Exhibitions during 2019

Main current exhibition:

From September 14th 2019

Public Water in Sleaford

This important exhibition is in association with Sleaford Civic Trust’s work on the renovation and renewal of the Bristol Water Fountain in the market place.  This new exhibition was unveiled in Saturday Sept. 14th, the first of two ‘Heritage Open Days’ weekends.

The Bristol Water Fountain was built in 1874 to celebrate the sixth Earl and second Marquess of Bristol, who owned large portions of land in the town and collected rent from the residents.  It has been left derelict for more than 90 years, but is currently being restored.  The fountain, which is now owned by NKDC, was switched off in 1927 after the local springs which fed it began to dry up.  The project, which has been spearheaded by Sleaford Civic Trust, has been in the pipeline for years, but faced delays due to lack of funds.  Works to restore the fountain started on Monday, April 29, after it received a £34,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery to fund the renovations.  The beautifully refurbished Water Fountain will be re-opened by the current Marquis of Bristol on Friday 4th October 2019, after which he will tour the Museum.

This exhibition gives information on the history of the fountain and the importance of public clean water supplies in Victorian England, as well as charts its decline and the reasons for its renovation.  Children in local schools are being included in the celebration of its restoration, and the Museum is involved in this aspect of the project too.



Other current exhibitions:

Remembrance – The Home Front

Although it was the men who went off to fight the war, the people left behind at home also had an important part to play in the war. The Home Front is the name given to the effect of the war on people’s everyday lives.

Food rationing was introduced by the government to ensure that everyone had a fair share of what was available.  Vegetables were not rationed but were often in short supply. People who had gardens were encouraged to plant vegetables instead of flowers. The government called this ‘Digging for Victory’ and produced posters to persuade people that they were helping to win the war by planting vegetables.

As more and more men were ‘called up’ to serve in the forces, women were called upon to take over the jobs traditionally done by men, such as producing aircraft, ammunition, weapons and other goods needed for the war effort.  The women who worked in the fields and on farms were known as Land Girls. They were given a uniform and had to live on the farms where they were sent to work. They worked long hours and the work was hard.


Photo from Express.co.uk (no copyright infringement intended)

Peg Dolls

The Museum is lucky enough to have a large collection of exquisitely dressed and decorated peg dolls. They were made by the late Mrs Joan Fairgrieve of Bracebridge Heath and were generously donated to the Museum by her family.


History of Sleaford Workhouse

Sleaford Poor Law Union was formed in 1834.  Although there had been at least one workhouse in Sleaford before that date, a new purpose-built Workhouse was constructed on Eastgate between 1837-38.  This exhibition charts the development and history of this important local building which sadly no longer exists.



Photography through the ages

A small exhibition of photographic equipment and slides/photographs through the recent past began in March.


Silk Willoughby Aircrash, 4th June 1944

On the 4th of June, 1944, an American B24 Liberator (Sweet Chariot 261) demolished 2 farm buildings at Willoughby Walks.  The occupants of the farm were unhurt and there was no-one on board the aircraft……

This fascinating story is presented in a small exhibition, 75 years after the event.  It also coincided with a Local History talk about the aircrash presented by Mark Bamford on Tuesday 23rd July 2019.

Future Exhibitions

From January 2020:

Sleaford’s Bass Maltings

An exciting major exhibition on the iconic Bass Maltings will be staged from January 2020.

The Bass Maltings in Sleaford are a large group of eight disused malt houses originally owned by the Bass Brewery of Burton upon Trent.  Constructed between 1901 and 1907, the Maltings are the largest group of malt houses in England;  they have been designated Grade II* on the National Heritage List of England recognising them as “particularly important … of more than special interest.”