Winter 2016

Virtual Vagaries

This autumn saw the completion of two long-term digital projects at the museum. We are very pleased to announce the latest development for our smart phone app. It is not only a useful tool for discovering more about the history of the area whilst wandering around the Borough as it can now be used whilst visiting the museum as a gallery guide.

The latest development by Surface Impressions, Brighton, allows us to offer additional information to those who are keen to know more about some of our star objects on display. Visitors are encouraged to keep their mobile phones handy as they wander through the exhibitions so that when they spy a three-digital object code they can type the number into their handsets and access detailed images and supporting information.

Whilst we appreciate that not everyone has a smartphone, it is definitely the way things are going, but fear not, the information is also available via our research room, and our free Wi-Fi means if you don’t have the app you can easily download it - it’s also free! 

We can also announce that our long-running project to document the Great War in the Borough through the pages of the Surrey Herald has finally culminated in the publication of a new section to our website. The pages - give users access to somewhere in the region of 4,000 images taken by volunteer Jim Knight as part of our century commemorations.

This collection of images has been a labour of love for all concerned and it’s gratifying that it is now available to interested parties across the world, and not just limited to those visiting the museum. Whilst our commemorations have taken a back seat for a while, the Runnymede Remembered project continues.

We are already looking ahead to 2018 when we will be marking the end of the First World War with an exhibition exploring the impact it had on the Borough and how the area changed in its aftermath. To this end, our survey of the Surrey Herald newspaper continues, adding to our knowledge of the development of the Borough towns and adding many, many more photos to our archive!

Both these projects were made possible with financial support from The Friends of Chertsey Museum. The Friends not only fund the free Wi-Fi access in the museum, but they were also responsible for the production of both the app and the website having obtained grant funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.




New to the Fashion Collection

Robe de Style attributed to Jeanne Lanvin, c.1925. Image © Kerry Taylor Auctions

The Olive Matthews Fashion Collection have added a number of new items to their holdings over the last few months. We were successful in acquiring a dress by Mary Quant from the early 1960s. Made from grey wool with a quirky school uniform style tie and belt in black and white, it is typical of her early work, which was so different from the impractical tight-waisted romantic styles of the New Look  still worn by the majority of women at the time. A man’s black wool tailcoat was also secured. This dates from the mid 19th century and is a rare survival. It incorporates a number of tailoring details which will be of great interest to students of menswear. A women’s outfit by the ‘Mr Freedom’ boutique of London has been added to the collection. This consists of a pair of flared trousers and a green velvet jacket with yellow buttons - the bold colours and exuberant lines are very ‘early 1970s’. By this time it was becoming much more normal for women to wear trousers both on a practical level and as fashion items. Both this outfit and the Mary Quant will be incorporated into our forthcoming Fashion and Freedom exhibition (opening September 2017), which explores women’s emancipation (or otherwise) through dress. Finally, a pair of men’s winklepicker boots were acquired. These date from the mid 1960s and are reminiscent of the boots worn by the Beatles (minus the Cuban heels). They were made by a firm called ‘Denson’, which capitalised on the market for stylish men’s footwear as favoured by the Mods. Winklepickers were so called because the pointed toe was compared to the pin required to get winkles out of their shells. They were a complete change from the crepe soled ‘brothel creepers’ favoured by the Rockers of the 1950s, and also took their inspiration from the pointed footwear of the Medieval period.


Olive Matthews Collection Trust Update

Valerie Cuming

After thirteen years as Chair of the Olive Matthews Collection Valerie Cumming announced her retirement from the Trust earlier this year, and she officially stepped down on 31st October. Her association with the museum stretches to its early days when it was still in the Old Town Hall and her job title was “Assistant”!


With the formation of the Trust, the subsequent agreement with Runnymede Borough Council and the move to The Cedars, Valerie became our first ever Curator of Costume - a role that stood her in good stead when she went on to become the first Assistant Keeper of Costume at the Museum of London and then the first Curator of the Court Dress Collection at Kensington Palace.


In 2003 Valerie became Chair of the Trustees and since that time has been a wonderful advocate for the museum, a champion in times of need, a source of advice, and a safe pair of hands for Olive Matthew’s legacy. As Valerie steps down from her official role we are pleased that she will continue with costume advise when needed, and will remain in touch.

Valerie, we thank you and wish you well in your retirement.


The Friends of Chertsey Museum

Dear Museum Friends

It’s hard to believe Christmas is almost upon us when memories of summer are still fresh. Highlights for me included a great trip to Battle Benedictine Abbey and Hastings – the weather was kind to us and it was a very interesting and enjoyable day.  It was also fun staffing the museum stall on Black Cherry Fair day in July, we engaged with lots of local people and managed to win (jointly) the Best Dressed Stall prize and have the certificate and £25 to show for it! Friends also staffed an information and shop stall on the Viking Re-enactment day, we stopped counting when numbers reached 550, it was lovely to see so many people enjoying the event.   

