Museums & Galleries
The Fens provides a wide variety of Museums and Art Galleries.
Overlooking the river Welland stands the jewel in Spalding’s crown, Ayscoughfee Hall and Gardens, which were acquired by the town to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The beautiful late medieval hall once belonged to a wool merchant. It has just been refurbished and opened to the public again. Spalding also boasts a Romany Museum, displaying a collection of Romany caravans, harnesses etc., and photographs dating back 150 years.
The ‘Cultural Quarter’ of Boston can be found just south of the Market Place beside the river Witham. The first building you will see is the spectacular Shodfriars Hall with its half-timbered 15th Century-style overhanging gables. Passing the Old Customs House you will find Spain Lane, which is the home of the excellent Blackfriars Arts Centre. This is a 13th Century building that today presents a wide range of artistic activities including live concerts, theatre, exhibitions, films and workshops for the performing arts.
Opposite the 15th Century Guildhall Museum, which is presently closed to allow major conservation work to be carried out, is the Sam Newson Music Centre. This former seed warehouse has been carefully converted and is now used by the Music Department of Boston College. Concerts are held in the magnificent recital hall throughout the year.
There are numerous Art and Craft Galleries in the Fens, including paintings, sculpture and pottery. A selection of locally produced arts and crafts are available for sale in the Fenscape Tourist Information Centre at the new Springfields Outlet Shopping Centre and Festival Gardens, in Spalding.
The four Fenland market towns of Wisbech, March, Whittlesey and Chatteris all have their own local museums.
Visiting the Wisbech & Fenland Museum is like taking a step back in time to the heyday of the Victorian era. Alongside the displays of porcelain, pottery and bygones are some treasures of national importance including the manuscript of Charles Dickens ‘Great Expectations’.
The Birthplace House of Octavia Hill is also in Wisbech. The ‘museum’ celebrates the life and work of a woman who was a crusader for heritage and housing and a founder of the National Trust.
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