This stool from the Worcester City museum collection was made from a root of the Royal Oak in 1832, an English oak tree with a famous tale.
The story goes that after Charles II fled from the Battle of Worcester in 1651, he hid in an oak tree at Boscobel House in Shropshire. Parliamentarian soldiers passed under the branches but somehow he avoided capture and eventually escaped to France.
When Charles returned to the throne on 29 May 1660, it was declared a holiday called Oak Apple Day. The Royal Oak was celebrated until so many parts were taken to make souvenirs like this one that the original tree was destroyed, although its descendants live on.
The enduring popularity of this story led to the ‘Royal Oak’ being the third most popular pub name in Britain today, with at least 6 Royal Oak pubs in Worcestershire.
The model beer engine was made by William Stokoe (whose granddaughter-in-law donated it to the Worcester City museum collection in 2001) a water engineer working around Worcester circa 1900, and is thought to be an apprentice piece made by Mr. Stokoe during his training. The beer engine is believed to be a miniature copy of the type of pumps used to raise beer from the barrel to the glass in a traditional public house.
The beer engine has a wooden case decorated with floral marquetry. Inside the lower case are four working brass valves connected by rods to four working levers on the curved upper section of the case. The valves are also connected to four taps on the front of the model; below the taps is a lead lined sink with a small drainage hole. Access to the lower case and the drain is via a small door on the case front.