Yearbook 2018

Photo:Ashwell 1100 Logo

Ashwell 1100 Logo

Photo:Street Party 2017

Street Party 2017

Born in Ashwell

Photo:Street Party 2017

Street Party 2017

Ashwell Yearbook Museum Report 2018

By Peter Greener

Ashwell Village Museum for the Ashwell Yearbook 2018


Ashwell Village Museum was founded in 1930 based on the collection of some schoolboys and is run by volunteers under the control of a board of trustees. Since opening it has continued accruing almost anything that tells the story of Ashwell and its immediate neighbourhood. We have over 15,000 objects, pictures, films, sound recordings and archives all of which need keeping, conserving and cataloguing so we can provide a useful service for Ashwellians and the wide world.


We have several teams of volunteers who keep the museum running and all deserve lots of thanks.  The ‘Friends Association’ organise the opening, front of house facilities and fund-raising events. The ‘Mrs Mops’ clean regularly.  On Monday evenings and Tuesday afternoons we work on regular curatorial chores and encourage research into the many byways of our past. Others come into to work at quiet times or research at home and we also have some students working for their Duke of Edinburgh award who keep us up to the mark on social media.


Please check out our Facebook page and our own website for lots of information and discussion about the people, buildings and events that have shaped the history of Ashwell. Of particular interest for 2018, thanks to the diligent work of a dedicated researcher, is the large amount of information on those who served in WWI.


Many items, that fulfil our accession criteria, are still being generously donated to the museum. This year one of our most poignant has been a collection of silk embroidered post cards that were sent by Alf Goodchild, while he was serving in France during WW1, to his wife and daughter back home in the village. Other interesting and varied additions have been a fine painting of the church by Peter Gilman, a cushion cover by Percy Sheldrick embroidered for the Coronation in 1953 with symbols of the Commonwealth nations, an Ashwell Cricket club cap from the 1990’s, and record books from the British Legion. We were also pleased to accept the coin made to commemorate ‘Ashwell 1100’ made in silver by Keith Gordon and designed by Cathy Felstead.


Another way we joined in these celebrations was by opening free for three days of the national Heritage Open Days festival attracting many new visitors. For Archaeology week we wondered what was the village (or town) like when it was founded so we held an Anglo-Saxon activity afternoon which was greatly enhanced by the model of tenth century Ashwell made at the school by year 5 for the 1100 celebrations.  For the Ashwell Live Advent Calendar our theme was ‘A Marie (Whitby) Christmas’ featuring some of her wonderful pottery crib sets.


This is all very well but in order to keep these events going and the collection in a suitable condition we need a building that will keep out the elements and stand for another 500 years or so. As you may have seen we are having problems with the timber framed structure which is both letting in water and rotting away. As a consequence the Trustees commissioned an intensive building survey and consulted Heritage England. The outcome of this is we have been put on the ‘At Risk’ register which means that although the museum will not fall down instantly if we don’t carry out repairs soon something serious might happen – and the costs will only increase with time.

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