The unique Amy Johnson collection at Sewerby Hall and Gardens near Bridlington has acquired two new items which are now on display to the public, after being donated to the collection. In addition, one of the volunteers at the Hall has also created an exact replica of the 1930s flying suit which Amy wore, and that is also now on display.
The first new item is a letter sent by Amy from her suite at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, dated 21 August, 1930, to Miss D Harris of Borstal, Rochester, Kent, who had sent Amy her congratulations after the record breaking flight to Australia in May of that year. The letter is signed by Amy herself, though it is possible that it was typed by a secretary, given the huge volume of fan mail she was receiving at the time.
The other new acquisition is a photograph of Amy at a civic engagement, accompanied by the local Mayor, Councillor J. E Smith, JP. It is thought that the occasion was a civic reception at Portsmouth Guildhall on 4 September,1930, where a crowd of over 10,000 people had gathered. After the reception, Amy went on to Fratton Park football ground where she kicked off the match between Portsmouth and Gosport Schoolboys.
Sewerby Hall and Gardens was opened by the legendary aviatrix herself in 1936, and now houses the country's largest collection of memorabilia and items about her life and career. There are two rooms dedicated to the collection, which includes costumes, letters, documents, maps, a travel bag – and much more besides, as well as a short film about her record breaking flight to Australia in 1930.
Volunteer Pat Ferguson has crafted the replica of the flying suit. Pat has volunteered at the house for nearly three years, where she takes on the role of Mrs Lloyd Greame, and gives guided tours and works with school groups. Creating the flying suit has been a labour of love: 'It has been an exciting task as I am interested by the structure of clothing and how the pattern pieces fit together and this was why I took up the challenge. It is an accurate replica, I made the pattern from measurements from the original flying suit. The hardest part was sourcing the fabric!'
Dr David Marchant, museum registrar, added : " The Amy Johnson collection at Sewerby Hall and Gardens is unique in the country, and is always a popular feature of any visit to the venue. I am delighted that we have been able to add these two new items to the collection, and would like to thank our benefactors for them, as well as the new flying suit replica – Pat has done a truly magnificent job!"
Admission charges to Sewerby Hall and Gardens are £7 for adults, £4.90 for children and £22 for a family (two adults and two children).
Annual passes are also available, starting from £12.50, and can be purchased or renewed online or via any pay box.
For further information about the Hall, exhibitions, the café, special events, the zoo, and the gardens, call (01262) 673769 or visit www.sewerbyhall.co.uk