Project Description

Invented by Leo Baekeland, Bakelite was an innovative early plastic used to create all sorts of consumer goods; it will have been in every household. But it also had excellent electrical insulating properties and so was developed in the early nineteenth century to supply the mining industry. When Cultura acquired the Eagle Building in Sunderland from Fairgrieve Mouldings, it was discovered to have been one of the first three places in Britain where Bakelite had been moulded. Cultura therefore also acquired presses, moulds, tools and archives, which then were loaned to the Bakelite Museum in Somerset, which already had one of the most extensive collections in Europe. When a lease ended, the museum had to close, so the collections were put into storage. With Culture Recovery Fund support during the pandemic, Cultura helped set up The Bakelite Design Trust, a charity dedicated to securing the future of the collections for education, training in conservation and establish a new museum.