Developments at the County Museum

Chris Copp was the Civic Society guest speaker at the October meeting, when he gave us a whistle stop tour around the Museum Service's facilities, concentrating on the Service base at Shugborough Hall.

The County Council's involvement at Shugborough came about in 1964 when they agreed with the National Trust to lease the estate, at least in part as a rescue exercise for the Anson family, burdened by death duties. So, paradoxically, the County Council found itself with a range of estate buildings, but no use for them. So came about the County Museum.

Many members will have visited the Hall and estate buildings. Chris concentrated on describing this service wing and its restoration by the County Council. He showed us the restored brewhouse, reconstructed shops, the classroom and the domestic interiors, carefully furnished to represent life in the early and mid 20th century. These interiors are used to display some of the 6,000 items now in the Museum collection.

We then moved on to have a look at the Park Farm, acquired by the County Council in 1975. The Georgian farm buildings date back to 1805 and the domestic rooms have been refurnished accordingly. The farm is home to a number of rare breeds, often with historic links to Shugborough and the Anson family. So if you visit, expect to see Tamworth pigs, longhorn cattle and Bagot goats.

Chris concluded by reminding us that the Museum collection covers not only domestic objects and tools for crafts and trades, but possesses over 40,000 photographic images, an extensive costume collection and a small art and print collection (of over 1,000 pieces), mostly by local artists. If members want to access the photographs, as well as film clips and audio clips, then go to the internet on

Roger Hockney
October 2004