A little piece of Newton Abbot’s history has made its way home from Yorkshire thanks to a chance find by a member of the team designing the town’s new museum.
The Madge Mellor cake fork – sometimes known as ‘spork’ thanks to its half-spoon/half-fork hybrid design - was discovered by Helen Mort, Managing Director of Creative Core in Huddersfield.
Just days before she was due to welcome a delegation from Newton Abbot Town Council she had been browsing in a Barnsley antiques shop. Outside was a basket rammed with old cutlery and when Helen took a closer look she spotted the cake fork, embossed with the Madge Mellor logo.
Madge Mellor’s was a much-loved cafe that traded in Queen Street from 1928-1987. It was famed for fabulous home-made cakes and its waitresses’ traditional black and white uniforms.
The find would have meant little to Helen had she not been helping to create a tribute area to the eatery within the Newton’s Place museum and community space project. "I think it needed to find its way home," she told Town Clerk Phil Rowe when presenting the spork to him in Huddersfield.
How the piece of cutlery ended up in Yorkshire is a matter for conjecture, perhaps an illicit memento smuggled out by a satisfied visiting customer.
"We’ll never know the story but it was remarkable that Helen found the spork and only because of her work on Newton’s Place was able to realise its significance and reunite us," said Phil Rowe. "And it only cost £1!"
The slightly grubby item was catalogued and given a clean by the newest member of the Newton Abbot team, part time Museum Assistant Dr Charlotte Dixon who joined in July.
She has been helping volunteers to prepare no fewer than 17,000 artefacts for the move to a new home in the former St Leonard’s Church, Wolborough Street. "It’s been varied and fun, and everyone’s been most welcoming," she said.
"As for the cake fork turning up like it did, it's amazing how it was discovered in Huddersfield by the team designing the new museum."
The photo show Dr Charlotte Dixon about to attack a squidgy cake with the ‘spork’.