Introducing the Shipston Museum
"I remember when all of this were fields.."
Have you ever wondered about the history of your home and the area you live in? Perhaps your house is where the engine sheds were when Shipston had a railway station? Or maybe you live on land which once saw its dweller dispatched to Australia having been caught stealing chickens? How many of the shops you now visit used to be pubs? And do you know which street used to be called Custard Lane?
All of these facts and many more can be uncovered during a trip to Shipston Museum, which is open to the public on weekend afternoons and by appointment. Curated primarily by History Society founder members, Mike Ashley and Dick Burge, what was the Ashley family games room is now a treasure trove of fascinating facts and finds from the local area.
From a patented ‘safety milk bowl’ invented in Shipston, to locally-found roman coins, not to mention countless posters, catalogues and newspaper articles, there is plenty to absorb your interest. One of the most popular draws is the comprehensive collection of photographs of Shipston’s horse-drawn tramway and railway, which covers most of the Railway Crescent and Tilemans Lane area. The posters offer a fascinating insight into events of the past. The Flower Show poster (pictured top right, with curator, Mike Ashley), promises a live pig to the bowling winner, as well as promoting an ‘ankle and shingle’ competition and hat trimming for men!
Shipston Museum is very keen to encourage an interest in history among children and already works with the primary school to help bring local history to life. Mike Ashley said: “One of the most rewarding aspects of curating our museum are the times when young children come in and, with a bit of detective work, we’re able to find a picture of their great, great grandfather driving a train or similar. The look on their faces is one of pure joy and it’s wonderful to play a part in uncovering their family history.”