Ramsey Museum column:

The first minutes of the New Ramsey Rural Museum on the 9th January 1978

The first minutes of the New Ramsey Rural Museum on the 9th January 1978 - Credit: Archant

The last month has feverish activity at the museum preparing for the closed season work. As you will all know, the Museum opens from Easter to the end of

Stable block and Cart shed in 2016

Stable block and Cart shed in 2016 - Credit: Archant

October each year. As soon as the doors close the volunteers don’t get a rest other than Christmas week ! Also, whilst the period from 1 November to Easter the next year sounds like a long time, as we are only able to have sufficient volunteers on Thursdays that only 21 days of available days to get everything completed.

This year we plan to undertake a deep clean of all the internal display areas of the Museum. That means removing all the artefacts and finding a safe home for them. Moving furniture, cleaning and possibly some decoration, then reversing the whole process and putting everything back. Not a quick or easy job. Yes, you can feel sorry for us or, of course, you could come and help. Even for a few hours, maybe whilst the kids are at school, all help will be welcome with tea and coffee and a sociable atmosphere to boot.

Our next and last event of the year is the Winter Food and Craft Fair on the 29th October. So come along and maybe you will find that elusive Christmas or Birthday present and some excellent food for the festivities.

In 2018 the Museum has two events to celebrate. It marks the 30th anniversary of our opening to the public and of gaining our charitable status, plus its also the 40th anniversary of the inauguration of the Museum and it was officially opened on the 25th May 1988 by Sybil Marshall, a celebrated local author of books about life in the Fens. The opening was the culmination of nine years hard work by a dedicated group of volunteers.

Stable block and Cart shed prior to restoration work

Stable block and Cart shed prior to restoration work - Credit: Archant

The museum was the brainchild of the Reverent Robert Gwynn, a local curate, who together with the Reverent Jones of Ramsey and Marshall Papworth, a local farmer were convinced that not only should an effort be made to collect and preserve the many artefacts associated with the rural history of the Ramsey area before they were lost forever but that the setting up of a Rural Museum at Ramsey would be an asset to the town and the surrounding community.

In 1977 a meeting, attended by businessmen, farmers and local people, was held to discuss the project and a committee and board of trustees appointed.

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The Honourable John Fellowes (now Lord de Ramsey) who keenly supported the project, offered a site in Hassock Meadow, on the northern edge of the town where the Ramsey Rural Museum now stands. The site was leased from Ramsey Estates at a peppercorn rent for a period of twenty five years. This was later extended to fifty years. The buildings on the site were formerly the estate wood-yard although it is thought that the buildings date back to between 1675 and 1700. Subsequently Marshall Papworth also donated several buildings, including the ‘Whitehall Barn’, that had originally formed part of the farm and stock yard at ‘Whitehall’ farm, Upwood. These were carefully dismantled and re-erected at the Museum.

More to come next year about our celebrations keep your eyes open.

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