Published On: Mon, Jun 23rd, 2014 on 12:13 pm

Mysterious signatures discovered at the Bankfield Museum in Halifax

Bankfield Museum Signatures

Mysterious signatures dating between 1905 and 1914, have been found on a wall inside Halifax’s Bankfield Museum.

Calderdale Council is currently transforming the gallery into a new exhibition named ‘For King and Country’ to commemorate Calderdale’s role in the First World War.

But during renovation works, signatures were found hidden behind a panel at the back of a display case in the corridor leading to the top floor gallery.

The signatures were accompanied by names and addresses from Halifax, Todmorden, Manchester, Liverpool and even London.

One is that of ‘Annie Widdop’ from Halifax signed in 31 August 1912. One reads ‘A E Jagger’ from King Cross signed in 31 October 1912 and one reads ‘James Cargill’ from Huddersfield signed in 2 September 1909.

There are also some doodles and a signature from ‘Daft Bert’.

Calderdale Council’s Project Officer for the First World War exhibition, Angela Clare, said: “We were really excited to find the signatures. They’re an intriguing part of Bankfield Museum’s history, and it’s poignant that the dates coincide with the outbreak of the First World War.

“It’s fascinating to think that they’ve been a hidden part of the museum for so many years.”

Amongst the signatures is ‘Miss Mona Desmond, Comedienne’.

It is believed she was an American musical performer who featured in the Broadway shows ‘Red Feather’ and ‘The Big Little Princess’ in 1903.

Now staff at the museum are trying to find out why she might have visited Bankfield and whether she performed in the area.

The signatures will eventually be covered up when a new cabinet is put in place, so that they can be preserved.

On 2 August, the new exhibition named ‘For King and Country’ will open running until December 2018, aiming to explore the impact of the war on Calderdale and its people.

Bankfield Museum, located in Boothtown, was opened as a museum and gallery in 1887, and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm. It is free entry.

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