The Spalding Bird Museum

The Spalding Bird Museum was owned by the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society and run by Ashley K. Maples and taxidermist Ben Waltham. It contained 840 specimens of British birds and many other specimens, in 160 display cases. Maples died in 1950 and a lack of funds forced the Society to sell the premises in 1953, when […]

guernsey tomato museum postcard

Guernsey Tomato Museum

Little is known about the Tomato Museum, which is said to have closed in 1989. Hudson and Nicholls’ Directory, an invaluable resource for museum researchers, describes it in 1985: History of tomato-growing on the island, in [a] group of glasshouses built at various dates between the 1890s and 1970s. Crops illustrating the history of the […]

Dinting Railway Centre

Dinting Railway Centre

The Dinting Railway Centre was open between 1968 and 1990. The brick engine shed was built between 1888 and 1898 for the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway. The centre was run by the Bahamas Locomotive Society, who are based at  Ingrow on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. An old badge marks the connection between Dinting and […]

Cheltenham College Museum

Cheltenham College Museum

Cheltenham College’s museum was created in 1870, and its emphasis on Natural History can be seen in this photo. The public were admitted on one afternoon a week. In 1923 the museum was moved into a larger and more modern building, but was packed away during the Second World War. The museum closed in 1976, […]

National Butterfly Museum postcard

National Butterfly Museum

This postcard dates from 1981. St. Mary’s is a late 15th-century house with extensive gardens, which has been owned by various notable people including the Hon. Algernon Bourke, one-time owner of White’s gentleman’s club in St. James’s, London. Bourke and his wife are said to be the inspiration for characters in Oscar Wilde’s play, The […]

Torbay Aircraft Museum

What is the connection between the 1960s pop music TV show Ready, Steady, Go! and a long-lost aircraft museum in Devon? The answer is Keith Fordyce, an ex-RAF serviceman who co-presented the show from 1963, and famously asked the Beatles if they thought they had a future. In 1971 he began restoring old aircraft, and later established […]

Bear Gardens Museum

Bear Gardens Museum

According to Hudson and Nicholls’ Directory of Museums and Living Displays, the Bear Gardens Museum was in a Georgian warehouse standing on the original site of the Elizabethan bear baiting arena and the Hope Playhouse. Its displays illustrated the history of 16th and 17th-century playhouses, and included scale models. As Bankside was on the south […]

Sandwich Doll Museum

Sandwich Doll Museum

As Fiona Candlin writes elsewhere on this site, one problem when researching small museums is that there may be very little information available about them. These two postcards are almost all we have of The Precinct Toy Collection, also known as The Sandwich Doll Museum. We can see that it contained Doll’s Houses, and another […]

Telecom Technology Showcase

Telecom Technology Showcase

The Telecom Technology Showcase was open between 1982 and 1997 and run by British Telecom. It occupied premises in Baynard House, Blackfriars, which is still owned by BT. The museum’s opening was specially timed: 1982 was Information Technology Year in the UK. BT had been created just two years earlier and separated from the Post Office […]

The Ark Museum

The Ark Museum

The Ark is the oldest building in active use in Tadcaster, Yorkshire. Built in the late 15th Century, it is reputed to have been used by the Pilgrim Fathers to meet when planning their voyage to America. As well as a meeting place, at different times the Ark has been used as a post office, […]