Chesterfield museum

Plans approved for Stephenson Memorial Hall

Ambitious plans to refurbish Chesterfield’s historic Stephenson Memorial Hall, which houses the museum and the Pomegranate Theatre have been approved by Chesterfield Borough Council’s planning committee.

This approval means that Chesterfield Museum is now closed to begin the complex process of moving the historic collection into safe storage.

The refurbishment of Stephenson Memorial Hall is projected to cost around £17 million with £11 million of funding being secured via the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. Chesterfield Borough Council has received almost £20 million through this Government fund, the other £8 million will be used to support and enhance the Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield Project.

Together this funding will help ensure that Chesterfield is a vibrant market town by improving connections across the town centre and enhancing the visitor economy.

Under the plans the refurbished Stephenson Memorial Hall will bring together an extended Pomegranate Theatre, a reconfigured and modern museum, alongside new gallery space, a café bar, education and community facilities.

The work will also protect the Grade II listed building and ensure that it remains part of the borough’s heritage for many more generations to come.

Creating a more accessible experience is another key aim of the proposals. The plans include three new lifts which will significantly improve the accessibility of the building for visitors, artists, and employees.

Also included in the plans are improvements to lighting, heating, and ventilation.

Revolution House, which tells the story of the Revolution of 1688, will reopen on Friday 15 April. The free museum will then be open every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from 11am to 4pm until Sunday 18 September.

Chesterfield Museum will also be launching Museum on the Move later this year, this will see some of the popular interactive events hosted in alternative venues around the borough. More details on these events will be released soon.

Whilst the Museum collection is moved the Pomegranate Theatre will continue to operate as normal and tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01246 345 222 or by visiting the Chesterfield Theatres website.

More detail on the ambitious plans will be outlined by Chesterfield Borough Council’s Director of Economic Growth, Neil Johnson at Celebrate Chesterfield 2022 taking place on Wednesday, 23rd March.

To find out more about the event and book your place, go to: https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/celebrate/

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Chesterfield Museum prepares for multi-million pound renovation

Chesterfield Museum is set to close in preparation for a multi-million-pound renovation project that will create an enhanced and improved customer experience.

It is the next step in the refurbishment of Chesterfield’s historic Stephenson Memorial Hall, which houses the museum and The Pomegranate Theatre.

Proposals for the renovation of the Grade 2 listed building are due to go before Chesterfield Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Monday 28 February and, if approved, the museum will close from Tuesday 1 March to begin the complex process of moving the historic collection into safe storage.

The project is projected to cost around £15 million with £11 million of funding being secured via the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. Chesterfield Borough Council has received almost £20 million through this Government fund, the other £8 million will be used to support and enhance the Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield Project.

Together this funding will help ensure that Chesterfield is a vibrant market town by improving connections across the town centre and enhancing the visitor economy.

Under the plans the refurbished Stephenson Memorial Hall will bring together an extended Pomegranate Theatre, a reconfigured and modern museum, alongside new gallery space, a café bar, education and community facilities.

The work will also protect the Grade 2 listed building and ensure that it remains part of the borough’s heritage for many more generations to come.

Creating a more accessible experience is another key aim of the proposals. The plans include a new lift which would help disabled guests access the circle and upper museum floors and to compliment this there would be an increased number of wheelchair spaces within the theatre.

Also included in the plans are improvements to lighting, heating, and ventilation.

Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, explained: “Stephenson Memorial Hall is one of our most striking buildings and these exciting plans are set to make it even more memorable and enjoyable – creating a modern visitor experience in the heart of our town centre.

“Our wonderful museum is a central part of the building and we’re now preparing for the huge and complex task of moving thousands of treasured items that are in our local collections to a safe, temporary home. Subject to planning approval, the museum will close at the start of March, and building work is set to begin later in the year.”

Items in the collection will be securely stored in a controlled environment to ensure preservation. One of the signature pieces, the medieval builder’s wheel, will be stored with a specialist renovator who will clean it whilst work progresses in the building.

Councillor Sarvent added: “We’re working hard to make sure people will still be able to enjoy our theatre and museum attractions in new and innovative ways while the transformation of the building is carried out.

“Our team at the museum regularly host interactive activities and events to help all members of our community connect with our history and we’re exploring even more ways to do this over the coming years – you’ll be able to find out more about our plans on our website and social media pages soon.”

Revolution House, which tells the story of the Revolution of 1688, will reopen on Friday 15 April. The free museum will then be open every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from 11am to 4pm until Sunday 18 September.

Whilst the Museum collection is moved the Pomegranate Theatre will continue to operate as normal and tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01246 345 222 or by visiting www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk.

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Residents and visitors can discover the Victorians at Chesterfield Museum

A new exhibition at Chesterfield Museum aims to explore what life was like during the Victorian period.

The Victorians covers different aspects of life including work, education, health and hygiene, clothing, and leisure time. The exhibition is available to view until Saturday 26 February.

Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “This is a fantastic exhibition with lots of activities for the whole family to get involved with. It’s a great way of learning about how different life was during the Victorian era. If you’re looking for something to do over the Christmas holidays then this is an incredible free experience that everyone can enjoy.”

There are lots of unusual items that visitors may not have seen before, including a praxinoscope – which is an old animation device. The exhibition covers all aspects of Victorian life and includes some of the nasty truths behind Victorian cuisine.

It also contains a selection of Victorian toys that children can get hands on with. There are also activities including a Victorian style handwriting challenge and a design your own cross-stich activity sheet.

Chesterfield Museum is open Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Entry is free but donations are welcome.

It was also announced that Chesterfield Museum and the Pomegranate Theatre are set to undergo major transformation in the near future, as a result of the town’s winning bid to the government’s levelling-up fund.

