Letchworth’s 83-year-old toilet roll flushes out competition at Hertfordshire museum awards

PUBLISHED: 17:10 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:23 11 December 2019

The 83-year-old toilet roll was voted Hertfordshire Object of the Year on Friday. Picture: The Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation

The 83-year-old toilet roll was voted Hertfordshire Object of the Year on Friday. Picture: The Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation


The oldest surviving Letchworth toilet roll has been crowned Object of the Year at the Hertfordshire Association of Museums awards.

The 83-year-old toilet roll - from the Garden City Collection - flushed out stiff competition last Friday, ousting nine other entries to win the public vote.

The success follows a viral social media campaign spearheaded by @MuseumToilets, which tweeted its congratulations last week, hailing the victory as "a great win for this piece of important toilet ephemera."

The vintage roll was manufactured in 1936 by Letchworth chemist E.E Russell, who ran a chemists on Station Road from 1911 - and it is considered to be the oldest surviving toilet roll in Hertfordshire.

Garden City Collection officer Sophie Walter said: "We would really like to thank everyone who voted - we are so pleased you chose to support our quirky entry.

"Thanks also to the local Letchworth company E.E Russell, who's employees crafted this masterpiece, and to the person who rather inexplicably didn't use the item for 73 years before donating it!

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"We hope this victory has given residents a good idea of the sheer scope of items we have at our collection that tell the diverse history of Letchworth, the first Garden City."

In a double win for the Heritage Foundation last Friday, the organisation also scooped the Wellbeing Award in recognition of its Sharing Memories programme.

The Heritage Foundation this year hosted sessions of reminiscence at care homes, day centres, and community groups across Letchworth "to inspire a strong sense of personal worth and identity, by using images and objects to trigger memories and conversations."

A Heritage Foundation spokeswoman said: "Needless to say the team are thrilled to come away with two awards and even more so as it has put the spotlight on the Garden City Collection, which is home to thousands of fascinating objects that tell the story of Letchworth."

The Garden City Collection - on Wilbury Hills Road - is home to a catalogue of over 250,000 historical artefacts charting the history and heritage of Letchworth since its foundation in 1903.

The vintage toilet roll, along with other curated items from the Garden City Collection, is currently on public display at Letchworth's very own micro museum, Museum at One Garden City, which is located just off Broadway gardens.

For more information on the collection and how to visit, go to gardencitycollection.com/home.

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