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News from The Rural Life Centre

October 2015

Land Rover Day - Notice of Road Diversion

The annual CSVAC Land Rover rally takes place this Sunday 11th October with over 100 Land Rovers of all types and ages booked to attend. For Land Rover owners who are coming and for visitors it is worth noting a local traffic diversion due to water works, the details of which are here:

South East Water Tilford Road Works Leaflet

The diversion only affects those coming from Farnham station and Tilford Road, for those coming via the Farnham Station exit from the A31 please travel to Tilford via Waverley Lane (left turn immediately after the level crossing). Access from the A3 via the Milford exit and Elstead is unaffected, access via the Old Frensham Road and from Reeds Road from the A287 is also unaffected. We look forward to seeing you at the event.

September 2015

Nostalgia on wheels

Classic Vehicles

With their ability to evoke the past, it's no wonder classic vehicles have such enduring popularity - and there will plenty of them on parade at the Rural Life Centre on Sunday 20 September.

Last year's event, organised by the Surrey Classic Vehicle Club, attracted around 500 entries, not just sleek-bonneted cars, but many other wonderful wheeled forms of transport from all over the world.

And you can expect the conversations at the Tilford-based museum of village life to reach beyond the specification data for each vehicle, to the distant days when these beauties ruled the road. Prizes will be awarded for the vehicle which best represents its period, and for the one in the finest condition.

From bikes to buses, from cars to camper vans, from the familiar to the unfamiliar, the Classic Vehicle Gathering has something for everyone.

Auto-jumble will be on sale and the Old Kiln Light Railway will be in operation.

Taking place at the Rural Life Centre on both days of the weekend will be the Surrey Association of Woodturners' open event, when members will be displaying their skills and inviting visitors to have a go. The group, whose meetings are held at the Mytchett Centre, are celebrating their silver anniversary this year.

Discover a world of donkeys and bees on Sunday 13 September


Donkey Day Out at the Rural Life Centre in Tilford this Sunday will give visitors a chance to familiarise themselves at close quarters with these gentle animals. This popular annual event is run by the Donkey Breed Society, a national charity which campaigns for animal welfare.

The highlight of the day is expected to be the Grand Parade, but there will be plenty of other things to see and do, and members of the Donkey Breed Society will be on hand to discuss their work and explain how they are easing the load for these amenable beasts of burden.

Bringing an extra buzz to the extensive museum grounds on the same day will be the Farnham Beekeepers' Show. The beekeepers are based at the museum year round, but on this day they will be demonstrating their skills and will be happy to chat with visitors. And don't be surprised if there are jars of 'hunny' for sale.

"We are very keen that members of the general public should be better informed about bees and their importance to the environment," say the beekeepers.

July 2015

Queens Award Presentation Group

Rustics chairman John Larke holding the Queen's award flanked by trust chairman Michael Phillips and Dame Sarah Goad. Surrounding them are just a few of the loyal volunteers.

Pride for volunteers on a soggy Sunday

The Rural Life Centre's volunteers glowed with pride on Rustic Sunday, the museum's showcase event, despite day-long rain.

Last Sunday's rain may have kept some visitors away, but Rustic Sunday - the biggest event of the Rural Life Centre's calendar - was a great success and proof of what an enthusiastic group of volunteers can achieve.

There to observe at first hand the tremendous work done by the museum's 100+ volunteers were the Great and Good of the county, gathered to present them with the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

Commenting at the end of the day, organiser Rog Dengate said: "The presentation today of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service by Dame Sarah Goad, Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, was very appropriate. The work of so many volunteers made this event the success that it was."

At the presentation of the citation and commemorative badges, Dame Sarah Goad said how impressed she was with everything she had seen, admitting that this was her first visit to the Tilford museum. To show their gratitude for her visit - and also to encourage her to return soon with her grandchildren - the museum trustees presented her with honorary membership of the Rustics support group, much to her delight.

Museum Director Chris Shepheard thanked the guests who included Farnham Mayor Pat Frost, past Waverley Mayor Liz Wheatley and deputy Surrey Lieutenant Diana Praine for braving the atrocious weather. He congratulated the volunteers for their tireless efforts to make the day a success.

"Your performance today shows how well deserved the Queens Award for Voluntary Service is and this was appreciated by our invited guests as well as our hundreds of damp but happy visitors."

