The Friends of Leatherhead Museum

About the Friends

News from the Friends of Leatherhead Museum -  the February 2016 Bulletin

Earlier Leatherhead Museum news items can be found by referring to past issues of the Newsletter in the Archives section of this website

About the Friends

Museums and Art Galleries usually enjoy the support of a 'Friends' organisation and Leatherhead Museum is no exception.

Our contribution to the success of our museum is both practical and financial . The 'objects' as set out in our constitution are: -

(a) To help in the upkeep of the Leatherhead Museum
(b) To assist the Museum committee and the Curator to stage displays of local history
(c) To publish from time to time, as appropriate, news items of the Friends activities,
(d) To help publicise the Museum and
(e) To foster interest in museums and display techniques and other related activities.

We are active in all these fields but perhaps the greatest debt that the museum owes to the Friends is the provision and organisation of Stewards. These are volunteers willing to give their time in order to man the museum during opening hours. We are always glad to hear of local people who might wish to get involved in this interesting task; it involves only three hours per month.

The Friends make every effort to bring about an increase in the numbers visiting us. We publicise the museum in every way possible, also sponsoring local initiatives and building links with local firms and local schools.

Other activities include organising training sessions for stewards, social activities such as coffee mornings (which also help to bring in funds) and an annual visit to a place of historic interest.

Membership There is always a warm welcome for new Friends, whether they live close by or are distant 'well wishers'. The annual subscription is £3 (£5 for couples).

To join The Friends please print off the application form and send it with the appropriate cheque to : The Membership Secretary, Friends of Leatherhead Museum, 64, Church Street, LEATHERHEAD, Surrey, KT22 8DP.

Friends of Leatherhead Museum during an outing to Amberley Working Museum. SOUTHDOWN No. 11 bus formerly operating in the Worthing area.

The Museum's 2013-14 Season - from the Society's February 2104 Newsletter

The Museum closed to the public on the 14th December and looking back over the 2013 season we recorded a total of 1,489 visitors, marginally more than the previous year. This figure includes two private visits by a Scout group in June and a Cub pack in September and two outreach visits, one to Trinity School in October and another to Mickleham School in November.

There were five occasions when we were unable to open due to the shortage of volunteers. A quite extensive campaign was mounted towards the end of the year to recruit more volunteers both for stewarding and the separate work around the back of putting on displays, dealing with the artefacts and not the least, the administration of the office and the building. To date when writing this just before Christmas we have had a good response but time will tell just how many stay. Our Curator Lorraine has worked hard on this aspect with a novel, for us, approach and we have formalised some of our procedures.

Several of the stewards whilst on duty abstracted details from the visitor’s book for both the 2012 and 2013 seasons. This gives us a broad indication of where visitors regard as ‘home ‘ and from the table it can be seen that approximately half the number were from the Mole Valley. Of the ‘Abroad‘ category we had visitors from Australia, Canada, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Transylvania [Romania], Uganda, USA and Zambia. One of the French entries was Triel-sur-Seine which is a town that Leatherhead is twinned with.

Mole Valley 150 52.1%
South East 82 28.5%
Elsewhere in Britain 28 9.7%
Abroad 28 9.7%
Total 288  

The now traditional craft days were held during the Spring half term which saw 84 children come over the three days thanks to a lot of effort from a small band of helpers from the ‘Friends' and we would like to put on more events to encourage parents to bring children or grandchildren if we have the resources to arrange it.

The ‘Poor Murdered Women ‘ display that was opened at the start of the season by the folk singer Shirley Collins and put together by Alun Roberts remained to the end when it was suddenly discovered by Mark Davison who by chance was preparing an article for the Leatherhead Advertiser. Thus we featured in the two page spread on Thursday 12th December edition and a mention when Mark went next door to the Blue Cafe.

Resources permitting it is Lorraine’s intention to vary the displays’ during next year to attract more visitors and the year does of course have the anniversary of the start of the ‘Great War'. Otherwise the season was much the same as on previous years: the gazebo put up in April blew down in May and was badly damaged in the gales and was replaced by a new one.

David Hartley added another alongside for his archaeological display outside. This was much easier to set up following the repaving of the elevated area in March with the tyring platform set level and now ceasing to be the hazard it was in its previous location. Subsequently the bright yellow ‘Rising Sun‘ enamelled sign complementing the one indoors has been fixed to the wall and makes a striking feature.

We have great plans for next year and will reopen at the end of March so make sure you come along and see the changes.

Alan Pooley