Its home is a fine-looking Regency town house. The museum’s developers have done a superb job in adapting the building to allow access throughout for visitors with impaired mobility, including wheelchair users: there is a lift to the upper galleries , while ramps eliminate differences in floor heights on each level.
All the displays and explanatory panels are positioned to be easily visible to wheelchair users and young children.
The Borough of Runnymede has only been in existence since 1974, but the area has been important for many thousands of years.
The Borough is named after the Thameside meadow where King John sealed the Magna Carta in 1215: this world-famous symbol of freedom and civil liberties in law is of course featured within the museum.
The museum’s exhibits range from local archaeology and the history of Chertsey Abbey to social history items. There is a large collection of documents and photographs, and the nationally significant Olive Matthews Collection of Dress and Textiles.
The “Dress for All Seasons” temporary exhibition (until 25 August 2012) shows 200 years of seasonal clothes and accessories from the Olive Matthews Collection. They include a pair of Edwardian ice skates, a rare Victorian swimsuit and a knitted wool bikini from the 1950s which was considered very daring at the time!
During our visit the museum’s Discovery Zone presented a fascinating contrast between life in the 1850s with that in the 1950s, through two contrasting room settings. This will end on 21st April 2012, to be replaced by an exhibition on the history of St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey.
Visiting the museum
Chertsey Museum is at 33 Windsor Street, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 8AT. It is open from Tuesday to Friday (12.30pm – 4.30pm) and on Saturday (11.00pm – 4.00pm). Entrance is free.
The museum’s Research Room is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays (12.30pm – 4.15pm) and Saturdays (1.15pm – 3.45pm) when visitors can look through photograph collections, historic maps, a database of collections and access its library.
An adapted toilet on the ground floor is accessible by wheelchair users.
For details of temporary and permanent exhibitions visit the museum’s web site at www.chertseymuseum.org.uk
Getting there by bus or train
Chertsey railway station is 1.0 km (1100 yards) from the museum. From the station, walk north-west along Guildford Street for 700m (750 yards), then turn left into Windsor Street.
Chertsey is served by a various buses. Visit www.traveline.info for details.
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