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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Council gives £31,000 boost to historic town museum

 

Cheshire East Council has given a £31,000 boost to Congleton Museum.

The grant will help the much-loved institution relocate to larger and better premises in the town.

The money will part fund the project to redevelop Bradshaw House, in Lawton Street, into an exciting new museum for Congleton – including a feasibility study and architectural survey in preparation for a Heritage Lottery funding application.

With its ever expanding collection, the move will provide more space for the collection’s displays, improved facilities for activities and give the museum greater prominence.

Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, presented the grant cheque during a visit to the museum, which is based in the former police station next to Congleton Town Hall.

Cllr Brown said “It was a pleasure to be in my home town, presenting a cheque on behalf of Cheshire East Council to support the museum.

“This is a very exciting time for Congleton Museum – applying for a range of grants and funding to enable the move to Bradshaw House, with its own rich history.

“This museum is a tremendous community asset, attracting people from all over the Borough and beyond.

“In my eyes, one of the most important things that the museum does is in its work with schoolchildren. I understand that typically about 2,000 children, mainly from East Cheshire, West Cheshire, Staffordshire and Trafford, come to the museum each year on organised visits.

“I know that their World War II and ‘evacuee experiences’ have been particularly successful and one of the strengths of the organisation here is that they are constantly evolving and developing – so we’ll look forward to what comes next.

“I would thoroughly recommend a visit to Congleton Museum, for these things and more.”

The museum is managed by Congleton Museum Trust, a registered charity which was formed in 1985 by a group of local history enthusiasts to pull together as much as possible of the history of Congleton and to explore ways of exhibiting it to the community.

The museum opened in 2002, following the redevelopment of Congleton Town hall, and has gone from strength to strength.

The wide-ranging artefacts on display include an Anglo-Saxon log boat, a burial urn from 1500 BC and two major coin hoards from the 17th Century, alongside many items of historical interest from more recent times.

Ian Doughty, chairman of the board of trustees and collections manager, said “Congleton Museum was originally established to interpret and preserve the heritage of Congleton.

“But over the last two or three years, we have become involved in preserving heritage from a much wider area – having helped Middlewich to secure a 17th Century gold mourning ring, acquired a gold Roman dress ring from Sandbach and Viking metalwork from Church Lawton, as well as pre-historic artefacts from a wider area.

“So, we now have a broader remit than just the town and this cheque from Cheshire East will help our move towards Bradshaw House, where we will be able to offer greater facilities and more space in order to interpret the heritage of the area and to develop a heritage hub for this part of East Cheshire.

“Bradshaw house is an early 19th century Georgian mansion, built by a local landowner William Lowndes, of Hassall Hall. It is built on the site of the Congleton house of John Bradshaw the regicide – well-known for being president of the court that tried King Charles I.”

Congleton Museum is on Market Square, Congleton. For more information ring the museum on 01260 276360 or visit the website www.congletonmuseum.co.uk

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