Raindrop to Corporation Pop Online exhibition
Raindrop to Corporation Pop has a very watery feel. This exhibition explores water from the start of its journey in the clouds through all freshwater aquatic environments using objects chosen from across the Gallery’s collection. We have created some audio descriptions of the exhibition – have a listen to learn more about the exhibition and objects on display.
Oldham’s position on the western edge of the Pennines results in a damp climate, the clouds discharge rain as they rise to cross the hills. This made the town an excellent place to spin cotton and was the main reason for the growth of the town in the nineteenth century. The earth has a limited amount of water. That water keeps going around and around in what we call the “Water Cycle”. As the earth’s climate changes our weather patterns have become less predictable and these changes have increased the risks of sea levels rising, floods, droughts and fires in different parts of the world.
Water is an important wildlife habitat be it a puddle, pond, river, reservoir or canal. Without water there would be no life on earth. This was the same for creatures and plants that lived millions of years ago as it is today. Some creatures are uniquely adapted to aquatic life spending their whole or part of their lives entirely submerged, making their homes either in or alongside water.
Ichthyosaurs are an extinct group of aquatic reptiles, very similar to porpoises in appearance and in habits. These animals were distant relatives of lizards and snakes but were not dinosaurs. However, they were around in the Jurassic geological period about 200 million years ago when many dinosaurs lived. Ichthyosaurs were highly specialised carnivores with large eyes which might suggest that they hunted at night or a great depth.
Gallery Oldham’s Ichthyosaur is not complete. Look carefully at the fossil and you can see the ribs and vertebral column and flippers but not the head or the tail. If you look at the painting of the fossil you can see what the whole fossil animal might have looked like.
The first complete Ichthyosaur was found in 1811 in Dorset in the south of England and is probably where this fossil was also found.
Water is our most important natural resource and we use it everyday without really thinking about it. We collect water high in the hills in reservoirs to be there in our homes just when we want it. We use it to wash ourselves and our homes and clothes. We use water as a means of transport on our rivers and canals. We use water in industrial processes; for our gardens and crops and to put out fires!
Water has an attraction to people during their leisure time, either being in it; on it or just being beside it. Water makes us feel calm, relaxed and happy. Fishing, swimming and boating are all very popular pastimes and can be more seriously undertaken as sports and challenges.
Swimming pool notice c.1930 This sign reminds us of trips to ‘the baths’. Until the 1960s, relatively few houses had bathrooms and any washing was likely to be done by hand in the back yard. It was the ‘baths’ that provided hot baths, showers and sometimes public laundries alongside the ever-popular pool for the more fun, water-based activities.