The museum has a very small professional staff supported by the dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year documenting and maintaining the collection, looking after buildings and grounds, or running the education department that welcomes almost 100 school and youth groups each year.

Rustic Sunday is around the corner! Make 26 July a 'must see' on your calendar

Rustic Sunday Horse and Cart Rides

Traffic, development and the pace of life in the 21st century make it difficult to visualise the South-east of England as it was 'in the olden days': a land of farms, small villages and tight-knit communities, supporting each other through the farming seasons, using craft skills to make homes comfortable and enjoying simple hobbies as entertainment.

On Sunday 26 July, Rustic Sunday, the biggest event of the Rural Life Centre's calendar, will showcase this vanished way of life. Thanks to the efforts of its many volunteers and the support of Andrew Lodge Estate Agents in Farnham, Tilford's museum of country life has attracted over 100 craft and artisan stalls and activities to participate on the day. There will be live music, horse-drawn wagons, the working blacksmith's forge, an old-fashioned fairground carousel and much more.

Rod Dengate, the event organiser this year, has his hands full making sure all the attractions are well placed in and around the museum's many old buildings and 10-acre wooded site. "Visitors will need a day to see round everything and that's not including the 40,000 artefacts we have on permanent display in the village and farm buildings," he said.

"We have woodsman techniques being demonstrated in the woodland, people making besom brooms, corn dollies and rag rugs. There is even a traditional storyteller.

"There will be a stand featuring traditional canal art, along with artists and craftspeople demonstrating everything from stained glass to jewellery making, and selling their wares.

"The children (young and old!) love watching the blacksmith and we will light the Wealdon iron furnace on the day which always draws a crowd. Of course, the Old Kiln Light Railway will be operating too."

Farming of the past will be a focus throughout the day with displays of sheep shearing, winnowing, bee-keeping, dowsing, stick-making and brewing.

June 2015

Queens Award Logo

Top award for the Rural Life Centre

Everyone at the Rural Life Centre in Tilford has been keeping a secret for weeks: the museum of country life hasbeen awarded one of the most prestigious awards in the world of volunteering - the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

This unique UK national honour was created over a decade ago by Her Majesty The Queen to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and to recognise the outstanding contributions that groups of volunteers make to local communities. It has an equivalent status for voluntary groups as the MBE has for individuals.

The citation reads:

The Rural Life Centre (Old Kiln Museum Trust) for working to educate and inform the public about village life c.1750 to 1970 through the Rural Life Centre.

The museum's small staff, Rustics and volunteers have been over the moon about the award, but have had to keep silent until it was officially revealed in The Gazette, the official public record on 2 June.

Chris Shepheard, the museum's director, said:

"The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is well deserved by the many museum volunteers who support the Rural Life Centre and what it does. Without them it would be impossible for the museum to achieve its goal.

"We have a very small professional staff who these dedicated volunteers support in all manner of ways from documenting the collection and keeping it clean and presentable to looking after the structure and grounds, and totally running the education department that welcomes almost 100 school and youth groups to the Tilford museum each year."

May 2015

Tractors galore!

Tractor Rally

If you love tractors, head for the Rural Life Centre next weekend. On Saturday on Saturday and Sunday, 30-31 May, these wonderful workhorses will be the main attraction at Tilford's museum of village life during a rally organised by the Central Southern Vintage Agricultural Club (CSVAC).

The event was initiated in 2012 and its popularity with exhibitors and visitors has grown ever since. This year, it will celebrate the golden anniversary of David Brown selectamatic range, and the organisers are hoping to attract 50 of these fine vehicles to mark the milestone.

The stationary engine rally will feature stationary engines of all sizes, shapes and ages, some dating back to the beginning of the last century. "They will be demonstrating the important jobs they carried out during their working lives," say the organisers. "The pops, bangs and smells will take you back to another era!" Another feature for 2015 will be the horizontal tractor section.

'Tunes from the Trenches' with John Kirkpatrick at the Rural Life Centre 6 June

John Kirkpatrick - Folk Singer

FOLK music maestro John Kirkpatrick has become a firm favourite at the Rural Life Centre. On his two previous visits, in 2013 and 2014, he presented 'A Victorian Farmer's Year in Song', but this year he will be returning to the Tilford-based museum of village life with a kitbag full of 'Tunes From The Trenches'.

The museum will resound to John's musical wartime reflections. His show has been popular all over the country, and he is bringing it to the Rural Life Centre on Saturday 6th June. This is the ideal venue for him - a place where traditional music and affection for the past blend in perfect harmony.

