SALISBURY Museum is calling on the community to tell their stores, past and present, about the city or surrounding area.

@pickandmixtsm is an Instagram exhibition developed by the museum to explore the last 800 years of Salisbury and the surrounding area’s history through fascinating objects and with a range of community voices.

The online exhibition features objects ranging from keys lost in Salisbury’s medieval drainage channels to the15th century Salisbury Giant, who led many a parade around the streets of the city at times of national celebration.

Now the museum would like to hear from the local community and to add their voices into the exhibition.

A spoksperson for the museum said: "We already have some lovely community stories and photographs of associated objects that have been sent in by local people – from photographs of school days in the 1930s and 40s, to paintings of Salisbury inspired by Covid-19. But the museum needs more people to get involved."

One submission to the exhibition tells the final part of the story of local man Jim Smith. The museum already had artefacts from Jim Smith’s time during the Second World War. Jim was in the RAF signals and in 1941 was posted out to the Far East where his unit were set to work building radar stations. On 8 March, 1942 Jim, along with thousands of others, was captured and became a Japanese Prisoner of War. Against the odds he survived and following the Japanese surrender, Jim and his fellow prisoners were finally freed. The museum knew Jim had returned home to Salisbury in late 1945 – but did not know much about his later life.

His son Ken sent in several photographs that told the story of his father’s later years – meeting his mother, running a Salisbury shop and developing his artistic flair.

Ke said: “Jim and Mary met three days before the war started. Jim was nineteen and Mary was fifteen. After the war when my Dad was back in Salisbury, he heard that Mary was living in Exmouth and as far as he knew, unattached. With his back pay, Dad had bought a car. Petrol was rationed, but as an ex-POW, he had an allowance. He drove down to Exmouth to see her and the rest is history. They were married in 1947 and moved to Salisbury. This delightful snap was taken of Jim and Mary on their honeymoon in Folkestone in June 1947. Although taken in summer, the picture shows Jim is well wrapped-up in a sweater and a raincoat! This may indicate that he is still adapting to the comparative chill of a British summer after his years in the tropics.”

In 1963 Jim rented a small shop on the corner of Greencroft Street and Salt Lane which became ‘The Little Junk Shop’. It sold a mix of objects from Victorian dinner plates to stuffed animals. Jim had always loved drawing and went on to write and illustrate a series of popular children’s books ‘The Frog Band’ which followed the adventures of a joyously eccentric cast of animal characters. The inspiration behind the musical frogs came from a china set that was for sale in his shop.

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