Friday 1st May 2015

I’ve written about Richard Jefferies and the museum dedicated to his life and works on this blog before. Last summer the museum starting putting on cream teas in the garden and the Mulberry tea room so I put out a post about that. More recently, together with a friend, I went out on an EXPOTITION following a Richard Jefferies trail around Old Town. I’ve so far only got round to publishing Part 1 of that adventure  as life and my AA Editorial Services business have rather got in the way. But I will get to it soon.

So I was really pleased, earlier this week, to attend a lunch event to celebrate the re-launch of the museum. Lunch and launch in one event. Fabulous! Over the winter the Richard Jefferies society and the museum trust comprising such wonderful people as Mike Pringle and Hilda Sheehan have worked hard on new display boards in the museum, the Mulberry Tea Room and the gardens. Below are a few photographs from the event – yet again I’m stalking Madame Mayor! 🙂

If you haven’t been to the museum you really should go. It’s another of Swindon’s hidden gems being tucked away at the back of Coate. On a sunny day the garden is an absolute delightful place to be and is much bigger than you might at first think. Earlier I mentioned cream teas – well the jam for the teas is often made with the fruit from the mulberry tree in the garden about which Jefferies wrote a poem. How wonderful is that? If you are interested in reading any of Jefferies’ works you can find them all in Swindon Central library. I even have one of his childrens’ books ‘Bevis’ on my E-reader.

In his day Jefferies was a celebrated author. He was something of a big-shot in his day. Indeed his childrens’ books were illustrated by none other then E H Sheperd, the man responsible for the delightful illustrations that we know and love from the Winnie the Pooh stories.

The man and his work: “(John) Richard Jefferies (6 November 1848 – 14 August 1887) is best known for his writings about nature and the countryside. His birthplace and home at Coate, now on the out-skirts of Swindon, provide the background to all his major works of fiction and for many of his essays.”

Wikipedia: “His childhood on a small Wiltshire farm had a great influence on him and provides the background to all his major works of fiction. For all that, these show a remarkable diversity, including Bevis (1882), a classic children’s book, and After London (1885), an early work of science fiction. “