Tyne & Wear

Coronavirus: South Shields Museum appeals for hair clippings

Plaits of hair from Catherine Cookson Image copyright South Tyneside Museum
Image caption Catherine Cookson's plaits may date from her late teenage years, the museum suggests

A museum is appealing for people's hair following their first trim since the coronavirus lockdown was eased in England.

Hairdressers are among the businesses that have reopened after having been closed since March.

South Shields Museum is asking people to provide before-and-after photographs as well as the clippings.

Among the museum's existing collection of hair cuttings are plaits that once belonged to author Catherine Cookson.

Adam Bell, assistant keeper of social history, said donations would form part of the museum's pandemic collection and used in future displays documenting life amid the outbreak.

'Building a story'

"We wanted to do something a little bit different," he said.

"The pandemic is a major world event and probably the biggest thing to have had to face since the Second World War.

"We've been collecting materials that might be considered the usual suspects, such as rainbow pictures and items of PPE, but we want to represent the other things that people have missed during the last three-and-a-half months.

"One of those things is haircuts. People have not been able to get a trim and so there will quite a bit of hair coming off.

"It also helps build up a story. We can ask how that person has found lockdown."

Mr Bell said "many museums" hold examples of hair with Victorian mourning jewellery often including a lock as a memento.

It was also gifted plaits following the death of the South Shields writer Catherine Cookson in 1998.

People in South Tyneside who would like to take part are asked to check the museum's website for further details and must contact Mr Bell for details of what is required before sending any hair.

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