Museum to display icons of English rural life

The Museum of English Rural Life at Reading is calling on Farmers Weekly readers to help it with a groundbreaking project.

MERL has embarked on a Lottery-funded scheme to buy items reflecting the 20th century countryside and its wider impact on our culture – and it wants your suggestions as to what should be included.

There will be objects from each decade of the century, some of them farm-related and some not, and each piece will have its own story.

MERL’s Roy Brigden says there are some obvious candidates – like the Ferguson tractor – but there are also other items that should be on a list of iconic objects of the 20th century countryside.

“Should we include,” he asks, “an Aga, for example? Or a work of art, maybe? People can think ‘outside the box’ we’re not just looking for sugegstions relating to farm machinery, which may well already be in collections.”

One object that has certainly achieved a much wider influence far beyond its farming roots is the Land Rover, points out Roy.

He’s hoping to buy one, probably from the 1950s, ’60s or ’70s – preferably in authentic as-used condition – as part of this project, so is on the hunt for such a vehicle. Ideally, it will have a “story” attached to it, a vehicle with, perhaps, a record of long service, or a funny or sad tale associated with it, or one that was involved in a significant event.

So, if you have suggestions for which items should be included in the collection, if have a Land Rover that may be suitable, email or comment on our forums

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