The Great Bed of Ware
The Great Bed of Ware, which has been on display at the V&A Museum since 1931, is currently en route to a new temporary home at Ware Museum where it will remain for the next year.
Six V&A experts took almost a week to dismantle the bed into 40 components, and it will take them a further nine days to install the bed in its new home and ‘dress’ it for display.
The bed itself dates from around 1590 and is believed to have been created as a tourist attraction for travellers on the pilgrim route from London to Walsingham, and those on their way from London to Cambridge University.
The great bed, which measures over three metres wide, has seen much activity in its long history: the London Chronicle on 4 July 1765 tells a story of how 26 butchers and their wives had slept in the bed for a wager for one night in 1689, and the bed is even mentioned in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
The Great Bed of Ware will be on display at Ware Museum from 6 April 2012. Visit the Ware Museum website for more information.
BBC History Magazine's David Musgrove went to see the bed before its journey north, and spoke to Kate Hay, curator in the department of furniture, textiles and fashion at the V&A museum, about its history. You can hear the interview on this week's podcast: www.historyextra.com/podcast-page