Yearbook 2012

Ashwell yearbook 2012 museum report

By Peter Greener

Ashwell Village Museum for the Ashwell Yearbook 2012

Att: image of Ashwell and Morden Station LNER running in board.



2011 has been a year of consolidation for the museum. The Resource Centre has inspired much research and has been made more user-friendly. The team of volunteers has been busy collecting and annotating a large amount of data about the village. We have produced a guide to all the material that is available for research. These include a complete run of the ‘Yearbook’, Most of the ‘Village News’, notes by local historians, Parish registers and census returns, fascinating newspaper cuttings, and many maps and books on Ashwell and the surrounding area.


You can see this guide on our community archive website: . Publishing village history on-line is a good way of bringing the information to a wider public and then getting helpful feedback. The United Reformed Church has provided a lot of  interesting history and photographs. Another new category is ‘Shops’ – we are bringing together everything we can find about old shops in the village. Please look on the website and add your memories. Eventually we will produce a little guided walk like the Historical Pub Crawl.


You can also access and search our museum catalogue on line. The most popular search is through the 4,500 old photographs. Are you in there? The museum objects as yet do not have an associated image but we do have a project underway to photograph everything in the museum – there is an opportunity for photographers to help out here!


Another new project set up under the museum’s wing that will become a great addition to the local history of the area is the Buildings of Ashwell Group (BOAG). At first this will be just collecting data but more specific topics either about the whole parish or just one or two buildings will soon come forward.


When I first became curator of the museum it was almost a policy that we would never buy anything - we would only rely on donations. However in recent years we have had to change this as several items that ‘we cannot afford to miss’ have come on the market. Some of these have been offered to us directly. For instance when metal detector finds have been declared Treasure. Others have been for public sale in galleries and we have been made aware of their existence.  

In August Bridget Long alerted us to the fact that an old sign for Ashwell and Morden station was being sold by Bonhams in a sale at their auction house in Knowle, Warwickshire. The estimate seemed very reasonable and we had a very generous donation towards the cost so it seemed a good idea to go for it. When the time for our lot came, there was only one other bidder, who I think was a dealer and we managed to purchase it for a hammer price of £180, although with buyers premium and VAT the total came to £234. We are now the proud possessors of a 6ft x 2ft blue enamel LNER running-in board for Ashwell and Morden Station. It will be cleaned, suppoted and framed ready to be hung on the wall.


Of course we have also had many unexpected donations throughout the year. These include: A floral designed sampler and two chairs from the Rectory which were covered by Percy Sheldrick. A wealth of photographs from an Ashwell family and even more from the old Royston Crow archives. A green and yellow Ashwell Football Club shirt that was never used. School exercise books, nearly 200 years old, from a pupil in Guilden Morden.


Yet again I would like to thank everyone who has had a hand in making the museum what it is today. The trustees, the curatorial and research volunteers, the Friends association, and the cleaning team all of whom form the heart of the museum and keep it running throughout the year. There are work groups on Monday evenings and Thursday afternoons when we document, display and preserve the collection. If you drop in on ‘Second Thursdays’ we will explain museum matters, discuss village history, try to answer your questions and you may even get a cup of tea.


It takes all sorts of skills to run the museum to modern standards and we have room for many roles to be filled. It is your history in your museum.


Peter Greener

Honorary Curator

Ashwell 742956

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