Windows on Wycombe in Lockdown

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Together with the rest of the UK, Wycombe Museum went into lockdown on 23 March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Museum staff worked from home to begin with, then most were furloughed. Keeping in touch with our volunteers, one of them suggested we do an exhibition of local experiences of lockdown. This became possible with funding from Arts Council England, and we appealed for photos of lockdown through social media.

The images we received divided into sections, reflecting the main themes of lockdown:

Staying Home
Supporting the NHS
Making and Growing
Connecting Remotely
Once a Day Outdoors
Coming Together Safely
Lifting Lockdown

We hope that you enjoy looking through our Windows on Wycombe in Lockdown.

Staying Home

The Government told us to Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives. During full lockdown, between 23 March and 11 May, we were all only allowed to leave home for limited reasons: shopping for essentials, seeking medical assistance, helping a vulnerable person and once a day for exercise. The photographs in this section show some of the activities that became home-based, including school and work. It also shows some views of very quiet roads in Wycombe district.

'Quiet Skies' by Deirdre White, taken in High Wycombe
"One of the things everyone has mentioned is being able hear the birdsong so clearly during lockdown."
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Supporting the NHS

Staying at home protected the NHS from being overwhelmed as well as protecting individuals. The photographs in this section show some of the other ways in which people supported the NHS.  

By Tony Green, taken in High Wycombe
"For a couple of Thursday evenings the Wycombe Arts Centre was illuminated to recognise and thank the NHS workers. The old church made a stunning backdrop and message board."
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Making and Growing

Art, crafts, gardening and baking helped many of us pass the time spent at home. These photos show examples of lockdown creativity from giant jigsaws to miniature houses.

By Elly Crawley, taken in High Wycombe
Kingsley in the garden with Shannon. "We have to stay at home because of the Big Germ."
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Connecting Remotely

Online meetings became the main way of socialising for many of us. For those not online, the phone became more important than ever. One of our volunteers told us she was working her way through her address book, connecting with people she hadn’t spoken to in 10 years or more. These photos show just a few of the ways we connected remotely.

By Hilary Payne, taken in Downley
"A modern lockdown childhood. My daughter is playing with Lego and on my phone screen is her friend Dorothea, who lives two doors down, also playing with her Lego. They seemed to chat occasionally but otherwise just worked quietly with each other."
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Once a Day Outdoors

During full lockdown we could only go outdoors for exercise once per day. As individuals, our walks and horizons were now very limited, but these photos show a range of views and scenes from across Wycombe district.

By Della Fitzgerald, taken in Marlow Bottom
The Dinosaur that Cheered Me Up
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Coming Together Safely

Mothers’ Day, Easter and Eid were all celebrated remotely this year, as was the 75th anniversary of VE Day, and a large number of birthdays. As lockdown lifted slightly, many of us could come together at a safe distance for celebrations and for a peaceful and safe Black Lives Matter protest in Marlow.

By Hilary Payne, taken in White Close, Downley
"I took this and was pleased to see it had all the elements of a lockdown party: the unnatural spaced-out stances of my husband and our neighbours. The box of free plants for people to take home. The ubiquitous bunting. Our social distanced picnic tables. The three balloons of orange, white and green were to represent my Irish husband, the more traditional red, white and blue are out of shot."
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Lifting Lockdown

Lockdown restrictions began to be lifted in stages from 11 May. Gradually, we were able to meet with other households. Some school year groups returned in early June, and pubs and hairdressers opened from 4 July. Wycombe Museum remains closed for the rest of summer 2020 as social distancing is not possible in our historic building, but our gardens are open on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays throughout the summer.

The Arts Council England funding has also enabled us to open a pop-up display in Eden shopping centre for summer 2020.

By June Forbes, taken in High Wycombe
"The New Normal for my customers as of 4th July."
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Tell us what you thought


Our thanks to:

Everyone who submitted photographs and captions
Deirdre White, whose idea this exhibition was
Arts Council England