Museum of Melancholy


Noun: a deep, pensive and long lasting sadness.
Adjective: Sad, gloomy or depressed
Synonyms:  noun: sadness – melancholia – gloom – sorrow - dejection 
                        adjective: sad – gloomy – melancholic- mournful – dismal

The Museum of Melancholy focuses on the social, cultural and mercantile history of the local area and beyond and includes a growing collection of objects and related ephemera. Although a fictional institution the museum mirrors the functions of real-world museums and galleries and has in place a range of policies and programmes to support its development; acquisitions budget, permanent collection and a proposed museum development programme all feature. 
At present a specific part of the MOM collection focuses on sports trophies, donated, discarded, purchased and acquired locally. All of the trophies are for runner up, 3rd place, most injured player etc. there are no winning trophies in the collection, they are lost and discarded objects previously a symbol of participation and achievement. 
Taking the notion of melancholy as a jumping in point the museums collection of objects at first appears sad but on closer investigation it says something important about the achievements, joys and happiness of the human condition.

     The proposed development                 Animation of development                         The main collection


Deptford X / Podia
The most important thing..
Podium: a platform to raise a speaker, or for winning athletes to stand on to receive their medals. First used in the Olympics in 1932. 
We will construct an exact scale replica of the 1932 Olympic podium; it will be a simple wooden structure the same as the original. 2012 will be the 80th anniversary of the first Olympic podium and to celebrate this we would work with oak in the construction of our replica, as this is the traditional UK symbol for an 80th anniversary. We have recycled the wood from a 1930's Grandfather Clock found in a junk market within the original Deptford boundary that existed in 1932. The size of the podium will be appropriately scaled to the trophies that will sit on the top of it (approx 10-12 inches per trophy)

                Original podium                                               Vitrine                                               Tug of war trophies

On each level of the platform of the podium will be 1 of 3 of the MOM trophies depicting a single player in a tug of war. The podium will be fixed to a white wooden plinth and a clear Perspex box will fit over the artwork, on the back wall section of the Perspex box will be a mirrored surface, the tug of war figures will be reflected in the mirror creating the illusion of 2 players per each trophy in the tug of war game. This piece represents the idea that you can't compete alone, or compete against your self. The trophies are single players in a game of tug of war; the mirror shows us 2 players in the game. Tug of war was an Olympic sport from 500BC to 1920.
To accompany the plinth will be a digital publication with the background of the museum and some interesting Olympic podium facts. 

Here are the latest images, the grandfather clock dismantled and the podium it became.

To Lily With Love..

A collection of postcard portraits from 1890 - 1980.




James Peek and George Hender Frean founded the company in 1857. In 1861, they started exporting biscuits to Australia and later to other overseas destinations. They moved to a larger plant in Bermondsey in 1866 where they continued baking until 1989. In 1861, they introduced the Garibaldi biscuit. In 1910, the company introduced their first cream sandwich biscuit, now known as a Bourbon biscuit, and in 1924 they established their first factory outside the UK, in Dum Dum, India, 1949 saw the establishment of their first bakery in Canada. The bakery, which is in East York, Ontario, is still in production, the Bermondsey factory closed in 1989 and is now known as the Biscuit Factory.

For one day only The Museum of Melancholy brings back to life the Peak Freans Club and a limited edition Pickaxe journal.

The company was a pioneer in supplying medical, dental and optical services for their work staff. The Peek Frean Club was founded in 1920, its precursors were an athletic club and dramatic society (1908), a musical society (1907) and a cricket club (1868). From October 1904 a house journal called 'The Pickaxe' was given every month to each employee and ceased publication in 1909, but from 1919 to 1937 'The Biscuit Box' publication linked the workers, then numbering 3,000 and ‘P.F. Assorted’ followed it to 4,000 employees.

Lectures for the PFC

The history of the biscuit and the socio economic importance of the factory to the local community.

We hope to work with the Pumphouse Museum as they have a large Peek Freans archive and Museum of Brands. Also related object Crowd sourced from previous employees of Peek Freans. We hope to commission a limited edition Pickaxe Journal for this unique revival of the Peek Freans Club.

Artefacts on display

Biscuit tins, a biscuit display and various Peek Freans memorabilia, a display cabinet with biscuits, explaining each one in detail.

Film screening

A Visit to Peek Frean & Co's Biscuit Works (1906)

This is one of the earliest films that can accurately be described as a structured documentary (although the term wouldn't be coined for many years) as opposed to a simply actuality record of the kind that had dominated British filmmaking over the previous decade. It was commissioned by Peek Freans and made by Cricks and Sharp. The film seeks to illustrate every stage in the biscuit manufacturing process (delivery of raw materials, production of steam, moulding dough, baking biscuits, packaging and distribution), and it does this by concentrating on the physical mechanics: throughout, the focus is largely on the machinery, with the factory workers depicted as small cogs in the overall operation. All this takes place at the Peek Frean factory in Keeton's Road, Bermondsey, which remained in operation until 1989.

The quality of the photography is very striking, an issue that goes beyond the fact that the film has survived in impressive physical condition. The images have great depth of field, whereby objects are in sharp focus regardless of whether they are close to the camera or nearer the far wall. To achieve this, the lens aperture had to be reduced and the light levels increased, the latter achieved by setting up powerful arc lights in the factory. This in itself further distances the film from its actuality predecessors: the shots may look caught on the wing, but they were carefully set up, and all the factory workers must have been well aware of what was going on.

Tea, biscuits, and a biscuit quiz

We will be handing out light refreshments of tea and biscuits during our biscuit quiz.