Volunteer stumbles upon family link

It’s a small world! While using the museum’s Victorian Census database to research the history of a friend’s shop on Mill Street, our volunteer Ken Law found a connection to his own family! Turns out, a friend of his mother was at one time either the proprietor of a shop at that address or she lived above it! To find out more about the museum’s research facilities click here.

What is this object??

The unusual item pictured below was recently donated to the museum. We honestly don’t know what it is! The only clue might be that it was found in a barn. The straps and neck piece (?) are made of leather, with six long metal spikes attached to the front. Can anyone identify what it was used for?

Harness & Spikes


Congleton Love Poem

One of our volunteers, Jamie Campbell, has just discovered the love poem pictured

Congleton Love Poembelow in our archives. The author is unknown, however based on the style of handwriting and exaggerated sentimentality, it’s thought to date from c.1800-1900.(Note, there is a collection of similar poems called ‘The Congleton Alphabet’). It reads in part…

For ladies fair, tis true Lancashire’s fam’d ,
But Fame Asserts sometimes ought be flam’d:
Congleton’s self the Privilege can boast
Whose every Lady claims a favourite Toast,
Miss N—y W—d an Object of our Praise,
And far too much t’attempt in Humble Lays;
Celestial Shape! In Beauty she may vie,
With Greece’s Hellen, seated now on high!

Town Oaths book

Hi, my name is Becksy. I am a student at Sandbach High School and I have been volunteering at Congleton Museum for just under a month. With my love of history, it has been very interesting to learn in depth about local history and particularly the history of Congleton … something which isn’t taught in schools!

Whilst at the museum, I have been working with Ian (museum chair), looking at a book of Town Oaths which date back to 1841 (see image below). My project involves transcribing the original Oath documents into a computer to ensure that the documents are more accessible to volunteers and visitors alike. At first it was quite difficult trying to understand both the traditional language and handwriting, but after a few pages, the words began to become familiar. It has been great to have the opportunity to handle and gain some experience of using primary sources.

My first month at the museum has been great! Excuse the cliché – but here you really do learn something every visit!

Oath Book

Research library

The museum has some rare books and manuscripts in its research library. A team of volunteers has been trained to support visitors in their search for people, places and publications. The library will be staffed from 1200 to 1600 on Tuesdays,Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Other times/days can be arranged by prior appointment.

Access to the library during these times is free to Friends of the Museum. Other visitors will have the first half hour free then a charge will be made. If anyone wishes a member of the research team to undertake research on their behalf, please enquire as to cost.