Welcome to Sleaford Museum…..
Sleaford is a rapidly growing market town with a current population of approximately 17000. Many Roman, Iron Age and Bronze artefacts have been discovered here, some displayed in the British Museum. Situated on the River Slea, the town and district has an interesting and important history to tell but, until 2015, lacked a place to display and promote its past.
It has taken about forty years to achieve this permanent home for Sleaford’s numerous surviving artefacts, during which time many dedicated and professional people have contributed to the preservation of the collection. From the early seventies, when it was in a temporary rented building, to storage in numerous and varied places, the Sleaford Museum Trust was eventually founded in 1994 and ten years later a Virtual Museum was created on the internet.
That Trust, with its Charitable Status and 111 life and paid-up members, is now represented and run by a small, hardworking committee of volunteers. A Heritage Lottery grant finally enabled the committee in 2013-5 to design and open Sleaford Museum in a town council regenerated building. Beautifully situated in Monument Gardens, it proudly achieves the aim of “Sharing Our Stories.”
The Les Gostick Memorial
A memorial mosaic and an art deco style information plaque have been unveiled on the wall of the Museum to honour a long serving member of the town’s Civic Trust and champion of the River Slea, the late Les Gostick. The project was paid for by the Civic Trust and Sleaford Museum, along with private donations, including from Jim Gostick, Les’s son, and was installed by Carre Heritage.
Although originally the idea was for a bronze statue, the mosaic memorial developed from a proposal by Marion Sanders of the NCCD and Pauline Dobson of MosArt. The very attractive wall mounted mosaic initially shows the dried up River Slea with dead fish, moving through to restoration with crystal clear waters and living fish. The mosaic was unveiled by Mayor of Sleaford, Coun. Tony Brand, watched by representatives of the Museum, the Civic Trust and the Gostick family.
Les Gostick was well-known in the town, characteristically doffing his hat to those he met (this appears on the plaque in silhouette). He became Head Postmaster and was most famed for his determination to ‘Save the Slea’. He followed on from Helen Vidal of the Civic Trust who was successful in having the wier by Cogglesford Mill set up in 1977. The river however, was still very low on water – indeed, it dried up completely in warm weather and was becoming an eyesore. Les worked with Harry Gregson to persuade the authorities to install a borehole in 1992 and as a consequence, we no longer have the problems of seasonal drying up in the Slea. It has flourished to become a very attractive area of the town once more and a haven for wildlife.
Next Spring, the Museum and Civic Trust will be mounting a new show called ‘The Gosticks of Sleaford’ to celebrate the life and works of Les.