A MUSEUM is set to re-open this Spring after an extensive refurbishment. Redfern's Cottage Museum of Uttoxeter Life has been closed since Christmas 2016 to allow for the refurbishment at the Carter Street venue to be carried out. The heritage centre is soon set to offer a small self-service cafe, a community life zone, and seven interactive galleries on domestic life, the civil wars, markets, religious dissent and the making of the modern town as well as an interactive and sensory garden.
It was in 2013, when the Redfern’s Cottage trust, which has ten members, put the first phase bid into the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and following subsequent stages, they were successful in gaining a £950,000 grant for the project to refurbish the 400-year-old premises.
Trustee Laura Wigg-Bailey, who has been involved at Redfern’s for 10 years, said: “We have also been well supported by other organisations such as Uttoxeter Town Council, East Staffordshire Borough Council, and JCB for which we are very grateful.”
Building work began in May last year and has involved two elements: the conservation and restoration of the original 17th century building, including rewiring and changing of the lay-out to make it more accessible, and also a new build element into the court yard introducing a kitchen area.
Laura said: “There is a bit more building work to complete, but very much snagging now.
“We will then be having a number of prelaunch events in March to road-test the exhibitions and the new layout, ahead of the official launch in April.”
Laura added: “Redfern’s Cottage means so much to the people of Uttoxeter, especially the trustees and volunteers.
“We have been talking and planning for this project for around ten years and it’s been a real rollercoaster.
“At one moment, we didn’t have the money for the project, and if it hadn’t been for the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project would have collapsed.
“The museum hadn’t been in that much of a bad state of repair but the product was not good enough to be a modern museum.
“There was so many wonderful things about it already, but it was just not good enough to sustain visitor numbers.
“The building was not fit for purpose, but now it is.”
There are currently around 40 active volunteers ready to help relaunch Redfern’s Cottage.
Redfern’s Cottage volunteer, Andy Castle, added: “It was a really lovely building which needed restoration. When I first came in here, it felt a lot smaller.”
Andy, who has been helping at the heritage venue since 2014, has volunteered in many aspects of the museum including in the shop, as marketing assistant, assistant curator, and fund-raising.
He added: “I started volunteering here because I wanted to get more work experience.
“I find volunteering here very rewarding and I like that it involves learning about the history of Uttoxeter.”
Laura added: “We would like to thank everyone involved especially our wonderful volunteers.
“And also all the suppliers and contractors who have all worked really hard and the organisations which have donated.”
To keep up to date on what’s happening at Redfern’s Cottage, go online to www.redfernscottage.org.
We are the only family run, independent newspaper and magazine business in Staffordshire, established 1896. We are home to three weekly newspapers – The Cheadle and Tean Times (aka The Stunner), The Uttoxeter Echo and The Leek & Moorlands Echo.
We also produce Peeps into the Past, a bi-monthly nostalgic glimpse into our photographic archives, and three bi-monthly glossy lifestyle magazines – Stone and Eccleshall Life, Leek Life and Newcastle Life.
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18 Tape Street, Cheadle, Staffs ST10 1BD
5 Church Street, Uttoxeter, Staffs ST14 8AG
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