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Spring Preparations at Heritage Museum

Neil Haverson Published: 01 February 2024

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Two ladies in vintage clothing stand in front of museum
Volunteers Laura and Christine help with greeting visitors and social media.

It’s that time of year when we can look forward to more daylight hours, the garden starts to stir into life and it won’t be too long before we can put away our winter clothes. And, with spring on the horizon it means Wymondham Heritage Museum will soon open for 2024.

Last year proved successful with visitor numbers up. As a result, the committee is hoping to increase opening hours for the new season.

It was also a good year for The Bridewell Tearoom with a significant increase in visitors enjoying refreshments. Not just from those visiting the museum but also from people taking advantage of the Tearoom being open daily until 4pm so, it is one of the very few places in town where you can get a drink and a snack later in the afternoon.

Interior of museum room with old brushes on display
A new display is coming soon to the Brushroom.

The date for your diaries is Monday March 4th at 1pm, when the doors will open for visitors to come and explore the town’s rich history and find out how folk lived, what they did for a living and how they spent their leisure time.

The Brushroom, which tells the story of the town’s once major industry, will have some new exhibits. These are a small display of new brushes from the Mervyn Jones Collection, which was acquired last year from the family of the late Mervyn Jones. Mr Jones had been involved in brush manufacturing for the majority of his professional life since leaving the Royal Navy in the late 1960s. He initially worked with Briton Chadwick in Wymondham but then moved on to Moseley Stone and later Stanley Tools. He was an avid collector of brushes, extremely knowledgeable on brushmaking and the history of brushes, and also wrote a book in the 1970s entitled ‘The Story of Brushmaking – a Norfolk Craft’.

As you walk around the museum, keep your eyes open for portraits of characters from the past connected to the museum. “People of The Bridewell” will be individually framed and displayed with information on their history.

Old photo of man working with fibres for brushes
Brushmaking history, fibres for brushes.

All the visitors’ favourites have had a spring clean, including the spooky dungeon, the Regal Cinema display, and the agricultural exhibition. Do a bit of window shopping in the two recreated shops, The Damgate Stores and The Little Dustpan.

The Little Dustpan has had some additional shelves installed to display more items that would have been sold by the hardware store when it traded for many years on Town Green. These include decorating materials, jugs and tools.

The Bridwell Tearoom is planning to build on its success in 2023. A further coffee machine has been purchased and opening hours are to be extended. For early birds the Tearoom will open at 9am on Thursdays and Fridays, with the museum opening at 10 o’clock. It is also planned to open on Saturday mornings.

Inside museum hardware store display
The Little Dustpan, expanding hardware exhibits.

For more information of what to do plus details of opening times go to thewhm.org.uk.

Come and join the museum’s band of volunteers. Pictured are Christine, right, and Laura, two volunteers at the museum. Christine manages the stewards who meet and greet visitors. Laura is one of the museum's social media gurus, keeping you up to date with what’s going on at The Bridewell on Facebook and Instagram. Just search for Wymondham Heritage Museum.

Christine is looking for volunteers to fulfil the role of stewards. She says: “It is really rewarding working in a museum environment. There is no need to know the history of Wymondham. This can be gained whilst working with experienced and knowledgeable volunteers. Support is given in all the roles and stewards always work alongside a buddy.”

Over in The Bridewell Tearoom there are opportunities to join the team to help serve the delicious homemade cakes and scones. Volunteers are needed to help with the additional opening hours.

Can you spare just three hours a month, more if you can manage it? For the Tearoom please email tearoom@thewhm.org.uk. For stewards or to help with the running of the museum, it’s volunteers@thewhm.org.uk.

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