Founded: 2012 Governance: Independent trust Scope: Local history Visited: Autumn 2018
not much to Belford, to be honest, especially on a wet and windy
afternoon in October. It used to be a big deal in mid-Northumberland,
the area's farmers convening for its markets, travellers using its inns
and hosting all the businesses which helped a rural economy function.
But I felt blown along the pavement from one early-closed shop front to
makes Belford Museum all the more remarkable. It's a completely
volunteer effort funded originally by a Lottery grant in 2012 and
opened that year in the old Reading Room, itself a relic of
aristocratic philanthropy from the long past. I'd
only ended up
there at all after discovering that a museum I wanted to visit
somewhere else no longer existed (if it ever had) and picking up a
leaflet about Belford's in a tourism information centre. I discovered
within the unassuming grey stone exterior a proud symbol of community
identity, packed with detail (there's a lot on those information
panels) and an exhibition about World War One coinciding with the
centenary of the 1918 Armistice. Apparently the displays change
was hugely impressed that a small community can produce something of
this kind, but it was a slightly unnerving visit. I didn't encounter a
single other human being, visitor or volunteer. It seems as though they
open up, check the loo and then leave, perhaps trusting that anyone
interested enough to hunt the museum out won't be up to no good.
Perhaps I ought not to advertise that, come to think of it.