About Us

the shambles 1972"We intend to show people, who have only known Bewdley as a sleepy backwater, what a busy and important centre it was. It will become the focal point of the town and we hope it will attract visitors and stimulate trade. The opening is just a beginning. There is scope for further improvements and extensions to the museum. As a living centre we want it to be used for cultural activities by local people and those who wish to carry out research into the town's history"

This visionary statement was made by Stephen Quayle, Bewdley Museum's founder as reported in the Kidderminster Shuttle, 30th June 1972 when the Museum first opened to the public.

The picture above shows The Shambles as they were prior to restoration, complete with car!

The Friends of Bewdley Museum were founded in 1969, some three years before the Museum opened. They were then called 'Fellows' and members who had joined the Museum's Fellowship Scheme before the opening were known as 'Founding Fellows' and had their names listed in a book that was displayed at the opening.

In 1973 they changed their name to the Friends of Bewdley Museum in line with the growing movement of Friends groups and the establishment in that year of BAfM, the British Association of Friends of Museums. When Wyre Forest took over the running of the Museum in 1974 they changed their name yet again to be known as the Bewdley Museum Society. They kept this title until 2003 when they reverted to the Friends of Bewdley Museum.

Working alongside Stephen Quayle and inspired by his ideas and early work right through to the present day, the Friends have provided a vital supporting role. In the difficult times of 1992/3 and 2002/3 when the Museum was under serious threat of closure resulting from the Council's spending cuts, the Friends mounted effective public campaigns with petitions and letter writing to advocate the importance and value of the Museum and to help secure its future.

 

What We Do

Over the years, the Friends have provided a significant amount of on-site volunteer help. The range and variety of this work is considerable and continues to grow but includes the following: -

Partaking in the initial building restoration work and these days the ongoing building and site maintenance work, gardening, spring clean etc.

Demonstrating rope making, demonstrating clay-pipe making, supervising brass rubbing, helping to run activities for children and special groups, invigilating exhibitions, being site guides and also acting as Wardens for the Air Raid Shelter display.

Recording, packing and labeling artifacts at the Museum Store and cataloguing the Museum's Photographic Collection.

Helping set up and run a Café at the Museum [now successfully franchised to a local catering company]

Collecting and counting donations

The Friends have also played a leading role in helping to develop the Museum's displays and programme: -

In 2005, the Friends successfully applied for Lottery funding through the Awards for All scheme for its 'Let's Learn Project' to provide large jigsaws and other activities for younger children.

In 2008, The Friends won the 'Best Friends and Supporters Group' in the West Midlands Renaissance Awards for their project initiative to transform the jails in the Shambles. In the same year they also helped with developing and funding the project to refurbish the Air Raid Shelter.

Support the Friends of Bewdley Museum to continue this invaluable work by becoming a member. Membership costs just £10 per year. Join now by downloading and completing the Membership Application Form here.