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The Great Bed of Ware returns home
Published:27 Mar 2012

The Great Bed of Ware returns home
The Great Bed of Ware begins its accent
The Great Bed of Ware, on loan from the V&A, has made a welcome return to the town where it was made, over 150 years after it left the town.

Dating from around 1590, The Great Bed of Ware is thought to have been created as a tourist attraction for travellers on the pilgrim route from London to Walsingham, and those on their way from the capital to Cambridge University.

The Great Bed arrived on a lorry this morning (27 March),  carefully packed into several transport crates by the staff at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London where it was previously on display.

A hole had to be made in the roof of the Museum so that each crate could be lowered in by a crane parked in the Priory car park.

A crowd of onlookers waited in anticipation as the headboard and then the tester (canopy) were craned in through the roof. Schoolchildren from Christ Church school watched and cheered on the workers.

Staff from the V&A were on-hand to ensure the move went without a hitch and to reconstruct the bed once all the crates were together in the museum.

The Great Bed of Ware is one of the greatest treasures owned by the V&A. It is the first time the bed has ever been on loan to another venue. It will be displayed from 6 April 2012 to April 2013 at the Ware Museum.

The Great Bed of Ware is over three metres wide, and publicised at the time as being able to sleep 12. Travellers were reputed to break their journey especially at Ware just to spend a night in the bed.

It became so famous that Shakespeare has Sir Toby Belch describe a sheet as “...big enough for the Bed of Ware!” in Twelfth Night.

The V&A aquired the Great Bed when it was sold by auction in 1931.

The Great Bed will be on display in Ware Museum thanks to the assistance of a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant, Ware Town Council and other local donors.

Kenneth Weeks, Chair of the Ware Museum Trust, told Ware Online: "We are extremely grateful for the support that the HLF and V&A have given us throughout the development of the project."

"The Great Bed of Ware is woven into the DNA of the town, and through exhibiting it here we are able to get the heritage, history and the social history of the town to local people."

This project is already making a difference to the community through the activities that are currently taking place at Ware Museum. We want to involve all local residents, both old and new, in exploring the history of the town."

More details of the history of the Great Bed and details of opening hours are available on the Great Bed of Ware website.

Photo Gallery
Great Bed Of Ware Arrives in Ware


Related Websites
www.greatbedofware.org.uk/
www.waremuseum.org.uk/
www.vam.ac.uk/



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