UTTOXETER Heritage Centre has been officially re-opened and renamed as large crowds joined in the celebrations.
The opening of Redfern’s Cottage: Museum of Uttoxeter Life, in Carter Street, was presided over by the town’s MP Andrew Griffiths where he praised the Uttoxeter Heritage Trust, the charity formed to manage the cottage.
He also expressed his admiration for the community spirit which was ‘clearly evident by the large crowd of people’ who had gathered for the opening.
It was a double celebration as a cheque for £3,500 was presented through Staffordshire County Council’s Local Community Fund to support the setting up of the museum.
The trust said the money should go a long way towards improving what the museum offers its visitors, in particular the re-branding of the museum, purchase of equipment and publicity materials.
Entertainment and activities included historical drama and music in the courtyard provided by the St Mary’s Players and Uttoxeter musician Fred Hopwood.
Inside the museum visitors had the opportunity to get involved in historic crafts such as rug-ragging and spinning and younger guests spent time making fluffy spiders and prickly flies, after hearing the poem Come in to my Parlour said the Spider to the Fly, written by 18th century poet Mary Howitt, of Balance Street, Uttoxeter.
Trustee Laura Wigg-Bailey said: “The town crier, Ken Smith, was in full voice around the town and was fundamental in alerting shoppers to the event going on just along Carter Street.
“The weather was kind to those wishing to browse the craft and plants stalls or enjoy a cup of tea and one of the wide ranges of homemade cakes, generously produced by the new cohort of volunteers which have steadily rallied to the cause of keeping our museum open for all.
“Many people wishing to become members of the charitable trust came forward on the day as they learnt that this would entitle them to free entry all year round for a fee of £8 or £5 only.
“The day was a resounding success for many reasons not least in raising the profile of the museum within the town and helping to raise much needed funds which will go towards improving the visitor experience and keeping this fabulous building open for future generations.”
Town, borough and county councillor Geoff Morrison said “It was a great day for Uttoxeter as the new museum was launched in a blaze of sunshine and publicity.
“We are very lucky to have our own quality museum and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to kick start the venture with funds from my local community fund.
“The trust have the skills and determination to make this ancient building a living, thriving link between Uttoxeter’s past and its future.” The museum will be open from 1pm to 4pm on Tuesday to Saturday, staffed entirely by volunteers.