I have been on holiday from work this week, it has been a very productive and enjoyable week writing and researching possible ideas. The weather has been brilliant and progressively lovelier throughout the week.
At the beginning of the week my new website went ‘live’, you can view it at mariahopwoodfreelancewriting.co.uk, please do have a look, feedback is very welcome :-)
May is Local and Community History month, my latest Local Secrets article looks at how to get the best out of researching your local history in the Cambridgeshire area, but is worth reading if you are interested in researching local history anywhere.
I decided to visit a few local museums this week, which has been very interesting from a local history perspective.
Yesterday I visited the lovely village of Burwell, which lies ten miles North East of Cambridge. The photo at the top of this post is of the very pretty Burwell Church, we also enjoyed a tasty pub lunch in The Five Bells garden. However, my main reason for my trip was to explore the Museum of Fen-edge Village life, which is a fascinating look in to Burwell’s past.
The open air museum is organised into themed displays with an exciting treasure trove, which includes ancient artefacts, farmland machinery, vintage exhibits ranging from vehicles to clothes, old household accessories and not so old retro objects, such as dial-up telephones!
Many of the items in the museum have been donated, some of the objects are very random but fit perfectly with everything else, there is always something that catches the eye. I loved wandering around, some of my favourite exhibits included a mock-up of a shop, a pottery exhibition with mannequin potters, a telephone exchange with the retro telephones included and all the old bits and pieces donated from people’s homes.
The museum also has a dedicated archive room, which includes films of Burwell. Viewers can sit on rows of old battered green cinema seats, which are another of my favourite things on show!
The museum also includes Steven’s Mill which is currently undergoing restoration work over a period of thirty months, made possible by a Heritage Lottery Fund award. Once completed it is intended the windmill will be returned to working order, you can read about the restoration project in a dedicated blog.
Staffs are very friendly and happy to chat to you, or show you how things work. Make sure you look at the summer-house near the entrance, it was built as a moving summer-house so wherever the sun was it could be turned towards it, clever! One of the museum staff were happy to demonstrate how it worked by fully turning it around.
Burwell museum is definitely a great place to visit if you are interested in local history and artefacts, check the opening days/times as it is only open on certain days.