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.”
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.’
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or drop a note into the Museum. And put the Easter opening in your diaries!