The Village Hall
Originally it was a portable army hut, possibly dating from the first world war, and was brought to the museum in sections by our voluntary workforce. Along with the building came all the contents, from prayer books to a table football game.
The GranaryThis 18th. century granary was originally located in Borelli Yard in Farnham, but redevelopment of the site necessitated its removal. It was dismantled by local archaeologists and given to the museum where it has been rebuilt in its original form.
Granaries were used to store grain. The building stands on nine staddle stones which prevented rats and other vermin from entering. Within are the pieces of equipment that would have been used in the handling of cereal crops.
The Cricket PavilionThis beautiful all wooden 1883 cricket pavilion, which stood on the Holloway Hill recreation ground at Godalming, was scheduled for demolition when it was to be replaced with a new lottery funded building.
Fortunately it was offered to the museum and we were able to ensure the survival of this unusual building. Volunteers were largely responsible for the work you see today.
The building is covered in split wooden poles, like the chapel, in a style which is thought to be fairly localised to this area. The roof, now covered in cedar shingles, was originally thatched when first built and the whole ground floor, save the changing rooms at either end, would have been open to the verandah.
The building now houses a collection of local cricketing and other sport memorabilia, our groundskeeping displays and our temporary exhibitions.
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A Restoration Nightmare
Since arriving at the Rural Life Centre as a "kit of parts" in 1994, the old Eashing chapel has undergone a transformation.
After many years of disuse at Eashing, the building was offered to the Rural Life Centre by the Surrey Historic Buildings Trust. The trust were concerned about the dilapidated condition this historic building was getting into and also the threat of demolition and replacement with a modern structure.
After its retirement from public use as a library, the former chapel had been wheeled across Eashing Bridge to a new site below a steep sand bank. Here it had been used for various agricultural purposes, including as a chicken coop, and for storage. The windows had been replaced with chicken wire and sheets of polythene and, generally, the building was allowed to fall into disrepair. Its proximity to the bank allowed water to come into contact with the back wall and roof causing widespread rot, and the structure was overgrown with brambles and weeds.
On arrival the components were put into storage until the museum closed for the season. They were then examined for re-usability and a list of necessary replacement materials drawn up. This was a long list including bricks for the base, large quantities of timber of various sizes, tiles for the roof, windows, hessian for the interior walls and split wood poles for the exterior.
This magnificent reconstruction would not have been possible without the vast amounts of voluntary labour provided by the museum's support group, the Rustics.
More about the Chapel
The Stable Block
Our stable was originally situated at a house in nearby Frensham and it is just one section of that property's stable block. Within it are a Danish woodburning stove of the 1930s and a selection of heavy horse harness alongside the standard items for this type of stall.
Another item on display is a saddle from a pack horse, once used to deliver goods in the Selborne area of Hampshire.