Collection Highlights

Set in 10 acres, our living museum has over 30 buildings and approximately 40,000 artefacts.
Rural Life Living Museum - Exhibits

Arcon MK V Prefab

At the end of the Second World War, servicemen returned to a severe housing shortage. The Government’s short-term solution was the construction of pre-fabricated homes. The ‘prefabs’ could be erected with families ready to move in within a day. At the time prefabs were the height of luxury with big windows, a fitted kitchen, an indoor toilet and even central heating. They continued to be used as family homes for much longer than the 10 years that they were originally designed to last. Because of the perceived luxury of the prefabs, many families were reluctant to give them up.
Rural Life Living Museum - Exhibits

Frimley Green Cycle Workshop

The Frimley Green Cycle Workshop is a prime example of how family businesses adapted to social and technological change over the last century. The shop originally began as a blacksmith shop, as bicycles became popular, the family extended their business to include the sale and repair of bicycles. The business later expanded to include a garage and was the first business in the area to sell petrol.
Rural Life Living Museum - Exhibits

Pavilion

The Cricket Pavilion was originally a thatched building built in 1883 at the Holloway Hill recreation ground in Godalming. The way in which the building was able to be dated is by the discovery of one of the original builders’ graffiti when dismantling the building. The building carried a lot of weight because of the scorers’ loft which has only ever been accessible by ladder.
Rural Life Living Museum - Exhibits

Schoolroom

The Schoolroom was built around 1900 at The Bourne School and is typical of a sectional corrugated iron building of the time. It is likely to have been bought from a catalogue, delivered by train and then erected on the school grounds and a lean-to extension was later added. The Schoolroom was in use for many years until it was damaged in the 1987 hurricane when the building actually twisted with the force of the wind on it. Interestingly, Henry, the founder of the museum, attended Bourne school when he was young.
Rural Life Living Museum - Exhibits

Eashing Chapel

In 1857, a group of Eashing residents became alienated with the Congregational Church so they built a prefabricated church on land belonging to the owner of the Eashing paper mill. Services were held in the Church until 1870 when Eashing Chapel became reunited with the Congregational Church. The Chapel was relocated to the other side of the river in approximately 1950 by ‘rolling it across Eashing Bridge’, or so the story goes, where it had a varied history with references being found to it being used as a library, a timber store and even a chicken coop.

Rural Life Living Museum - Exhibits

Tweedsmuir

Tweedsmuir Camp was built in 1941 by the Royal Canadian Engineers in the outskirts of Thursley.In 1945, the Allies placed Poland under Soviet rule. Many soldiers in the Polish Allied Forces under British Command refused to stand down so the government invited them to settle in Britain in declassified bases. In 1947, Tweedsmuir Camp became the living quarters for the Polish Resettlement Corps and was designated as a family camp.

Artefacts

We are currently working to digitise our collection and make it publicly accessible online using the eHive collection management system. We have started by making our favourite objects available so please do have a look and keep an eye out as we progress to make more artefacts available on the website.

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