A Suburban Militarism Day Trip: Part 1

In a short break from the modelling, it’s time to talk military history. A public holiday offered the chance of a day trip out to a military museum that I hadn’t visited before. The Sherwood Foresters Museum is based in Nottingham Castle and contains artefacts relating to the 45th Nottinghamshire and the 95th Derbyshire regiments; also the Derbyshire and Royal Sherwood Foresters Militias (militia and rifle volunteers); and related local volunteer battalions. I was expecting a modest display but in fact was really impressed by the quality and range of exhibits. There were plenty of uniforms, headgear and weapons on display; perfect for a military history nerd like me!

Boer War
Boer War pith helmet and bugle.
Nappy redcoat
Napoleonic officer’s coat with excellent examples of a Waterloo Belgic shako (top left), an officers bicorn hat (bottom left), and Stovepipe Shako (bottom right).

French Style Shako

Above are fascinating examples of Crimean War era headgear. A Quilted Albert Shako (top), Albert “Last” Shako with braiding (middle) and a similar but distinctly taller French style shako (foreground).

Bell Top Sjako and Uniform 2
1830s era uniforms with the large Bell Top Shako. Check out those epaulettes!
Militia and Volunteers Uniforms
Notts and Derbyshire Militia & Volunteers uniform displays.

Prior to the visit, I was reading a book review recently in my Victorian Military Society journal about the siege of Magdala in the Abyssinian campaign of 1868, so was delighted to coincidentally find some related artefacts to this campaign. There are claims to have such war booty returned to Ethiopia. It’s a contentious subject for sure, but for now it was wonderful to get the opportunity to see these astonishing objects close up.

Artefacts taken from the fortress of  King “Theodore’s” Magdala in Abyssinia: ‘The Magdala Cross’ and ‘The Magdala Cup’, one of several made of horn and silver.

The Crimean War has long been a favourite subject of Suburban Militarism, so I was pleased to see numerous artefacts relating to that conflict, as well. There was a small mortar from the siege of Sevastopol and also a captured Russian drum whose black and white pattern was later deliberately replicated on the 95th’s own regimental drum. Crimean Mortar Crimean Russian Drum 2 Another very Close Shave

Above – Capt. MacDonald of the 95th’s cross belt. Astonishingly, a Russian musket ball remains lodged in the brass lion’s mouth. Having thus barely survived the battle of the Alma, he later survived 20 bayonet wounds received at the later battle of Inkerman too!

95th Regt watercolour
Watercolour print of the 95th on Parade in the Crimea. Artist unknown (J.N. Crealock?)

I’m always interested in military artwork and there were some interesting examples such as the watercolour above. In part 2 of the Suburban Militarism day trip, there’s some more artwork to come…