The October AGM saw us giving thanks to Lorna Dalgleish and Tim Hardesty as they stepped down from the Committee.  Their more than a decade each serving on the committee and their dedication to and support of the museum over the years, was very much appreciated.  And we are delighted to welcome Heather Graham and Jim Knight who bring their enthusiasm for the museum and the Runnymede locale to the Committee.   

I’m looking forward to Paul Hardy, from Discover History, speaking about Christmas Through the Ages on Saturday 19th November and also to the Museum Carol Service on Monday 12th December.  We start 2017 with a talk on Saturday 28th January from Jocelyn Barker on the Daniells Family of Chertsey and Addlestone (mineral water and postcards). On Sunday 12th March we have arranged an afternoon tour of Royal Holloway which includes afternoon tea. Richard Williams will lead the tour and give a talk about the Portrait Gallery. I look forward to seeing some of you at the above mentioned events.  

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.  

Chris Dunster, Chairman


Christmas Countdown!

In November we were lucky enough to receive a grant to work with retail consultant Alison Gilfoyle from the South East Museums Development Fund. After an afternoon quizzing us on our procedures, customers and aspirations Alison started the process of redisplaying our existing stock. As a result, our Christmas stock is now available! So, if you’re looking for those little stocking fillers, why not pop along to the museum and see what we have to offer?!


Alison will continue to work with us, coming up with new ways of doing things, and new stock we can sell. So, watch this space and remember to visit us if you’re looking for an unusual gift.


Margaret Robinson

Self Portrait, Margaret Robinson

As most of you will by now know, our friend and near neighbour, Margaret Robinson, sadly died on 3rd October. She was a wonderful puppeteer and artist, and we are lucky enough to have a number of pieces by her in our collection, together with her wedding dress and going-away outfit.


Margaret was a great supporter of local artists too, and a group met weekly at her house in Windsor Street to practice their techniques together. To show their affection for her, they have decided to give donations towards our garden redesign project so that we may buy a bench or a tree in Margaret’s memory.


The garden, whilst looking a bit bare at the moment, will be completed by the summer ready for Black Cherry Fair.


10 Green Bottles & Other Things

Daniells Bottle

The Friends Committee have started drawing up their programme of events for next year, and we hope that you’ll find them varied and interesting.


First up in 2017 will be Jocelyn Barker’s talk on the Daniells of Addlestone and Chertsey which will take place on Saturday 28th January. Frank Daniells came to Surrey in the early 1890s to take over a mineral water factory in Addlestone, later moving to larger premises in a former Chertsey brewery.  He became a prominent figure in local life, including a year as Chairman of Chertsey Urban District Council.  His brother Robert worked with him until about 1913 when he went to Dorking to run another mineral water factory.  Frank’s wife, Elizabeth, opened her own business in a shop in Station Road and published a highly-regarded series of local postcards. 


Jocelyn’s talk will explore their lives and businesses and also the history of the factories where they worked, with a slight detour into the history of local breweries!  It will also look at Elizabeth’s shop, her postcards and the photographers who supplied the images she used.


Other events to look forward to include a wonderful opportunity to visit the Picture Gallery at Royal Holloway College on 12th March 2017 with a tour by Richard Williams, followed by afternoon tea.


We will, of course mail out details of all our events nearer the time, but information about all future events can also be found on our website at


New Acquisitions

Holloway Advert

Thanks to The Friends of Chertsey Museum we have acquired an original 1850s advertisement for Thomas Holloway’s ointment. Holloway (1800-1883) was the son of an ex-sailor and a farmer’s daughter. He began to make ointments and pills in 1837, claiming their use could cure a number of ailments. Thomas became a driving force behind the establishment of the pharmaceutical industry, and was a pioneer of mass advertising. He first advertised in newspapers in 1837, and by 1842 his annual advertising expenditure was over £5,000. It is therefore of little surprise that by 1855 Holloway had become a household name, and his business had expanded world wide.


In 1872, Thomas formed an important partnership with the architect William Crossland, and the following year, work began on Holloway’s Sanatorium (now Crossland House) at Virginia Water. The asylum for 200 paying patients was opened in 1885 by Edward, Prince of Wales, and the building continued to be used as a hospital until 1981. Holloway was a champion of female education, and decided to build a college for women in 1874 to provide the middle and upper classes with the best possible schooling. The college was founded in 1883 and Thomas died in December of that year. The Royal Holloway College, Egham, was opened by Queen Victoria in 1886, and the first 28 female students arrived in 1887.


In recent months we have also been given a large number of maps which will prove very useful in bringing our cartography collection up to date. The first group of maps came from Mrs. Boyd and had belonged to her husband, Carl, who sadly died earlier this year. The maps, and accompanying correspondence with the Highways Agency, date from the 1970s and 1980s and relate to the proposed building of the M25. It was particularly serendipitous that we should receive them now as October marked the 30th anniversary of its completion.


The other new collection consists of over 100 Ordnance Survey maps of the Borough from the 1980s and 1990s which were given to us by David Wareham from local property management firm, Pearce & Co. It will take some time for us to go through them all and fully catalogue them, but when they are done they will provide an amazing insight into how the towns of the Runnymede area grew and expanded during a time of incredible urban development.