Category Archives: Object of the Month

A New Acquisition




Seventeenth-century cast iron fireback from the Old Customs House, Overgang Steps, Brixham

Mr John Jefferies, Proprietor of Temeraire Antiques (7 New Road, Brixham) recently kindly donated to the Museum a cast iron fireback originating from the Old Customs House, Overgang Steps, Brixham.

The panel is decorated with an inverted fouled anchor with a royal crown above, flanked on either side by the letters “C” and “R”. The letters denote the fireback dates from the time of King Charles I (c.1630s).

When the Museum’s hardworking display team have completed the Maritime Gallery refurbishments (a current major project), this fireback will be installed as a display item for viewing by visitors to the Museum.

The photograph was taken by the Museum photographer John Maule.

Shako plate


Object of the month – highlighting items on display in the museum





During the late 18th and early 19th century British infantrymen wore the regulation ‘stovepipe’ shako, made of strong felt and leather. Fixed to the front of this headdress was an embossed shako plate, bearing either the regimental insignia or the universal pattern of royal cypher and crown.

This shako plate is identified as a rare (possibly the only) surviving example of the type worn by the drum major of the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot.



A Brixham Pound


Object of the month – highlighting items on display in the museum



This banknote was issued by the Brixham Bank in February 1814.

In the left-hand corner is a scene depicting two sailing trawlers with a group of fish in the foreground.

The bank was formed in 1810 and was run by Messrs Hine, Holdsworthy and Pomeroy. It was forced to close in 1824 and Roger Pomeroy was declared bankrupt in 1826.



Object of the Month – Radar Rat


Radar Rat

An interesting exhibit at Brixham Heritage Museum is a mascot named ‘Radar Rat’. This Rat is attired as a Corporal in the WRAF (we thought!) and was carried in the cockpit of a bomber during 30 sorties to Germany in the Second World War.

However, following some publicity in the Herald Express, a gentleman was prompted to do some research, thinking that the women in the Royal Air Force were WAAFS (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) throughout World War II, so that Radar Rat would have been attired as a WAAF Corporal (not WRAF, as we had stated).

His research via the Internet revealed that the Women’s branch was originally formed as the WRAFs between the two World Wars, but reverted to the WAAFs between 1939 and 1949, after which they were re-named WRAFs.

Thus, if Radar Rat was attired pre-1939 she would have been a WRAF, but if attired after war commenced she would have been a WAAF. Who knows?

Whatever her title, she was extremely lucky to survive 30 sorties over Europe!