February 2019 Speaker
This meeting once again was well attended and we were pleased to welcome Nick Wickenden from Chelmsford Museum to tell us about the renovations and funding for the project which has been taking place over the past year or so and should be completed by this summer. This will be in time for the summer holidays when it is hoped many visitors will come to see the improvements.
The new cafe is located in the old Victorian House and is now open every day for breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas. This house was first opened in the 1900s and based on Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
After consultation with local residents, the bees and bear have been conserved in their original places and the taxidermy, geology and Victorian coin collection have been reduced to smaller displays.
As the building is grade 2 listed alterations had to follow strict guidelines. The changes which are being made include a new focus on Natural History from the first settlers in the Ice age, through the Bronze age, then Roman, Saxon and Medieval ages.
Nick told us about other historical information which included the fact that Henry VIII palace was at New Hall and that is how the area became known as Beaulieu. Information on The Shire Hall, Stone Bridge, the rebuilding of Chelmsford Cathedral in the 1800’s and The Old Corn Exchange where Chelmsford’s wealth came from the grain in the county which traded animal feed and wheat for beer brewing.
One room has a Chelmsford timeline which includes 20th Century WW1, WW2 and the Industrial History information of the area. Also information on Chelmsford’s potters, and links with Sanford Mill museum were mentioned.
These alterations will have cost over £2 million of which 2/3 has come from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, for which Chelmsford is very grateful. The museum will be open 7 days a week from 10am to 5pm later this summer.