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Prisoners’ lot brought back to life in mural at Wymondham Heritage Museum

01 September, 2017 - 09:16
Hilary Schuter at work on the mural at the the Bridewell, a former women's gaol which now houses Wymondham Heritage Museum. Picture: Wymondham Heritage Museum

Hilary Schuter at work on the mural at the the Bridewell, a former women's gaol which now houses Wymondham Heritage Museum. Picture: Wymondham Heritage Museum

Archant

Women once laboured there for hours on end, washing and drying clothes in conditions that can truly be called ‘Victorian’.

Hilary Schuter's mural at the the Bridewell, a former women's gaol which now houses Wymondham Heritage Museum. Picture: Wymondham Heritage MuseumHilary Schuter's mural at the the Bridewell, a former women's gaol which now houses Wymondham Heritage Museum. Picture: Wymondham Heritage Museum

And now a fascinating aspect of Wymondham Heritage Museum’s past as a women’s prison has been brought back to life in vivid detail thanks to a mural produced by artist and retired nurse Hilary Shuter.

Mrs Schuter spent 123 hours painting the mural, depicting washerwomen at the Bridewell - the building and former Victorian prison which houses the museum.

Mrs Shuter, who is also a volunteer steward at the museum, said: “I had the germ of an idea of the laundry on holiday. I found pictures of Victorian laundries and did a small work-up.

“I started with an A4 sketch. I just held it and drew on the wall with chalk.

Wymondham Heritage Museum is now open for the 2017 season.
A new mural painted by Hilary Shuter is on dispaly in the museum.
PHOTO: Nick ButcherWymondham Heritage Museum is now open for the 2017 season. A new mural painted by Hilary Shuter is on dispaly in the museum. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

“I did outlines then painted the figures. I left the faces and flesh until last because it scared me.”

Mrs Schuter used clever perspective to paint the scene lined with laundry baskets, stretching around a corner.

“I wanted to push the viewer’s eye on through to the prison where they brought the baskets in.”

The museum is open Monday to Saturday 10am-4pm and 1pm-4pm on Sunday.

Wymondham Heritage Museum is now open for the 2017 season.
A new mural painted by Hilary Shuter is on dispaly in the museum.
PHOTO: Nick ButcherWymondham Heritage Museum is now open for the 2017 season. A new mural painted by Hilary Shuter is on dispaly in the museum. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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