The Mayor of Christchurch, Cllr Mrs Sue Bungey, visited the town’s Red House Museum and Gardens to join the 70th birthday celebrations for both the museum and its Friends association.
The museum, which is operated by charity Hampshire Cultural Trust, hosted a garden party with a range of activities for visitors. The Mayor unveiled a mosaic in the museum’s reception, which was created by staff and volunteers to commemorate 70 years of the Red House Museum and Gardens.
Among the guests to the event was Red House volunteer, Colin Ridley. Colin has been a member of staff and a volunteer at Red House Museum since the 1960s, starting when he was just 20 years old. For over 60 years he has been involved with the museum, initially undertaking odd jobs around the museum and garden under its first curator Mr John Lavender and later becoming a front of house volunteer. Now in his 80s, Colin continues to and enjoys sharing his knowledge of the Red House and helping visitors to enjoy the museum and finding out more about the history of Christchurch.
The Red House Museum building dates from 1764 and was the parish workhouse for Christchurch and Bournemouth. In 1886, a new union workhouse was built and the old house was sold to the vicar of Christchurch Priory, the Rev T H Bush who named the building ‘The Red House’ after the colour of the bricks. Later, the building became the private museum of Herbert Druitt, an avid local collector. It was his passion for textile and fashion, bygones and archaeological material that created the Red House Museum collections. In 1951, the museum became a charitable trust and its doors have been open to the public ever since.
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