Social History

Social History Collection

Of particular significance in the collection are the relics of the ancient guilds of Salisbury, most memorably the Merchant Tailors’ Giant and his companion Hob Nob. Civic objects include items salvaged from the Council House fire in 1780, standard weights and measures and collections of Salisbury-made bells, clocks and watches, silver, guns and cutlery. More recent manufacturing history is represented by a Scout Motor car made in Salisbury in 1912 – one of only two surviving today.

Brass lantern clock
Brass lantern clock by Nicholas Snowe, 1636. Nicholas Snowe was originally from London but worked in Salisbury.
City Standards
A display of local weights and measures including a set of standard capacity brass measures and engraved with the coat of arms of the city of New Sarum.
Giant and Hob-Nob
The Salisbury Giant is a unique survival in this country. It is probable that he existed by the 1400s.
Great Bustards
The four great bustards at The Salisbury Museum were donated by various people between 1871-1919. 
Guild Objects
The merchant guild was a union of merchants formed to protect and regulate trade.
A bronze mortar, cast from the mould of a bell and inverted, the inscription on this mortar reads: 'CLEMENT TOSIEAR CAST ME IN THE YEAR 1717'.
Salisbury Cutlery
The Salisbury cutlery industry, which included the making of weapons, had been present in the city since medieval times.
Salisbury Gunsmithing
Salisbury possessed a flourishing gunsmithing trade in the 1700s and 1800s.
Salisbury Silver
Salisbury was accorded its own 'touch' or plate mark in 1423 but it has never been identified.
Shoehorn engraved and inscribed by Robert Mindun in 1593 depicting a figure in Elizabethan costume.
Sir Walter Alcock’s Engine
A scale model of the 'Patrick Stirling' coal-fired engine made by Sir Walter Alcock, organist at Salisbury Cathedral from 1917 until 1947.
Stumpwork Mirror Frame
This stumpwork, or raised work, mirror frame was reputedly made in Amesbury, c. 1670.