Amersham Museum visit - July 2019

On the 3rd July 2019, a very warm afternoon, eight of our members visited the Amersham Museum. This is located in the High Street of Old Amersham town. Once through the very modern entrance reception area we were greeted by the Curator, Emily Tottcher, and taken upstairs to the meeting room (there was a lift too). Tea and biscuits had been arranged and we chose to have this early rather than later on. So then we sat and enjoyed an introductory film and talk by Emily. At the same time, Emily handed out various historical articles to examine and guess what they were. These curious items ranged from an antique pair of curling tongs to corn splitters. Emily spoke of the history of Amersham and its development over the years.

The museum is part of a 15th century half-timbered house with a garden at the rear and covers local history from medieval times to the advent of Metroland in 1915 and beyond.

The museum was reopened in 2017 after a major refurbishment and includes a new glass reception area, a completely updated redisplay of the various collections as well as a new activity and exhibition space. Displays of local crafts and archaeological finds going back to Roman times were on display. There were numerous hands on activities including discovery boxes containing objects which could be handled and multimedia tablets which provided access to Amersham’s wider archive.

A selection of documents were on display and the development of the town could be traced through various editions of the Ordnance Survey maps in different scales from 1 inch to the mile to an even larger scale which showed the town in great detail.

One room displayed information about past industries of the town like the Goya perfume factory and Brazil’s Sausage and Pie business which was where Tesco is now. We were also told the history of some of the bigger houses on the edge of the town, principally “Shardeloes".

The pretty back garden ran for about 100 yards from the building and had a fine view of a mansion on the top of an adjacent hill. The small building at the end of the garden contained an ancient “privvy “ complete with original wooden seat.

Everyone agreed that the visit was very interesting and worthwhile and had been enjoyed by all.

Kari Dorme (Committee member and event organiser)