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Museum of English Rural Life, Reading

Categories: History Museums, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
4.4/5 based on 70 reviews on the web
The Museum of English Rural Life is a museum dedicated to recording the changing face of farming and the countryside in England. It houses designated collections of national importance that span the full range of objects, archives, photographs, film and books.The museum is run by the University of Reading, and is situated in Redlands Road to the rear of the institution's London Road Campus near to the centre of Reading in southern England. The location was formerly known as East Thorpe House and then St. Andrews Hall.History of the museum and its siteThe museum's site was originally occupied by a house known as East Thorpe, designed in 1880 by Alfred Waterhouse for Alfred Palmer (of the Reading biscuit manufacturers Huntley & Palmers). Palmer was an important early benefactor of Reading University and in 1911 East Thorpe was extended to become St Andrews Hall, a hall of residence for women attending the university.The museum itself was founded in 1951, growing out of the university's long academic connections with agriculture. It originally occupied premises on the University of Reading's main Whiteknights Campus.St Andrews Hall closed as a hall of residence in 2001, despite some opposition from current and former members. The site was then redeveloped for the use of the museum, with the cost of £11m being shared by the university, the Heritage Lottery Fund and public donations. The redeveloped museum opened in 2005 and retains the original East Thorpe building, with the addition of an adjoining new building. The two contrasting buildings overlook restored gardens, providing a setting for a rural collection in an urban environment.
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  • Went here with my mom on a Sunday afternoon, nothing on the trip advisor app said it was closed down for refurbishment. Even signs at the place were unclear, saying it would open in 2016. It was a goo...  read more »
  • I have lived in Reading for years without visiting the museum so decided to go finally. It's a lovely place, surprisingly big but with fantastically interesting exhibits. Great for a wet day outing. 
  • A gift shop full of farm animals and it is a shame that a lot of museum is closed for renovation but worth going to see the farming history. 
  • We went here for a day out as a family. Very welcoming and I loved the atmosphere they had created! All of the family enjoyed - they are very accommodating.
  • We highly recommend the museum's room hire facilities. It is an ideal retreat from the office and we are always welcomed warmly.
  • Definitely worth a visit - a surprising variety of things to see with plenty of digestible information available. With limited opening hours on a Saturday, be sure to get there when it opens to take full advantage of the exhibits.
  • Fair service. Good facilities. Great for those with an interest in the topic as it features displays for multiple stages of production and their respective evolutions.
  • Fantastic experience
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