THE laying of a new carpet at a Wolverhampton Museum inadvertently led to the discovery of an unusual link between the popular attraction and a famous American department store.
When Bantock House Museum staff members Helen Steatham and Ross Young were looking through period designs for the new carpet – paid for by the Friends of Bantock House Museum and Park – they stumbled across an archive image showing a shipment of carpet made in the West Midlands bound for Macy's department store in New York.
The picture shows rolls of carpet on the back of wagons owned by Thos Bantock & Co, the haulage company belonging to the Bantock family.
The carpet had been produced by Brintons of Kidderminster, which has been manufacturing carpet in the area since 1783 and was recently tasked with making the new carpet for Bantock House Museum's oak staircase. Helen said: "We are delighted that the Friends group have raised funds for this project and it was fascinating to discover – quite by accident – Bantock House's link to Macy's through Thos Bantock & Co.
"It transported the rolls of carpet from the Brinton factory to Kidderminster railway station on the first leg of their journey to New York. It just goes to show that the Bantock family had a big impact, not just at home but abroad too."
She added: "We looked at a number of period designs for the new carpet, both at the Museum of Carpet in Kidderminster and at Brinton's own archive, and are very pleased with the period design which is a perfect match to the beautiful panelled Arts and Crafts surroundings of the Edwardian entrance hall.
"This is the most recent item that we've been able to buy thanks to the generosity of the Friends of Bantock House Museum and Park.
"In recent years they have enabled us to buy an Arts and Crafts dresser, a music stand and period light fittings to enhance the period displays at Bantock House."