Yearbook 2019

Photo:Dea Senuna

Dea Senuna

Book Cover

Museum report in the Ashwell Yearbook 2019

By Peter Greener

Ashwell Village Museum was founded in 1930 based on the collection of several schoolboys and is run by volunteers under the control of a board of trustees. Since opening we have cared for the collection and kept the building from deterioration by patching up as best we could to the standards of the time. However we have now reached a critical period where we need major restoration to keep the old building from deteriorating further and allow us to preserve it and the collection for future generations. The building has been added to the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ register which bestows national recognition of its heritage value.


The work called for does not, of course, come cheap and a major fund-raising exercise has begun which I am glad to say that all our supporters have joined in with gusto. The renovation involves checking every timber for rot and replacing all the infill with lime plaster that will allow the timber to breath. That side of things we can leave to the craftsmen but for the museum it means we will have to close the old building for and clear the contents to a safe place. During the works we intend to keep the new galleries open and show a representative part of the collection.


Meanwhile work goes on as usual with the help of all our volunteers. The Friends, the cleaners, the curators, conservers and the Duke of Edinburgh Award participants. The work achieved by all the helpers means we have a much deeper presence in the community than would be otherwise possible. Not only do we collect and care for the history of the village but we have the opportunity to research, expand and promote the depths of our knowledge.


Outside activities have included the very successful launch, we filled the church, of the British Museum’s Dea Senuna book about our Roman goddess and the ritual sites in Ashwell, a stall at the Ashwell show, and extra Heritage Open Days.


Our web presence continues with regular posts on Facebook and in the long term a mass of information on our community archive website. Of most relevance to 2018 are the accounts of the lives of all those who served in WW1 which has involved an immense amount of research by Lynette Wray.


For Ashwell at Home we put up plaques on many soldiers houses to show the extent of the effect of the terrible war. In the museum we had displays on anniversaries of WW1 (and Walter Sale), The Cottage Garden and Women’s Suffrage.


This has been a year of document donations with many old School records and magazines, little books of poems by Thomas Wylie, the deliberations of the Jubilee celebration committee, but we have also had a cutlery christening set, a Coronation Commemoration spoon given to all children in the village and two flags from the Ashwell Girls Brigade.



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