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, […]

Museum of British Transport

Museum of British Transport

The Museum of British Transport opened in an old bus garage in Clapham, south London, in the 1960s. Standing in the forecourt was a replica of Rocket, the pioneering locomotive designed by Robert Stephenson. The museum housed objects and vehicles relating to London’s roads, railways and the Tube. The collection had been started in the […]

House of Wax

House of Wax

  The Louis Tussauds House of Wax in Great Yarmouth was run by Peter and Jane Hays for 58 years. Opened in 1954 and named after Madame Tussaud’s great grandson, it featured models of celebrities and historical figures. But faced with rising costs, declining income, and the loss of the wax modeller they had used, the […]

Adamston Agricultural Museum

Adamston Agricultural Museum

  The Adamston Agricultural Museum was opened in 1972 by Hew McCall-Smith. His collection comprised more than 500 items related to farming and domestic life in the North East of Scotland. This included ploughs, horse harness, and dairy equipment. McCall-Smith also organised events, including exhibits of threshing, ploughing, and cheese-making. The museum remained open until the […]

Cannon Hill Natural History Museum

Birmingham Nature Centre

  This building has had various lives, with at least four different institutions occupying the site. It was once the Cannon Hill Museum and devoted to the history of Birmingham. Around 1953, changes at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery led to the natural history department establishing a museum on the site. It subsequently became […]