Museum is constantly being reborn

Octavia Hill's Birthplace House Feature with Richard Clark
Octavia Hill's Birthplace House Feature with Richard Clark
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Wisbech’s Octavia Hill Birthplace House may be closed to the public during the winter months - but behind the scenes it is still a hive of activity.

First of all it is busy with all the clubs and organisations that use it as a venue for meetings including art classes and the Clarkson Singers.

Octavia Hill's Birthplace House Feature

Octavia Hill's Birthplace House Feature

And secondly it is busy with workers creating new and exciting attractions while staff work to update and improve displays.

Peter Clayton, chairman of the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum Trust, explained: “The doors maybe closed but that does not mean we are not doing anything. We are constantly working to freshen up and improve the facility so that there is always something different for people to come and enjoy.

“At the moment we are busy creating a new “Global Room” which will be the climax of a visit. This room will highlight the issues that Octavia Hill worked to improve. I’m not saying she was a visionary, but the problems in society that she saw are still around today, they are just further afield.

“She worked to improve life for the people of Paradise Place one of the nastier slums in London which backed onto Marylebone High Street, one of the richest streets in the city. The rich were not aware of all the poverty that was literally backed on to them. Those awful conditions still exist today. There are women and children working down the mines around the world.

Octavia Hill's Birthplace House Feature with Richard Clark

Octavia Hill's Birthplace House Feature with Richard Clark

“Whether we choose to acknowledge it or whether it is genuine ignorance, it is there. The aim of this room is not to create some sort of shrine to Octavia Hill, but it is echoing her work and showing that there is still need, it is just further away,” explained Peter.

In the meantime work has been continuing in the garden, where there is a heroes walk, highlighting local individuals who did something heroic and saved the lives of others,” said Peter.

And for younger visitors there is also the hedgehog trail, with little figurines of the spikey creatures dotted throughout the house for children and their companions to spot.

“We want people to know we are a family friendly museum, which offers fun and it is not static, but is continually being freshened up and added to ready for when we re-open the third week in March.

Octavia Hill's Birthplace House Feature

Octavia Hill's Birthplace House Feature

“And this summer we will have the added bonus of the Centenary Green created to mark the 100th anniversary of Octavia Hill, which will be a great addition for visitors to our tearooms,” added Peter.

The museum is also slowly building up a collection of multicultural boxes, which local schools can use to help with studies. These include boxes containing artefacts and objects connected to Australian Aborigines as well as various religions.