John Plant / Curator’s Diaries

John Plant was the Librarian and curator from his appointment in 1849 until his retirement in Spring 1892.

Plant wrote a number of visitor guides during his time as curator. These contained information about Peel Park and the various galleries in the museum. He gives an outline of the vast range of curios on display in both the South (Victorian) Gallery and throughout the museum along with lists of all paintings exhibited and names of donators. His description of the collections suggests that there were hundreds of items on display and in no particular theme or order. Amongst these was a collection of shoes from around the world. Plant states: ‘A few specimens illustrate the ridiculous fashions of the last century in England, when the feet were cramped and tortured with ill fitting high-heeled boots’ (1859).

As curator of the museum Plant left behind a number of curator’s diaries. As the museum was lit by natural lighting it would be closed on dark days. Each day Plant describes the weather along with how busy the museum was:

2nd January 1865: ‘Fair, heavy snow. First [visitor] at noon. Close at dusk. Good number of visitors.'

Whilst most of the entries in his diary are directly related to the running of the museum, on Saturday 14th December 1861 he writes: ‘death of the Prince Consort 10:50pm’.