relevance.”

He added: “Both facilities in Belfast and Loughgall will allow us to preserve and present the impressive historical collections of the Orange Order, as well as promote understanding and mutual respect through interpretation and creation of shared space.”

The concept for the logo came from Grand Lodge Director of Services, Dr David Hume, and local graphic designer Mark Thompson was then commissioned to execute it.

Dr. Hume said: “The silver statuette of King William is an outstanding artefact and we are delighted that it will be the first artefact that the visitor to our Belfast museum sees.

“The saddlecloth is another major historical piece and the design incorporates it as well. We expect that this logo will be viewed by thousands of visitors to our centres each year and it is a very clear and modern treatment which also looks back to the era of William III, which really epitomizes what the museum will be doing.

“The Museum of Orange Heritage will provide a focus for those interested in learning about Orange traditions, culture and community when the two sites open this summer, and we are very excited about this major project.”

The redevelopment of the Institution’s Cregagh Road headquarters will include a museum displaying a wealth of items and artefacts relating to this history of Orangeism across the world. The expansion will also incorporate a research facility and educational resource, with particular access for school and cross-community visits.

The refurbishment of Sloan’s House – where the first Orange warrants were signed over 200 years ago – will include an extension to cater for an additional museum exhibition area and provision of detailed information relating to the early history of the Orange Order.

Five full-time staff, including a museum curator and marketing officer, have been appointed to work at both sites.

Part-funding for the project was provided by the Department for Social Development and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, in the Republic of Ireland.

Orange Order launches exhibition in London

The Orange Institution has formally launched an exhibition at the Palace of Westminster, promoting its outreach programme and the forthcoming opening of two new interpretative centres next year.

Opinion formers, including members of both the House of Commons and Lords, joined others in London to learn more about the REACH Project (Reaching out through Education and Cultural Heritage), which received £3.6 million from the EU’s PEACE III programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

The interpretative centres, in Belfast and Loughgall, are expected to open in May 2015 and will provide a unique showcase of Orange history and culture.

A wealth of items and artefacts relating to the history of Orangeism across the world, will go on public display as part of the extension of the Institution’s Belfast headquarters.

The expansion will also incorporate a research facility and educational resource, with particular access for school and cross-community visits.

In a joint initiative to promote shared space and great levels of reconciliation, improvement works are also taking place to refurbish and extend Sloan’s House in Co Armagh.

Grand Lodge Director of Services, Dr David Hume, was joined by other Orange representatives and museum staff at the London event.

The senior Orangeman said the Westminster launch provided a “major opportunity” for the Institution to outline its “excellent outreach work” to public representatives across the UK and other key figures, ahead of the opening of both Orange museums next spring.

He said: “The REACH initiative is unprecedented in terms of the outreach which is being and will be undertaken by the Orange Institution.

“We received Peace III funding because of the commitment of the Order to outreach to the wider community, particularly the nationalist community, and to engage in presenting our tradition and culture to them. Education and mutual respect are essential in our society as we move towards the future and this project is committed to those two principles.

“The opening of two new interpretive centres next year will provide unique facilities for visitors to come and learn more about the Orange tradition in Ireland and throughout the world. The Orange Institution has an outstanding collection of artefacts and documents which tell that story and for the first time they will be displayed in museum conditions.

“The outreach which will accompany the new interpretive centres has already begun and our museum officer has visited a number of schools.”

He added: “We welcome the opportunity to bring the details of this unique project to opinion formers in London and are very grateful to MP Jeffrey Donaldson who has sponsored this exhibition in the House of Commons.”

Orange Museum visit for Stormont Ministers

Grand Master Edward Stevenson today (MON) welcomed Northern Ireland Executive ministers Simon Hamilton and Mervyn Storey to the headquarters of the Orange Institution to view progress on the development of a new interpretative centre.

The Orange museum at Schomberg House is part of the REACH Project (Reaching out through Education and Cultural Heritage), which received £3.6 million from the EU’s PEACE III programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

Part-funding for the project, which includes the construction of a second interpretative centre in Co Armagh, was also provided by the Department for Social Development and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, in the Republic of Ireland.

The interpretative centres, in Belfast and Loughgall, are expected to open in May 2015 and will provide a unique showcase of Orange history and culture.

Mr Stevenson said: “I was delighted to welcome both Minister Hamilton and Minister Storey to Schomberg House and let them see for themselves the tremendous progress that is being made regarding the development of this transformational Orange outreach project.

“The construction of two world class interpretative centres, at our headquarters and Sloan’s House, represents one of the most significant initiatives ever undertaken by the Institution.

“Both state-of-the-art facilities will allow us to preserve and present the impressive historical collections of the Orange Order, as well as promote understanding and mutual respect through interpretation and creation of shared space.”

He added: “We are indebted to our funding partners and look forward with great anticipation to the completion of improvement works next spring.”

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