This is a shell basket – a basket used for protecting artillery shells during the First World War. It is a long, funnel-shaped basket made of whole and split cane, with bands of willow. It has four wooden supports and leather stitched around the rim at the wider end. The narrower end has burn marks on it.
1 shell basket: willow; wood; leather
MERL ‘Stakeholders’ recording form, December 2013 – Object number: 90/43 // Name of recorder: Mary Butcher and Maggie Smith // General construction method: Stake and strand // Overall shape: Long narrow tube, narrower at start (which is missing) // Materials: Whole cane, stakes whole, weaving material split. Bands of willow. Wooden supports. // Base: No base left. // Sides: Starts with 15 stakes. Weaving is randing. Occasionally over 2 near start, otherwise over 1 under 1. Maybe started with less than 15 stakes (evidence of slyped stakes possibly added). 3.5cm band of 3-rod wale in willow 8.5cm from base narrow end. Also willow 3-rod wale under leather covering. Willow used to hold wooden supports, which are tapered from c. 1cm down to fit under waling, and then each support is tapered in thickness but not in width. Not all supports the same thickness. Thin ends of wooden supports is held by the band of willow weaving below leather. 3rd willow band, 5cm above willow band that holds thick part of wood, but going under wood. Willow bands give ridges on inside, probably the nature of the weave rather than functional. // Border: Possibly trac border under leather. // Handles: None // Lid: None // Dimensions: Wide end 12cm (outside measurement), 10cm (inside measurement. Narrow end 6cm (outside measurement), 5.5 cm (inside measurement). // Anything else to note about this particular basket: There is a good photo of a pile of shell baskets in the Illustrated London News of (?)1916, not sure which volume. // Anything else to note about this type of basket: –, MERL 'Handwritten accession' form (Institute of Agricultural History) – 'Recorder: JMB // Date: 19.6.91 // Description: Tubular basket made of woven willow with 4 wooden supports at the sides. A piece of leather is stitched round the rim at the wider end. The smaller pointed end has burn marks on it. // Dimensions: Length: 76.0 cm // Diameter at base: 13.0 cm // Associated information: This basket was unidentified until a similar one was noticed among baskets at the Dryad collection in Leicester. It is a type of basket made to protect military shells during the First World War. It was made at Dryads. For more information about this object, see acc. no. 76/217.’, This object was found unaccessioned in the Museum of English Rural Life. It is possible that it is the same object as 76/217 and has been double-accessioned., MERL Adlib description for 76/217 - 'This basket was found by the donor in a field near Wokingham, Berkshire. It is a long, funnel-shaped basket made of wood and willow with leather around the rim of the wider end. It was initially identified by the museum as an umbrella basket - a basket designed to be strapped to a horse-drawn trap or carriage, or to a pram, to carry umbrellas. It has since been identified as a shell basket - a basket used for protecting artillery shells during the First World War.'
1914 - 1918
First World War