Surrey Heath Museum to close after Easter

Over 30 interested and concerned residents were in attendance at a meeting of the Executive Committee of Surrey Heath Borough Council on Tuesday 6th March, where the future of Surrey Heath Heritage Services was discussed.

The plans for the future, as described in the council press release below, does not include a museum. While not stating the word closure, it says, “Whilst we will not be operating our museum service from the current site after the Easter holiday”, which means the same thing.

I’ll write more about the council’s decision in the coming days and weeks. My photo of one the many successful Museum exhibitions.

At a meeting of the Executive of Surrey Heath Borough Council last night (Tuesday 6 March) Councillors voted to adopt the changes proposed for Surrey Heath Heritage Services.  This followed a consultation about the future of Surrey Heath Museum and Heritage Services, which ran for several months at the end of last year.

The Council engaged with a wide variety of community groups and individuals, receiving more than 400 responses.  Feedback from regular museum visitors and local historical societies as part of the User Group discussion process confirmed the view that the museum is not in the right location. This was supported by declining visitor numbers to the premises at Surrey Heath House, Camberley, which was launched as a temporary site in 1986.

Feedback from the consultation has informed plans for the future of Heritage Services which include expanding the existing programme of events, workshops, walks and talks, outreach work with schools and other community groups and research.

Whilst we will not be operating our museum service from the current site after the Easter holidays, the Executive also approved proposals for further development of the service to include an improved online catalogue of the collection, a display in reception at Surrey Heath House; more temporary exhibitions and events at different locations around the Borough, and an extended exhibition in Camberley Town Centre throughout the summer – bringing heritage into the heart of our community, and helping reach new and wider audiences across Surrey Heath and beyond.

Surrey Heath Borough Council will continue to strive for Arts Council Accreditation for the collection, and is delighted that the mission statement which is essential to this process was unanimously agreed by the Executive:  “Surrey Heath Heritage Services exist to preserve, manage and document the heritage of this Borough. We will promote our unique heritage by public exhibitions, events, outreach and research access.”

Surrey Heath Portfolio Holder for Business Cllr Craig Fennell said: “The history of this Borough remains of paramount importance but we must stay relevant to what future generations want from a heritage service, and continue to reach a wider community.  These proposals will breathe new life into the service – the thousands of artefacts in the collection will tell the story of our past to current and future generations, enabling a wider audience to enjoy smaller, more frequent exhibitions in easy-to-access locations.”

More information about upcoming exhibitions and events will be available on our website. 

Where will you go in Open House London this weekend?

Open House London is on 16-17 September; surely you know about this wonderful scheme. I feel confident you do. Here’s a reminder of what it’s about,

Visit London’s best buildings: This year we have over 800 buildings, walks, talks and tours in the Open House programme. View the full building listings, find out important information about the event or plan your weekend by using our top picks and themes.

But, have you planned your visits yet? While it’s likely to be too late to book into the popular venues, there’s still much to experience.

We’ve enjoyed visiting some fantastic places, which I’ve reported on HERE. A few of my favourites are the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Crossness Beam Engine House, and the Custom House. Last year, we managed to visit four places, sadly this year we’ve commitments over the weekend so might only manage one visit.

Visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

A couple of weeks ago we visited the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Within its over 320 acres there’s plenty to see and experience. We managed just a part. It’s one of 31 world heritage sites in the UK. The variety of trees and plants is amazing.

Memorable things in our visit were the Palm House, Treetops Walkway, Rock Gardens, and Kew Palace. Opening the door into the Palm House one is assailed by heat and humidity, and when climbing the steps to the elevated walkway the heat and humidity rises. From the elevated walkway lets you appreciate the structure of the building, and its age, having been built in the 1840’s.

The Treetop Walkway is a fun way to study trees from above. There’s a lift for those not wanting to climb the 108 steps. Kew Palace, also known as the Dutch House, provides an unexpected insight in building techniques and practices of the 1600 and 1700 hundreds. A visit of varied attractions, as my photo montage shows,

Heritage Open Days in Surrey Heath on Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th September

Excellent work by Surrey Heath Museum for the pleasing improvement in the number, and quality, of Surrey Heath’s Heritage Open Days places and events on 9th and 10th September. Additionally on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th September there’s an opportunity to see behind the scenes of the Museum and be part of the consultation as to how the museum should develop.

To expand the brochure view, click on the upward facing arrow in the right hand corner.

Not Cool Hand Luke, more steady hand Tim

Cool Hand Luke, if you’re confused, is a gritty prison drama film starring Paul Newman. That’s it. Just thought it would make a nice headline.

Now to the steady hand Tim. It’s about milestones, a subject I’ve become a bit boring on over the last few few. Myself and my chum, Reg Davis, have cleaned nine milestones in the borough. We’re now painting them white, with masonry paint. The lettering needs painting in black masonry paint. This has been my job, hence the steady hand Tim.

We’ve completed the refurbishment of 4 milestones. Perhaps you’ve seen us on the A30. We’ve had some lovely conversations, involving me wittering about their history. Here are the four we’ve completed. [Click on images to expand]

Completing our painting of a milestone

Myself and chum Reg Davis have begun the second stage of our milestone cleaning and painting project.

Yesterday, before the rain halted our progress, we placed stones around the base of the milestone opposite the Hiller Garden Centre on the A30, and painted it with white masonry paint. Today we’ll visit the milestone to pick out the lettering in black masonry paint, and then move on to the next milestone on the A30.

In the photo below you can see Reg using a small paint brush to apply paint to the crevices on the milestone. We didn’t, in case you were thinking it, use a brush this small to paint the milestone. Hoping for no rain today.

Visits update No.4: The National Trust’s Anglesea Abbey and Gardens

On our return home from the Norfolk Broads we stopped off at Anglesea Abbey. It’s a National Trust property, with extensive gardens and a working mill, of which later.

The house and gardens seemed popular with with families, perhaps, it being a sunny Sunday that, and being not far from Cambridge, was not unreasonable. Crowds are easily lost in the extensive gardens, with a number of optional  pre-planned walks. I should mention there’s an excellent spacious modern restaurant, another likely reason for its popularity.

The country  house, while not as large as some, is more accessible as a result; filled with fine furniture, paintings, statuary, and a remarkable collection of clocks.

Our conclusion, house, gardens, restaurant, all well worth a visit. Here are a few photos of the inside of the house and the gardens.