"A glaring omission" made good - historic Marlborough finally gets its own museum
Marlborough has a Museum. It is in the Merchant's House and it was formally opened on Wednesday (April 18) by Sir John Sykes who was the first - and long serving - chairman of the Merchant's House Trust.
The present Chairman, Clyde Nancarrow, referred to the Museum as having been 'in the planning stage for twenty-seven years'. Attention, he explained, had first had to be given to the restoration of the Merchant's House itself. The building was discovered to be of national significance and will be highlighted in the new edition of the Wiltshire volume of the Pevsner Architectural Guides.
The museum will open to the public on Friday, April 27. Clyde Nancarrow paid tribute to Sylvia and Ian Young whose 'extremely generous cash donation' had made the Museum possible: "Marlborough owes them a debt of gratitude - and always will." The couple were applauded - and glasses were raised to them.
Those assembled in the Town Hall for the opening heard the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, who is a patron of the Merchant's House, welcome the Museum and call the Merchant's House "The most important attraction for miles around...a unique jewel in Marlborough's High Street."
The formal opening was carried out by Sir John Sykes. He had retired as Chairman two years ago and was now the Trust's President - a role, he said, that was "...all glory and no responsibility." And it was Sir John who called the previous lack of a museum in a town so full of history, 'a glaring omission': "This is a very good day for the Trust - and for us all."
The opening was preceded by the annual ceremony at which the Merchant's House Trust pays the Town Council the peppercorn rent it is due - literally a small bag of peppercorns. In the presence of his ceremonial attendants, the Town Clerk and eight town councillors, the Town Mayor, Councillor Mervyn Hall, said that tourism was becoming more and more important to the economy of the town.
The Mayor praised those who had worked on the Museum, worked at the Merchant's House and its volunteers: "Thank you for developing this wonderful asset that we have in the town."
The Museum will be charging a £3 entrance fee for adults only - and the £3 charge will cover further visit over twelve months.
There is more information on the genesis of the Museum in our earlier report.