Cats' eyes inventor to be featured in project by BBC

Andrew Robinson

A HALIFAX man’s world-changing invention is to feature in a BBC project telling the history of West Yorkshire and its place in the world through historic objects.

Percy Shaw’s Cat’s Eyes at Bankfield Museum, Halifax, is one of 10 objects chosen to represent West Yorkshire as part of the wider A History of the World project formed out of a partnership between the BBC, the British Museum and 350 museums and institutions across the country.

The project includes a series on BBC Radio 4, A History of the World in 100 Objects, broadcast from today.

The series, written and presented by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, will feature 100 objects from the British Museum’s collection.

Percy Shaw’s Cat’s Eyes will be part of the project as one of 10 museum objects on the BBC West Yorkshire site telling the story of the region.

The list can be seen at and all the objects are on display at the relevant museums.

BBC listeners and viewers will be asked to suggest further objects and can participate by uploading photographs of their own objects that have a local or global appeal.

At the end of February it is hoped that each BBC local website will have an additional “People’s 10 Objects” telling the history of their region and its global connections.

Percy Shaw invented reflecting roadstuds after realising that he had used the reflection from his headlights on tramlines as he made his way from Queensbury to his home in Boothtown, Halifax.

BBC Project manager for the Nations and English Regions, Seamus Boyd, said: “A truly fascinating range of objects has been chosen for each list across English regions.

“Some of them may have great monetary value, others little or none, but they’re priceless in how they bring to life moments from history.

“This initial collection is just the blueprint to which we hope viewers and listeners will add their own objects and help to create a truly unique and vibrant tapestry of the past.”

Bankfield Museum, Akroyd Park, Boothtown Road, Halifax, is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm and Sundays, 1pm to 4pm.