Chatteris museum re-opens in former Barclays bank

A much-loved market town museum has re-opened in a former Barclays bank branch.

Chatteris museum re-opens in former Barclays bank
Chatteris museum re-opens in former Barclays bank

Chatteris Museum, in Cambridgeshire, started moving its collections last year after it outgrew its former premises.

Its new home was purchased by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority for £770,000.

Collections manager Andrew Spooner said the venue would "keep the legacy and history of this wonderful town alive".

An official grand opening has been planned for May, but it is open for three days a week until then.

Chatteris museum re-opens in former Barclays bank
Chatteris museum re-opens in former Barclays bank

Mr Spooner said: "We have still got a whole lot of work to do, unpacking 500 boxes containing thousands of items, which took two years to pack.

"The former museum building shut in 2021. It was shared with the town council offices. We outgrew the venue.

"We are really excited to have this fabulous space. It is a classic early Victorian, Georgian architectural delight built in 1840, and a Barclays bank since 1921. The bank shut in 2019, but people still refer to the building as 'Barclays'.

"We have 24 very keen volunteers and thanks to various grants, including £97,000 from the National Lottery, we hope to keep the legacy and history of this wonderful town alive for future generations."

Chatteris museum re-opens in former Barclays bank
Chatteris museum re-opens in former Barclays bank

The museum's collection was first started in 1942 as a result of an interest in local history by council clerk Charles Dobb.

Initially his items could be housed in a small glass cabinet in the old urban district council office at Grove House, but the collection continued to grow.

In 1963, a room full of display cabinets was officially opened as Chatteris Museum.

By 1995, the museum had moved into what was the doctors surgery on Church Lane. It also shared the building with Chatteris Town Council.

The new museum building is owned by Chatteris Town Council, which has leased the first floor to commercial businesses.

The council is giving an annual grant to the museum, which is being run by volunteers, for its running costs.

Chatteris museum re-opens in former Barclays bank
Chatteris museum re-opens in former Barclays bank

Visitors can view a wealth of unusual objects, including mobile stocks from 1774 and an early "boneshaker" bicycle.

Further exhibits illustrate traditional aspects of Fenland life and its waterways, the railway boom and the wealth of a prosperous 19th Century market town.

The new museum is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *