Inside the museum

Inspecting the album showing visit of King & Queen in 1921

New Museum in Surrey

Whiteley Village Museum and Visitor Centre held an Open Day on Sunday 30th September immediately following the Founders Day Service. The Open Day was held to introduce residents to the refurbished building housing the museum, which until 1999 was a Roman Catholic Chapel, and to display items already collected. Some of the funds for refurbishment were provided by Cargill Plc, and most of the work was carried out by the Works Dept of The Whiteley Homes Trust.

Whiteley Village near Walton-on-Thames is a village for retired people built in the Arts & Crafts style, and set in 250 acres of woodland. The village was built thanks to a legacy of £1 million left by William Whiteley, the founder of Department Stores, following his murder in 1907. The Guest of Honour at the Open Day was Mrs Sheila Geary, who is a great great granddaughter of William Whiteley. Mrs Geary kindly loaned many family items to the museum including a photo album showing the visit of the King and Queen in 1921, 5 photo albums created by her grandmother who was Whiteleys granddaughter, and many other items too numerous to list.

Recently villagers founded the Whiteley Village Historical Society which is now responsible for the day to day running of the Museum. The objects of the Society are to research and document the life and works of William Whiteley, the Village and its residents, and the Arts & Crafts Movement. It is also the intention to have a Living History project to produce digital recordings of existing and future residents.

The WVHS would be very interested in hearing from anybody who may have objects, photos, films etc relating to Whiteleys that they would be prepared to lend or donate to the Museum. They would also be interested in hearing stories from friends and relatives of earlier residents.

It is planned to open the museum from Spring next year to pre-booked groups such as historical societies and schools.

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An inaugural meeting of this Society was held on 7th June 2012.

The main objects of the Society include researching the history of the village and its residents. The main activity will be operating the Museum and Visitor Centre on behalf of the Whiteley Village Homes Trust.

Membership of the society will be limited to residents of the village and employees of the Trust, but Associate Membership will be available to others able to offer knowledge or experience useful in furthering the aims of the Society.

In early June there will be a meeting of Villagers from Whiteley Village to create The Whiteley Village Historical Society, which will amongst other things look after day to day running of the Whiteley Village Museum.

Once the society is constituted we will start looking in earnest for objects of interest as well as pictues and documents to display in the Museum.

More soon

Getting Real.

After ages in the planning, it looks as if the Whiteley Village Museum might actually happen soon.

Premises almost ready, and we are starting to look for objects, photos, & films that we can use as exhibits.

Need to find a good (cheap) way of scanning documents bound in books.

Whiteley Village in Surrey was founded from a bequest in the will of William Whiteley, who was the founder of Whiteleys Department Store. His bequest in 1908 was for £1 million.

He was murdered by somebody claiming to be his illegitimate son, and his murderers trial was the first to be held at the new Central Criminal Court (The Old Bailey). He was sentenced to death but following a massive public outcry his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

The village was designed in the Arts & Crafts style, and 7 different architects were used who each designed a section. Set in almost 250 acres of woodland the Village is a designated Conservation Area and most of the buildings (including even individual lampposts) are Grade II listed.

I live in a unique retirement village in Surrey called Whiteley Village.

This village was built in the Arts & Crafts style in the early 1900’s using a one million pound bequest from the will of William Whiteley, the founder of Whiteleys Department Store.

We are planning to open a Museum, wholly staffed by volunteers from the Village. The subjects dealt with will be Whiteley Village itself, William Whiteley and the Arts & Craft Movement. Most of what we need to display in the museum is presently contained within bound books, and we need to get advice as to the best way to scan these documents for display purposes.

Any advice from persons who have experience in this field will be much appreciated.