John Kirkpatrick is one of this country's most accomplished and respected folk musicians. He won the Musician of the Year accolade at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and has appeared with numerous folk band and groups over the years, including Steeleye Span and the Albion Band, in addition to the innovative Brass Monkey.

Tunes From The Trenches will look back at both World Wars, when this country was battling for its future, and will offer melodic reminders of how the troops and civilians used music as a way to make life more pleasant.

Tickets cost £10 each and are available from the Rural Life Centre on 01252 795571. Ploughman's suppers at £7 will also be served and should be booked at the same time as the gig tickets.

April 2015

VE Day celebrations at the Rural Life Centre

Making Plans for War

WWII re-enactors will be bringing the excitement of VE Day to the Rural Life Centre 9-10 May

For the past few years the sights and sounds of battle have come to the Rural Life Centre in Tilford each May, in the form of a World War II re-enactment weekend that has attracted visitors to the outdoor museum from far and wide.

This year, says organiser Dave Allaway, peace is breaking out! The 9-10 May weekend sees the re-enactors commemorating the 70th anniversary of VE Day with a victory parade on both days and lots of opportunities for young and old alike to wave their flags in celebration of Victory in Europe 1945.

"Of course, there won't be any air raid sirens as in previous years," said Dave, "but old favourites such as the American Airborne division, the wartime vehicles, the '40s music and dance floor, and the RAF plotting room will be there."

The atmosphere at this two-day event is always special, but with victory as the theme, it promises to be even more memorable this year.

Families are welcome to bring a picnic or enjoy a meal or snack in the museum's café. All the buildings and exhibits will be open.

March 2015

Easter fun at the Rural Life Centre

Easter Bonnet

Children in search of an Easter chick hunt need look no further than the Rural Life Centre at Tilford.

The museum's 10-acre site is the ideal place for exploring and will offer plenty of scope for adventure, excitement and discovery.

The fun takes place on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, 5-6 April, when adults will have the chance to see the museum's fine collection of restored buildings and numerous countryside artefacts, as well as taking a look at the current exhibition 'Rowledge in Time and Space, the varied history of Rowledge village'. This is one of a series of exhibitions at the museum highlighting the history of villages in the surrounding area and certainly not one to be missed if you are a Rowledge resident.

Visitors with a head for fashion can participate in the annual Easter bonnet parade on the Monday afternoon. Design and make your own seasonal millinery and see if it shapes up sufficiently to win you a prize.

January 2015

Frimley Cycle Shop 'Rides'Again!

Work on the Rural Life Centre's 'new baby' continues apace 'if the weather stays reasonable, there will be a 100-year-old cycle-workshop cum-garage taking shape there by the time the Tilford museum opens for its summer season on Wednesday 4 March.

In the lead-up to Christmas, the Frimley Green Cycle Workshop, which was donated to the museum complete with tools, cycles and various pieces of specialised equipment accumulated over its 100-year history, was dismantled and brought to the 10-acre site. Thanks to a successful National Lottery application it was possible to hire the Elstead Building Company to dismantle and begin rebuilding the historic building at its new home.

Volunteer, Norman Emblow, who has been leading the project, said, "When we were working at Frimley Green, people were calling in to follow progress and tell us stories about having wheels fixed and punctures repaired." No impersonal Halfords in those far-off days!

"In its time," he continued, "it has been a workshop for a blacksmith, cycle and motorcycle repairs, car repairs and battery charging (for cars and domestic radios) and, of course puncture repairs.

"All this equipment, together with the shelving, benches, a large internal partition, the window shelving in the shop, overhead drive shafting and over 2800 wood block floor tiles had to be carefully removed, itemised and stored at the museum. Fortunately the tiles came up quite easily but it was the loading and unloading at either end that wore us out!"

Teams of volunteers started back in October and in the course of four weeks logged over 400 volunteer hours and 20 lorry trips, clearing the building and storing everything away at the museum.

Looking to the future, the workshop will form one of the stations on the museum's proposed 'transport trail': "We will develop and present a few simple tasks to challenge our visitors," said Norman Emblow. "The workshop could also provide an ideal location for cycle clubs to meet and to give maintenance and safety instruction to their novice riders."

Today, as the walls and roof start to take shape again, the volunteers can see all their hard work beginning to pay off.


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