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Beck Isle Museum, Pickering

Founded: 1967        Governance: Independent Trust        Scope: Local history    Visited: Autumn 2015

The situation of Beck Isle Museum could hardly be bettered, a big Georgian house with rambling outbuildings on a green beside the flowing waters of the Pickering Beck which runs past beneath a gorgeous old bridge. It is, as its website tells you, 'deceptively big' and is packed with a great variety of stuff, although once I was past the welcome board consisting of a Bo-Peep-type Victorianish little girl in a bonnet and discovered how much the entrance charge was, I did hesitate before taking the plunge and going in. This is another museum that has wonderful opportunities in its location and collection which it doesn't exploit as much as it could: the history of the house and its inhabitants feature almost not at all and Pickering itself is a near-absent presence in the displays; the promise of the glorious printer's workshop downstairs is rather unfulfilled. Upstairs we have a mock street-scene of the sort pioneered in this country by York Castle Museum thirty years and more before the museum society of Pickering got going with Beck Isle, but, with a couple of exceptions, the recreated shops don't represent actual Pickering businesses, fun though they may be (especially the gents' outfitters, which does apparently have some local precedent). The best bit of local colour comes in the display about the nearby mines you find in one of the outbuildings. Nevertheless, turn after turn brings a glimpse of something amusing and intriguing. The 'Mementoes of the Cropton Lane Murders' are impressively desperate: a framed group of twigs.

Beck Isle Museum, PickeringBeck Isle Museum, PickeringBeck Isle Museum, Pickering
Beck Isle Museum, PickeringBeck Isle Museum, PickeringBeck Isle Museum, Pickering
Beck Isle Museum, PickeringBeck Isle Museum, PickeringBeck Isle Museum, Pickering
Beck Isle Museum, PickeringBeck Isle Museum, Pickering
Beck Isle Museum, Pickering

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