Historical items go on display in Market Harborough

Musket balls and other finds. (MAIL PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER) NNL-141021-094950001
Musket balls and other finds. (MAIL PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER) NNL-141021-094950001

An exhibition of items found in the recent £400,000 renovation of Market Harborough’s Old Grammar School is now on display.

The found objects, ranging from rare woven “dandy buttons” to a tiny bone dice, can be seen in Harborough Museum until April next year.

The museum is part of the Symington Building in Adam and Eve Street.

“They are literally found objects which came to light as part of the building work,” explained Tim Savage, Market Towns Museum Officer. “It’s really fascinating.”

Site project manager and chartered surveyor Jim Jacobs explained: “We took sacks of rubbish from under the floors of the building, and the foreman who worked for the building firm WW Brown & Sons suggested we sieve the dust.

“We found a significant quantity of old coins, buttons, old pipes, and tokens going back to the 1600s with ‘Market Harborough’ stamped on them.”

Harborough’s Old Grammar School, arguably the most iconic small building in Leicestershire, was built in 1614. That gives the potential for 400 years of lost things.

The items on display include a torn page from a Universal Spelling Book, a reminder of the days when the building was a school house for local boys.

There are also small timber and bone toys, coins going back to the reign of Elizabeth I (who died in 1603), a quantity of musket shot and the odd early 20th century cigarette packet!

The building was renovated from top to bottom last year, from replacing one of the big supporting pillars, to ensuring there was a working bell in the bell turret.

The entire £400,000 cost was met by the influential but low-key Market Harborough and The Bowdens charity, whose history is even more ancient than the Old Grammar School’s.

Mr Jacobs said the charity’s own roots go back to at least 1503.