Petworth Cottage Museum
The First Twenty Years
In 2016 we were able to stage an exhibition to celebrate twenty years of the museum. Extracted from the Petworth Society's scrapbooks of cuttings, the pictures and transcripts collected here occupied three sides of the exhibition hall. Five years on we cannot stage another physical exhibition but we can show these cuttings here. Unless otherwise stated the cuttings are all from the Midhurst & Petworth Observer. Click on the pictures to enlarge.
2 New Museum Prepares to Open - 2nd May 1996
A museum dedicated to the domestic life of a Leconfield Estate worker is set to open in Petworth. The Cottage Museum, in the High Street, has been accurately re-created into a turn-of-the-century home and on Saturday the long awaited museum will be officially opened by Lord Egremont. Research has revealed that at the time the cottage was the home of Maria Cummings - a seamstress for Petworth House - and every detail in the museum reflects how she would have lived. the project has taken four months to complete and cost £18,000 with many people donating services, cash and furniture. Fundraising events and an appeal raised almost £7,000 and the museum was also helped by a £4,500 grant from Chichester District Council. As well as appealing to visitors to the town the museum is also expected to boost business in Petworth. Chairman of the museum trustees, Peter Jerrome said: “It has a commercial angle in looking to draw people who come to Petworth House across the town to the High Street. It's another attraction for Petworth and I think it will be successful.” And Dr. Diana Owen, property manager for Petworth House, believes the museum will be popular with visitors to the house, which last year attracted 80,000 people. Dr. Owen said, “It leads on from the opening of the kitchens here last year and is very connected with that. It shows another side of life in Petworth at the turn of the century. It will make Petworth well worth visiting because there's the house and the park, the town, the cottage museum and the dolls museum”. Lord and Lady Egremont, who are the trust's patrons have played a major part in setting up the museum. Lord Egremont has supplied the cottage at a minimal rent and also workmen from the estate to carry out repairs to the building. Lady Egremont designed and planted the garden with plants popular at the time. Mr. Jerrome said, “They are very keen on the project because it is part of the history of the Leconfield Estate. They have been very, very supportive and we couldn't have done it without them.” Trustees Ann Bradley and Raymond Harris have furnished the museum with fixtures and fittings appropriate to the late 1900's. Mr. Harris said, “We have not stressed things artificially to look old. It's as it would have looked at the time.” After the official opening the museum will be open to the public from 2 p.m. on Tuesday to Thursday, Saturday to Sunday and bank holiday Mondays and will match the seasonal opening of Petworth House from April to October.