In August 2017 I was contacted out of the blue by a Mudlen End collector who told me that his wife has in her collection a large model with the name ‘Hart’ inscribed upon it. He had a niggling thought that it may be connected to Mudlen end and my father. I had never seen the model in the photos that he sent, but I was elated to see that it would have been produced from a mould that was in my fathers workshop which I was intending to investigate at some future stage. it was a true “eureka” moment.
Above are pictures of the mould. As a 9 piece mould (there is another large slab that creates the entire roof ) it is the most complex one that I have seen made by my father. I had no idea what it was a model of, or if it were even an actual building. I knew it would be hard to research. It was my intention to actually make a casting from the mould and then see if anyone might know what building it was, a bit of a shot in the dark really.
The above are the photos that Martin sent of the model. It was a great thrill to be able to put the two together, the mould and the model.
The inscription reads: The Old Rectory Gt Whelnetham Lancelot & Muriel Lake 1932 Hart
Below are photos with a tape showing dimensions: I have to say that this has to be the biggest cast model made by my father, from the most complex mould.
A little research tells me that Lancelot ( Edward ) and Muriel Lake were brother and sister, they were prominent in Bury St Edmunds society, with connections to the Green King brewery company. They were also Freemen of the Borough of Bury St. Edmunds.
Ongoing research is required to find out why, and by whom, this model was commissioned and how many were produced. I look forward to knowing the complete story.
Update : October ’17.
I have been in contact with the current resident of the Old Rectory and he has informed me that he himself has two of the models but was unsure of their origin. He kindly advised me to contact his cousin who in fact gave him one of his models.
His cousin was most helpful and advised me that the models were indeed commissioned by their great aunt, Muriel lake, to give to various family members as keepsakes. “The Old rectory was the hub of the Lake family and was home to many of the wider family’s children during the war and after, so was much loved hence the models were reminders’’.
What a wonderful keepsake and everlasting reminder.
Muriel Lake died in the mid 70’s and this information would put the making of the models either in the early 70’s if not the late 60’s. This comes as a shock to me as I had never seen this mould in any of my father’s pottery studios. The thought that it would have been at Mudlen End since this early date ( there would have been no point taking it to other studios over the years) makes me wonder what else I may not know about!!
If only my father was in the habit of perhaps inscribing dates into the moulds that he made, or then again, perhaps it wouldn’t be so much fun researching.
It was a thrill for me to catch up with Nicholas, the current owner of the Old Rectory during my visit to the U.K. in November. He had with him one of his models and I was very happy to get to hold it. I was amazed by its weight, it was extremely light, particularly thin walls, and a wonderfully tactile piece.
Thanks to everyone involved in this Mudlen End chapter.