Boris Johnson To Open Wandsworth Museum

A regional community museum celebrating the social & cultural history of Wandsworth

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Wandsworth Museum will be officially opened by Mr. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport at a launch event at noon on the 1st of September, doors will open to the public on September 3rd.

The former museum was extremely well-loved local and its closure generated enormous public concern and motivation to save it. In 2007, an independent charitable trust was formed to rescue and re-open the new Wandsworth Museum. A defining feature of its rebirth has been the enormous emphasis placed on developing a sustainable, environmentally-conscious museum for the people of Wandsworth.

The new Museum houses a vast collection – ranging from archaeology to historical artefacts to social history to artworks. It pays tribute to the traditional skills and enterprise of the people of Wandsworth as it has evolved from a rural, agricultural idyll to become a centre of industrial expertise in Victorian England to the ever-changing, culturally diverse borough it is today.

Andrew Leitch, Chief Executive of Wandsworth Museum said:
“Thanks to the overwhelming support from the Hintze Trust – the main financial benefactor to the museum - to the Friends of Wandsworth Museum to Wandsworth Council – we have ensured its place in history for future generations. Today Wandsworth Museum houses an enormous and eclectic collection which explores the compelling and dramatic story of Wandsworth through the ages: showcasing the lives of some of the outstanding personalities who helped to shape its development.”

As well as offering gallery and exhibition spaces, an impressive audio history archive, a research library, archive, community spaces, public gardens and a cafe, the new museum has a dedicated Learning Centre and education team to help Wandsworth schoolchildren explore the rich history of the region from the Ice Age to the present day and beyond.

Andrew Leitch added: 
"The Museum cannot just exist, we must do. We must encourage an active membership. This is the building where people can become part of their history.”  

Locals will be encouraged to donate and bequeath to the museum, photographs and personal items representing an important part of Wandsworth’s human story. 

“Historical artefacts – whether they are the fossil of a woolly mammoth found at Battersea Power Station; a piece of stone from Battersea Baths, a chieftain’s shield discovered in the river at Battersea Bridge or a personal letter sent from the Somme from a soldier to his mother in Wandsworth – they all represent human striving and the day-to-day dreams of people’s lives that would otherwise be buried or lost. It is a testament to the courage and endurance of the people of Wandsworth.” 



August 25, 2010