January 2024

Museum’s successful first season

Nearly 500 visitors took the opportunity to see the story of Shipston and surrounding area, with a host of fascinating items and special display of the town’s former 29 pubs. Our young visitors especially found the chance to hold history in their hands in the Handling Room both fun and informative.

Echoing the praise from many, Mayor Gerry Kelly said: “The museum is a must for the people of Shipston to find out the history of the place in which they live.”

Officially open!
Many months, indeed years, had gone into its planning and preparation before the official opening on 5th August 2023 when Dick Burge, who together with the late Mike Ashley had
dreamed of this day, cut the ribbon to Old Clark House, top of West Street car park. The occasion was marked by a troupe of Civil War soldiers, Lord Hopton’s Regiment of Foot, marching through Shipston streets to the sound of drums under suddenly sunny skies to welcome our town’s latest attraction.

Until closing for the winter season in early October, the Museum was open at weekends from 1pm–4pm. As well as locals, people came from Stratford, Buckinghamshire and Gloucestershire. Our furthest guest was from Australia visiting Shipston family who was surprised and delighted with its history. Further praise came from other visitors:

“ A really interesting set of displays and a credit to those who created it.”
“Wonderful resource for the town fascinating.”
“Beautifully laid out and presented.”

The end of the first season was an opportunity to review progress and recognise all those involved. “This was only possible due to the hard work and dedication of our trustees and other helpers”, said Trustee President Bekky Hillman, “And I would also thank our many visitors and all those involved for this historic achievement including Shipston Council for providing the premises.”

The museum has taken a first step of three on the path towards Museum Accreditation, the benchmark which aims for well-run museums to be ‘sustainable, focused and trusted organisations, which offer their visitors a great experience.’

Looking forward
Despite the closed doors for winter, work is still progressing towards the Easter opening. And fascinating finds are being made from items emerging from the unexplored collection, such as the old glass photographic plates showing Shipston people from the turn of the last century. A mysterious red diary – we don’t know who wrote it - reports “14 February
1900 deep snow about 12” deep,” while two days later “Thomas Harris, Tredington and Ernest Wise, Shipston - ice broke while skating on the river – very nearly drowned!”

Share your stories
Stories like this bring the Museum alive. If you have any tales, memories, pictures to share – or would like to know more about volunteering – please contact via the Shipston On Stour Local History Society Facebook page, email shipstonmuseum@outlook.com or drop a note into the Museum. And put the Easter opening in your diaries!

Fit and well for the New Year!

Focus on Stour Health and Wellbeing Partnership (SHWP)

What is SHWP?
Stour Health and Wellbeing Partnership (SHWP) has been running now for three years as a charity set up for the health and wellbeing of the Shipston and surrounding communities. It has had much success in creating a wealth of activities to help mobility and combat loneliness and it has been wonderful to see so many of you attend these.

Energetic – and sociable!
The Strictly Fitsteps in Newbold on Stour and the Townsend Hall are particularly popular with the more energetic members of the community. The seated and standing Tai Chi at the Townsend Hall, are both hugely successful, with over 30 people attending each week.

There are also Pilates classes on a Friday along with many more. If you haven’t tried a class yet, please do. They are all currently free to you and are a great way of helping your mental and physical health as well as being really fun and a great sociable activity.

Indoor curling
The Townsend Hall is also where we hold our weekly indoor curling sessions. These have been so popular that we also host a group in Ilmington, and there is some healthy rivalry between the two. Could we start a third group and have a league?

Surrounding villages
We are very pleased that due to funding secured through the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund with Stratford-on-Avon District Council as the lead authority, we can not only continue to hold the classes for free, but also offer activities in the surrounding villages. A dance and exercise class has been set up in Tysoe, along with Pickleball in Brailes.

For the young too!
The activities of SHWP are not limited to the older members of the community. Thanks to the funding secured, we have also been able to help fund the fantastic work of Lee Cooper and SEFC Pan-Disability Junior Football team, who run a weekly football session for the community. This is such a worthwhile and needed initiative, and we are proud to support them
with their great work.

Warm Hub
Did you know that SHWP also run the Shipston Community Warm Hub at the Scout Hut on a Thursday, 10am-12pm? Every week there is a different theme, from digital workshops to cooking; from a drop-in clinic with the frailty nurse for Shipston Medical Centre to the Shipston Home Nurses offering bereavement support and soup. We are always excited when new members of the community come along, and we look forward to meeting more of you.

Volunteers needed
SHWP is run by a board of trustees who are all volunteers. We are so grateful to all the volunteers who help make all these initiatives happen, but we are always looking for more people to help. Could that be you? Please email admin@shwp.org.uk if you would like to know more.

Testing the water

The Town Council has purchased three river testing kits which are now being put to use along the River Stour.

Volunteers are being trained by Cllr Olivia Hatch to monitor for changes in the river environment.

If you are interested in getting involved, contact olivia.hatch@stratford-dc.gov.uk