Founded: 1960 Governance: Local authority Scope: Local history & costume Visited: Summer 2019
summer I returned to Chertsey Museum after a first visit many years
ago, and had forgotten how good it is! Admission is free, the displays
are well-thought out and varied, and the building is a handsome
Georgian town house, albeit somewhat mucked-about with. Something even
happened which has never befallen me in any other museum: I discovered
the answer to a question that was on my mind when I arrived, the
identity of a small mansion house I encountered in the past and which I
saw mentioned in a display about the vanished life of the country house
in northwest Surrey. The story of Chertsey is entwined with that of its
long-vanished Abbey, and there was a temporary exhibition about that
when I called by.
the special glory of Chertsey Museum is the Olive Matthews Collection,
a nationally-significant accumulation of costume and accessories mainly
dating from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, with some earlier
and later pieces. Miss Matthews began gathering her collection as a
child and kept going until it amounted to over 4000 items. Friends
eventually realised how important it was, helped set up a trust to look
after it, and negotiated an arrangement with Chertsey Urban District
Council (as was) to house it in the Museum.And there it still is, to the delight and edification of all.
I can't remember why there's a case of ancient Greek ceramics. The rest of it makes sense.