I found this little museum purely by chance several years ago whilst walking a section of the towpath on the Kennet & Avon canal. It's tucked away from the road in a building that was once a foundry for a local agricultural company and doesn't look like much from the outside. But...step through those doors and you will find a treasure trove of wonderful exhibits and artefacts depicting many aspects of bygone times in the vale of Pewsey.
There's agricultural tools and machinery, domestic wares, railway and canal memorabilia, old advertising signs, foundry equipment and much, much more. There's a section devoted to World War Two and how it affected the town, lots of old maps and a particularly interesting section that deals with the hospital which closed many years ago when it was actually an asylum.
The building itself is a veritable Victorian temple of industry: there are stone semi-circular arches over all doors and windows and a fan shaping of the top glazing panes in the windows. Originally there were huge doors in the west and south walls, capable of allowing a traction engine inside. Despite a fire destroying the original roof in 1919, the remainder of the building is as constructed. The floor of the foundry was originally of sand, to facilitate the casting process. This was concreted over as the use of the building changed. The building was also fitted with a hand operated overhead 5 ton travelling crane, which is still in place.
Entry is free although guests are freely requested to sign the visitors’ book and to make a “suggested” donation of a paltry £1.50 towards the upkeep of the museum. Be aware that there are no toilet facilities on site but there are some within a 3 minute walk. Cars may be parked in the Co-op car park which is just 100 meters away.
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