A new treasure trove of local history - Marlborough’s Museum opens its doors to the publicMarlborough Museum, which is in part of The Merchant’s House, opened to the public today (May 18) - for the first time. Clyde Nancarrow, Chairman of the Merchant’s House Trust, said, “This is an exciting day and it’s been a long time coming. We have been collecting exhibits for over 25 years.”
“Marlborough has been without a museum for too long. We look forward to it making a valued contribution to the town and the local area.”
In creating the museum no alterations have been made to the house, which was built in 1653 and was originally the home of silk merchant Thomas Bayly and family
Several hundred exhibits are on display in three main rooms, covering Trades and Business, Marlborough in Wartime, Transportation and Agriculture. There is a fourth room which will be used for special exhibitions.
Among the many treasures on display are the collection of packhorse bells made in the bell foundry in Aldbourne, which existed into the nineteenth century, a collection of wheelwright’s equipment and models of the carts, scouting material, grandfather clocks made locally and a very early Pelham Puppet.
There is also a leaflet from the Ailesbury Hotel, which was situated next to Barclays Bank in the High Street. The leaflet, dating possibly from the 1920’s, shows that breakfast at the hotel cost three shillings, afternoon tea cost one shilling and sixpence and a double room thirteen shillings. The hotel was the first place in Marlborough to have a telephone installed – its number? 'Marlborough 1'.
Marlborough.news was interested to see one of the oldest exhibits on show - a copy of ‘The Marlborough Journal’, dated 1772. This was a national newspaper printed in Marlborough with one of the main articles declaring that on August 18 “The Corn harvest is nearly over in the neighbourhood."
Clyde Nancarrow’s favourite exhibit is the World War 1 propaganda recruitment leaflet which declares, “To the Women of Marlborough – If your Men can’t see their duty, put it to them straight. No Woman likes a ‘Slacker’. Tell him to Join the Volunteers.”
The Museum will be charging a £3 entrance fee for adults only, and the £3 charge will cover further visits over twelve months. It will be open each Friday and Saturday from 10.00 am to 4pm. It will stay open until the end of the year and then close for cleaning and changing the exhibits from January to March.
The museum is run by volunteers and more are needed for two hour shifts. The museum is also looking for more artefacts, especially those to do with sport in Marlborough.
If you would like to volunteer or have artefacts you would like to donate or loan please contact Sophie in the office on 01672 511491 or Clyde Nancarrow on 01672 513489.