January 2023


Museum Tea Time Talks.

The Athelstan Museum’s popular teatime talks return again in February. They promise intriguing recollections about Malmesbury and its history.

Bill Reed will deliver the first talk next month. Bill is the man behind the award-winning Malmesbury Voices collection that began in 2015. It currently contains approximately 250 stories, all in the voices of local people.

A Case of Gross Exploitation features the experience of an agricultural labourer in Malmesbury and recollections about Cracker Clark owner of Abbey Mill Farm. The labourer was Frank Grimshaw and highlights working conditions at the farm in the late 1950s.

Museum Tea Time Talks - Bill Reed
Museum Tea Time Talks – Bill Reed

Bill Reed

Bill, who has a background in educational recording and moved to the Malmesbury area in the 1980s, said:

The people of the town tell their stories in the first person. We started to collect the stories before they became lost forever. These are the stories that aren’t written down and are usually told among families or via personal reminiscences.

In this case it’s interesting to hear what conditions were like for Frank. One stand-out incident was a court case involving Frank and Cracker which took place in 1960.’

Bill Reed received a Personal Achievement Award from The British Association for Local History for the Malmesbury Voices project. The award came in recognition of his extensive and longstanding voluntary work in local history. He explains how his persistence digging came up with surprising results:

I’d always wanted to pull together the complete story. And it was only last year I found the actual court case, brought by the then named Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food against Clark. What I discovered is that what people had told me was true.

Even more curious is that the Turner picture which now hangs in Athelstan Museum shows Abbey Mill Farm where Clark and Grimshaw lived.’

Other tea time talks

Other tea time talks include in March Five years in the Choir of Westminster Abbey and Beyond and in April a talk on Graffiti throughout the ages.

The teatime talk A Case Of Gross Exploitation takes place on Wednesday 8th February and starts at 2.30pm. It costs £6.50 (including tea).

The Athelstan Museum is now known for its own work by the celebrated artist Joseph Mallord William Turner RA (1775-1851). The piece shows an aspect of Malmesbury Abbey and is on permanent display.

Tickets for the talks are on sale at the Town Hall, via the website and at the museum.

For more information visit https://athelstan-museum.arttickets.org.uk/

See here for more about the Malmesbury Turner:

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