STAFF and volunteers at Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life have been asked to pick out their favourite objects in the museum as part of a new project.

The museum has put up signs highlighting the favourites selected – and the people responsible for picking them out have been explaining their selections.

Museum education and outreach officer Holly Jarrett picked a blue and white decorated toilet.

She said: “It is so beautifully decorated – for me this sums up the Victorian obsession with beauty and design – even on the most mundane of objects.

“It is also part of the very important story of how sanitation improved the lives of people in the Victorian era.

“Without Thomas Crapper popularising the flush toilet, we may well still be living in an age of cholera, dysentery, typhus and typhoid fever.”

Museum director Pippa Griffith picked the staircase from Bampton House.

She said: “Not exactly a favourite but one that I use many times a day and which is so easily overlooked.

“Many people do not realise that this staircase is not part of the old school building but from Bampton House, home of the Enchmarch family, who were cloth merchants.

“Thomas Enchmarch died in 1735 leaving his widow Sarah to run the business. As well as looking after their ten children, Sarah managed the family business for another 25 years.

“She sent spies to Norwich to discover the latest techniques used there and employed a large workforce of 200 people making new varieties of cloth.

“This enterprising lady toured the town in a sedan chair and re-built the Enchmarch mansion in 1749. Bampton House became a garage before it was demolished in the 1960s.

“The site of the house is featured in the Civic Society’s Merchant Trail.

“Sadly, we don’t have Sarah’s sedan chair but I do try to think of her sometimes as I use her stairs.”