Wisbech and Fenland Museum 26/11/2019
On 26th November the local history group met at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum where we were treated to a fascinating guided tour by the museum’s curator, Robert Bell. We were first shown the library, lined with shelves of leather-bound books, and told a little of the history of the museum.
The Museum Society was formed in 1835 by religious nonconformist gentlemen, who were not permitted to attend university; their library was for self-study. Here the curator had displayed items of particular interest to our group - such as inclosure maps of the Suttons, which were much pored over. We also saw the manuscript of Charles Dickens’ "Great Expectations" which was written in tiny handwriting with many crossings out and alterations.
Moving into the main gallery of the museum, amongst the stuffed birds and Grand Tour souvenirs, we saw the collection of Wisbech born anti-slavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson, as well as exhibits from William Stanger’s geological expedition - he travelled from Tydd St Mary to the Niger in 1841! We were also at the museum to see "A Cabinet of Curiosities Collected in Wisbech” - a small part of Richard Barnwells’s eclectic collection which ranges from historic paintings to Margaret Thatcher novelty nutcrackers, with much besides. Several more trips will be needed to take in all that is on show at the Wisbech and Fenland