Sheila Graber, whose art will be on show in South Shields, worked on children's TV series Paddington.
Sheila Graber museum wall mural repainted almost 30 years on

Sheila Graber museum wall mural repainted almost 30 years on

Sheila Graber museum wall mural repainted almost 30 years on

Sheila Graber museum wall mural repainted almost 30 years on

Sheila Graber museum wall mural repainted almost 30 years on

Sheila Graber museum wall mural repainted almost 30 years on
Sheila Graber museum wall mural repainted almost 30 years on
  • 2020-02-15 01:00:15 7 days ago
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An artist has recreated a street scene inside a museum, almost 30 years after she first produced it.

Sheila Graber is one of the UK's most celebrated animators, worked on the popular 1970s BBC children's series Paddington and her art has been shown in galleries world-wide.

Her 1991 mural of a local street was a fixture of South Shields Museum until it was covered by another in 2004.

The 79-year-old has now repainted it to coincide with a retrospective of her decades-long career, which opens at the museum in May.

She said it was "interesting" to return to the scene.

"You're bringing the past alive by redoing it, so you're not just looking back, but bringing the past into the present", she said.

Graber began her career teaching after attending art school in Sunderland, and then in 1970 turned to animation, becoming internationally-known for her work on the stop-motion animated series based on Michael Bond's Paddington Bear books.

She has won several major awards from the Royal Television Society, shown her work in the Tate and several other galleries, and has taught all over the world.

In 1998 she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Sunderland for Outstanding services to Education and Art.

When she was first asked to redo the painting she said her first thought was "can I do it, climbing up on things?".

"But the lads here have been great with providing platforms," the artist said.

"In any case it's better than washing the dishes - anything to avoid real work."

In advance of the retrospective, the museum is keen to track down any of Graber's works in private or public ownership, with a view to borrowing or reproduce them for it.

Adam Bell, assistant keeper of history, said: "As a child Sheila was strongly influenced by her visits to South Shields Central Library on Ocean Road, now the museum and art gallery.

"And we'd also like to hear from people who could share any memories, information or anecdotes about South Shields Arts Club and/or the art school."

The exhibition, Sheila from Shields (and her cat), will run from 2 May to 10 October.

All images copyright as stated.

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Sheila Graber museum wall mural repainted almost 30 years on

League of Gentlemen butchers closes after 100 years

League of Gentlemen butchers closes after 100 years

It has been a local shop for generations of local people, but a butchers based in the town used by a legendary TV comedy is closing.

J W Mettrick & Son has been a fixture in Hadfield - the town that doubled up as Royston Vasey in The League of Gentlemen - for more than 100 years.

It has won many awards for its pies, sausages and other "special stuff".

Owner John Mettrick said customers struggling to access the shop was one of the reasons for closing.

"It's been a very, very tough decision, one we've agonised over for at least a couple of years," he said.

"We're just finding the village is becoming more and more residential on the main street, and we don't have any controlled parking outside the shop, so basically people can park there and leave their cars there all day while they're going to Manchester on the train.

"Customers just can't get to us - the footfall's been coming down, and obviously overheads only go one way, and that's up."

Five generations of Mettricks have worked at the butchers, which is still situated on its original site.

Famous in its own right for its produce, the store gained further renown as the setting in the BBC comedy for notorious butcher Hillary Briss, whose addictive and highly immoral "special stuff" was a highly-prized delicacy.

Mr Mettrick said the show - which originally ran for three TV series and - did give the shop "some notoriety" but brought some positive attention to the village.

"We did have visitors from all over the place who would pose at the front of the shop and ask to have their noses Sellotaped up so they could appear as some of the characters," he said.

"I would prefer that shop to be known as the shop as part of a firm that won Britain's best butchers, rather than a one-off TV series."

Loyal customers will still be able to go to its sister store in neighbouring Glossop but Mr Mettrick said it would feel "very emotional" when the Hadfield branch closes on Saturday.

"I think one of the things that's really touched us is the comments from the customers who've shopped there for generations," he said.

"Some of them have moved away from Hadfield and live in other parts of the world, they've sent messages on social media.

"It's like the end of an era in Hadfield."

Oliver Cromwell letter 'familiar to many with mental health issues'

Oliver Cromwell letter 'familiar to many with mental health issues'

A letter in which Oliver Cromwell talks about loneliness would be very familiar to anyone who has had issues with their mental health, a historian has said.

The letter is to be publicly displayed for the first time as part of a £160,000 refurbishment of the Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon.

The 17th Century leader is known to have gone through bouts of depression.

Curator Stuart Orme said the letter provided a "rounded interpretation" of Cromwell.

Cromwell helped the Parliamentarian forces defeat Charles I during the Civil War, which resulted in the monarch being tried and beheaded.

From the late 1620s onwards, he suffered from bouts of "melancholia", as depression was known in the 17th Century.

Extracts from Oliver Cromwell's letter:

"Instead of pittyinge [pitying] you, I can a little bewayle [bewail/bemoan] my selfe, haue [have] I one friend in our societye to whome I can vnbowell [unburden] my selfe..."

"I am left aloane, almost soe, But not forsaken. lend mee one shoulder, Pray for mee."

Mr Orme said: "It seems to be part of his life when things weren't going well for him - pressures which we'd all understand today.

"Nowadays we're talking much more about mental health and we wanted to recognise that - and provide the view to people that it's not just you, here are very famous historical figures who have also had that."

Cromwell: Villain or hero?

The letter - which was written in 1652 to an unknown friend - also helped provide a "more rounded interpretation" than the Victorian image of "dour, stern" Cromwell.

"He could be deeply emotional, was very attached to his family, liked practical jokes - and suffered from mental health," said Mr Orme.

The 7m by 10m (22ft by 32ft) museum is housed in the town's former grammar school, where Cromwell was educated.

He served as an MP for Huntingdon in the Parliament of 1628-9 and for Cambridge in the Long Parliament in 1640.

Mr Orme said his life was "remarkable but also controversial".

"Our job is not to be Cromwell's fan club but to tell his story warts and all," he added.

The museum will reopen on 1 March.