Goodison Egyptology collection at The Atkinson, Southport

A coffin lid fron Thebes (modern-day Luxor) from the late 25th or early 26th dynasty. Circa 700- 650

A coffin lid fron Thebes (modern-day Luxor) from the late 25th or early 26th dynasty. Circa 700- 650 BC. - Credit: Archant

After 40 years in storage a fascinating collection of Egyptology has a new home in Southport, as Paul Mackenzie reports

Museum Gallery Officers, Jane Brown and Nicola Euston, inspecting a mummy of NES-AMUN

Museum Gallery Officers, Jane Brown and Nicola Euston, inspecting a mummy of NES-AMUN - Credit: Archant

Southport is famous for its endless beach but sands a little further afield were more appealing to Anne Goodison. And the treasures she found on her visits to Egypt – along with many more artefacts she bought to supplement her collection – are now on show for the first time in 40 years.

Mrs Goodison’s Egyptology collection has been in storage since 1974 when the Bootle Free Museum and Art Gallery closed but has now been given a new home in a purpose built interactive gallery space at The Atkinson, Southport.

Around 200 objects – including pottery, amulets, figurines, jewellery, shoes, children’s toys and moulds dating from 3,000 BC to 200 AD - will be on display at any one time and will give a taste of life in ancient Egypt.

The artefacts were collected by Mrs Goodison in the late 1800s and were originally displayed in a museum room in her home at Waterloo in Crosby. In the 1860s she married George Goodison, an engineer who planned the sewage system in the Walton area of Liverpool so well that a road at the centre of the new development was named in his honour. And when Everton Football Club built their new ground on that road it too took his name.

Egyptian winged heart scarab

Egyptian winged heart scarab - Credit: Simon Critchley

Shortly after their marriage the couple moved to Coniston where they were neighbours of social reformer John Ruskin but by the time Anne died in 1906 they had a house in Gloucestershire.

Jo Chamberlain is the Documentation Officer at The Atkinson and has researched Anne Goodison’s life and collection. She said: ‘As soon as his wife died he tried to sell her collection to the museum but they couldn’t afford it and needed help from a local man called Thomas Davies to pay for it.

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‘The people around this collection seem to have always done the right thing. When Mr Davies donated it to the museum, they didn’t put it on display straight away but spent an age going through the collection and cataloguing it. We have the cards they used to write about the items – they are a museum object in their own right now, but they are also a fantastic reference.’

And Jo, who has worked at the museum since 2008, added: ‘Anne Goodison is a local lady that I think people should be proud of. I think she must have been quite a character and what is really wonderful is that she seems to have had a great eye and chose some really great things, not just pretty, shiny things.

‘Because these 1000 pieces have not been on display for so long, and have just been in storage boxes, they have not been moved about and handled and they are in really good condition.

‘There are items in the Goodison collection which are in other Egyptology collections – the paddle dolls, for instance. They were fertility dolls which looked like wooden spoons with hair and in most museums they have lost their hair but we have got three which still have their hair.

‘The heart scarabs in most museums have lost their wings but our has its wings intact. Mrs Goodison was obviously picking the best pieces and they have been treated well over the years, by her, then by the museum at Bootle and then they have been protected in storage.’

* Entry to The Atkinson is free. For more information and opening times, go to or call 01704 533333.