A social group promoting the history and amenities of Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire

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Stow & District Civic Society


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Friday, 26th July 2019


'Winchcombeshire – the forgotten county'


with Tim Porter


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'The man in the white suit'

Saturday 21st Sep 2019

Theatre Royal, Bath

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Pop Up Museum Event

Keep Saturday 20th August 2016 free.........




                                          Memorabilia to marvel at are being called for to tell the story of Stow-on-the-Wold. Many secrets and surprises could be uncovered if residents of the town and surrounding district answer a unique appeal from Stow and District Civic Society. It aims to unveil historical finds in a ‘pop-up museum’ this summer. The one-off, one-day event – Wool, War and Wonders – will be staged on Saturday, August 20, in St Edward’s Hall. If people show enough enthusiasm for the project – a permanent collection to showcase the town’s evolution could be launched.


Items which highlight people’s involvement in shaping the town’s history are key to this pioneering project. “We don’t necessarily want expensive heirlooms but are looking for things small or large which have stories to them,” explained Stow Civic Society chairman Nigel Surman.


“Many towns and villages in the area have heritage centres or hubs, visitor experiences or a ‘museum’ as it was once known,” he said. “The need for a museum in Stow has been long voiced. A number of collectors have already been approached to research the project’s feasibility – and we’re confident we can put on a great show.


“Now we’d like to ascertain the true level of local interest and support.  Importantly this taster will bring items together, albeit for a short time, for local people to admire. If the success of this event results in us needing to seek grants and other financial support for a more permanent facility, then it’s of huge importance to collate and record as much memorabilia and artefacts in the area and in county collections as possible. Some could be on show at our event or called upon as needed if local support shows the appetite for a lasting collection.”


The ‘pop-up’ was the brainchild of Simon Clarke, co-owner of Christopher Clarke antiques, and a civic society member who’s worked closely with fellow committee member Derek Taylor. A town museum is their cherished ambition. Simon has been amassing his own treasure trove and wants to inspire others. “Items have to be specific to Stow – not something like grandma’s old teapot bought in Woolworths in Cheltenham in the 1960s,” he said.


“We chose wool as one subject as Stow was a market town selling lots of wool from dealers all around the area. The original town’s ‘wool weights’ are on show in St Edward’s Hall. Someone whose granddad or great granddad worked in the trade may have a shepherd’s crook, for instance.  War is an obvious topic as the town was the site for The Battle of Stow, the last major skirmish in the first Civil War, in 1646. The Christie Crawfurd Collection is also exhibited in St Edward’s. But there’s also the 1st and 2nd World Wars, and others such as the Boer and Crimea, in which Stow people may have served and families could have medals and uniforms etc.  


“Wonders covers all the other wonderful things we hope to discover. For instance, I would love it if we could find connections with the leatherworkers, once based in Stow. We also had clockmakers, such as Walter Archer who was working around 1700.”


People’s items can include objects, old photos, art work, diaries, books, and things people have made whilst living in Stow.


Simon’s collection ranges from early 1900s postcards and photos to a Maugersbury ½ mile directional road sign, sawn-off to confuse potential German invaders during the 2nd World War.


Advanced cataloguing of exhibits will be done by Simon Clarke and Cynthia Duval, a former museum curator.  

7. CF St Eds 12  SC Pop Up Stocks trimmed 15. SC objects trimmed

By the Stocks in Stow Square, with historical items from St Edward’s Hall and Simon Clarke:


L to R: back row, Stella Kanfer Clarke, The Cotswold School, holding an ale tasters quart measure; Nigel Surman with Bec de Corbin (Raven’s beak) and halberd Pole Arms; Alice Stubbs, The Cotswold School, with 19th century enamel sign for ‘Green’s mineral water Stow-on-the-Wold’; front row, Gabby Clarke, Bourton-on-the-Water Girl Guides and The Cotswold School, with late 1900s Horne Bros tea canister, Stow; Maxine Kanfer Clarke, Stow Primary School, with Maugersbury sign, and Simon Clarke with 16th century two-handed German sword.

Part of Simon’s collection including an 1834 framed ‘Reward’ poster, a glass bottle from Strong Chemist, Stow, circa 1940, and various old Stow photos.

Outside the entrance to St Edward's Hall where the event will be held on 20 August 2016.