On hearing the first ……. in spring

BoothSign5To be frank there ain’t much sign of a cuckoo in the snowy wastes of County Durham where one half of TheBigForest has been working but a couple of weeks ago we visited The Booth Museum in Brighton (find out more here x) a Victorian gallery full of stuffed birds and the occasional bear.

It’s impossible to get good photos of the birds in the displays due to reflection, which is disappointing as they are wonderfully Victorian in a slightly melodramatic way, but the thing that really caught our eye were the displays of moths and butterflies and the signs.


The signs…………why? We loved the hand painted lettering and the distressed nature of the paint and the birds names too…from now on one of us  shall be called Ptarmigan when we want to  impress at events.


As we have said before, its easy to laugh or disapprove of the actions of previous generations which we find rather pointless. So we tried to ignore the part of our brain that was screaming ‘oh no’ to the thought of rare birds killed for museum displays and simply accept that in 1882 this was the way things were.  Now, well now, those birds are still frozen in time when so much that was happening at that moment of their life, and death, is lost and forgotten.


About TheBigForest

TheBigForest. A silly artist maker creating in felt and paper construction. Like us on Facebook: TheBigForest. Find us at Twitter : twitter/TheBigForestuk


  1. The signs are wonderful, as are the bird names!
    We have a similar soft spot for Wollaton Hall’s natural history museum in Nottingham. There is a room full of glass cases with birds in and on the walls are the heads of all sorts of buffalo, moose and other unusual – and large – animals, mounted on plaques and gazing sadly out into infinity. There is also a slightly moth-eaten selection of taxidermy big game, including a giraffe, a lion and a gorilla. The kids all especially love the gorilla (mainly because they can all giggle at his willy!).

    • Ah the simply pleasures of childhood – giggling at the gorillas willy! When i was working in Nottingham, Wollerton Hall was recommended to me so we really must go. Our all time favourite is the natural history museum in Dublin. They have a particularly fine bespectacled bear who looks like he been disturbed whilst reading a good book! Amused but slightly tetchy. We are really unsure how they achieved it.

  2. ann perrin

    gosh those butterflies alone are worth a visit x

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