Week 37: Bromleys at the Museum

Some of you may remember Bromley's Cafe on the Strand. The huge 500-seat restaurant hosted weddings and birthday parties, as well as coach loads of tourists and hungry locals.  It closed down in the 1970s, but thanks to the generosity of Michael Bromley, we are about to reopen a new Bromleys as the Museum Cafe. … Continue reading Week 37: Bromleys at the Museum

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Week 34: Mr.Pooley’s Car

Last September a man turned up at the museum with some great photographs.  His name was Roland Packer and he had recently acquired a little car, for restoration. We were immediately intrigued.  The little car was still on the DVLA database, registered as  "PP Special", the only one of its kind.           … Continue reading Week 34: Mr.Pooley’s Car

Week 32: The Barnstaple Borough Fire Engine (Part 2)

We were devastated that we had failed to bring the engine back in 2006.  We bundled up all the evidence we had of how much Barnstaple wanted it, including letters form schoolchildren and promises of support.  We argued that it should not be in Sussex, and we begged the new owner, Mike Holland to let … Continue reading Week 32: The Barnstaple Borough Fire Engine (Part 2)

Week 31: The Barnstaple Borough Fire Engine (part 1)

It seems an age ago now, but back in February we achieved something which has been rumbling on for nearly 20 years.  The Fire Engine bought by Barnstaple Borough in 1914 finally came home to the town.  We are incredibly excited that we will be be to display it in our new 20th Century Social … Continue reading Week 31: The Barnstaple Borough Fire Engine (part 1)

Week 30: The Elephant in the Room

For the last 10 years, there has been a large willow and paper elephant suspended in the museum entrance hall.  The Barnstaple Elephant, discovered in a clay pit in Summerland Street in 1844, has become an important part of the museum's identity.  The carnival version has provided a friendly welcome to the museum to thousands … Continue reading Week 30: The Elephant in the Room

Week 26: Every object tells a story

Our museum holds many thousands of objects, but only a small proportion can be displayed.  Space is always short, and even those things which are "out" can easily be missed by visitors.  We cannot explain all the details of each item's story in the small number of words available on a label or graphics panel. … Continue reading Week 26: Every object tells a story

Week 25: Christmas at the Museum

It's been a slightly odd Christmas, with no museum to close up for the holidays.  Ever since 2007, when the Square was redesigned, the town Christmas Tree and the Christmas Lights have been a focus for celebration.  Next year we will be joining in making Christmas a great event, with the Christmas Lights switch on … Continue reading Week 25: Christmas at the Museum

Week 23: Bertie Burrington

As the centenary commemorations for the First World War draw to a close, I thought it would be interesting to look at an ordinary Barnstaple man whose records we have here in the museum.  Bertie Burrington wasn't a hero, and he wasn't one of the thousands who gave their lives in the Great War, but … Continue reading Week 23: Bertie Burrington

Week 18: Looking back to 1963

Now that the building is taking shape, I thought it would be interesting to remind you all of the history of our site.  When we were applying for planning permission for the extension, we had to discuss the options with Historic England and our Conservation Officer, because we were not only affecting a Grade II … Continue reading Week 18: Looking back to 1963

Week 17: On Hillforts and other community projects…

Last week, on the same day that work started on the steel for our new extension, I attended North Devon Archaeological Society's latest talk.  The subject was "Iron Age Devon and its Hillforts".  The Speaker was Henrietta Quinnell, Honorary Fellow of the University of Exeter and acknowledged doyenne of all things prehistoric in the South West … Continue reading Week 17: On Hillforts and other community projects…