Find out more about the funding for Stephenson Memorial Hall and Chesterfield Town Centre at: https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/developments/stepheson-memorial-hall-refurbishment/

There is plenty to enjoy her in Chesterfield throughout the festive season too. From fun festive events, to the magical Christmas In Chesterfield Elf Trail and more. Get all the information on those, on top of fabulous local shopping guides, head over to https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/christmas/

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Rediscover everything that’s great about Chesterfield

Residents in Chesterfield are encouraged to get together this half-term and rediscover everything that’s great about the borough.

Whether that be revisiting an old favourite or discovering something new, residents are being urged to seek out shops, cafes, bars and restaurants that are unique to the borough – and the October half-term break is the perfect chance for the whole family to get together and rediscover what’s great about Chesterfield.

As well as supporting local businesses, there’s also plenty to keep the whole family entertained this half-term, including the return of the popular 1940’s market on Thursday 28 October.

Families can also enjoy a trip to Chesterfield Museum where they will have a final chance to check out the popular ‘Put That Light Out’ Exhibition and discover what life in Chesterfield was like during World War Two. There’s also a chance to explore the stories, experiences and contributions of the African and Caribbean Community in Chesterfield in the latest exhibition, ‘Chesterfield Black Stories’ which is presented in partnership with ACCA.

More information on events during half-term can be found at www.chesterfield.co.uk/visiting/half-term-in-chesterfield.

The ‘Love Chesterfield’ campaign was launched earlier this year by Chesterfield Borough Council, in partnership with Destination Chesterfield to support the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors as national restrictions eased, to encourage residents to celebrate Chesterfield’s local businesses.

Councillor Kate Sarvent, cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “There’s lots to love here in Chesterfield and we love shining the spotlight on our local businesses. Since the launch of our Love Chesterfield campaign earlier this year, and as restrictions eased, we’ve already seen a positive return of customers to the borough’s high streets and we’re urging everyone to continue shopping locally and safely.

“The past 18 months have been incredibly difficult for our local businesses so it’s important that we continue to support them as much as we can.

“In the town centre alone, there are around 200 independent retailers where you’ll find a range of unique, quirky and exciting gifts and products that you simply wouldn’t find anywhere else. Add to these to the numerous markets that the town centre supports and there really is something for everyone to discover.

“And not forgetting the variety of cafes, bars and restaurants that are available, Chesterfield has a quiet food revolution happening so you’ll be spoilt for choice when dining out in the borough.”

More information on dining out in Chesterfield can be found at https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/lovechesterfield/

Peter Swallow, Chair of Destination Chesterfield said: “It’s a very exciting time for the town in its recovery from the pandemic. The Love Chesterfield campaign is a great opportunity for people to rediscover the town centre and all that it has to offer.

“With lockdown restrictions lifted and Christmas only weeks away there has never been a better time to get out and about and support local businesses in their recovery. From places to eat and drink to major retailers and quirky independents shops and market stalls, there is a multitude of reasons for people to Love Chesterfield as a place to shop and socialise.”

As part of the Love Chesterfield campaign, businesses are being supported to boost their profile. Independent shops, bars and eateries are among the businesses encouraged to take advantage of a new #LoveChesterfield support pack, featuring a range of free marketing materials which they can use to collectively celebrate the unique products and experiences available in the borough.

The pack includes a range of customisable images and resources for businesses to use on their social media, posters and window vinyl designs – all of which can be downloaded for free at www.chesterfield.co.uk/lovechesterfield/business-support-pack.

The Love Chesterfield awards took place on Wednesday 20 October. The awards celebrate the town’s favourite food, drink and retail businesses, and also recognise outstanding local entrepreneurs, regeneration work, business contribution to the local community, apprenticeships and sustainability. More information including details of the winners can be found at https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/lovechesterfieldawards/.

 

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Chesterfield Museum opens exhibition celebrating the town’s black community

Chesterfield Museum have joined forces with the Chesterfield African Caribbean Community Association (ACCA) to launch a new exhibition that will help residents learn about the history and experiences of Chesterfield’s black community.

The exhibition was opened by Chesterfield’s Mayor Councillor Glenys Falconer on Friday 1 October to celebrate the start of Black History Month.

It aims to tell the story of Chesterfield’s Windrush Generation, highlighting the challenges they faced when establishing new lives in Chesterfield and how they overcame these. It also looks at younger generations experiences of living in the town.

The exhibition includes powerful video interviews with members of the community who share their memories and experiences. On display will be personal items and memorabilia as well as special awards received.

Councillor Lud Ramsey, who represents Spire Ward at Derbyshire County Council and is the Chair of ACCA said: “Local History is an important subject that should always be explored and studied. However, some bits of history always seem to be left out or forgotten.

“ACCA and Chesterfield Museum have worked together to inform the public about the contribution the black community has made to Chesterfield.

“Our exhibition will be displayed at the museum during Black History Month to enhance everyone’s knowledge about some of the experiences and stories of the black community in our town as well as highlighting their positive achievements and contributions.”

Councillor Kate Sarvent, cabinet member for town centre and visitor economy, said: “It’s important that we use our Museum to help people learn about our history and we should not exclude any part. This is an important exhibition and there is lots to learn and understand.”

The exhibition is open to the public until 15 January 2022.

Chesterfield Museum is open Mondays and Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Entry is free but donations are welcome.

 

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Residents offered the chance to go ‘behind the scenes’ at iconic Chesterfield buildings

Residents and visitors in Chesterfield will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes at a some of the town’s iconic buildings this September, as part of the Heritage Open Days event taking place across the country.

Heritage Open Days take place every September and see organisations and volunteers across the country organise events to celebrate the nation’s history and culture.

To celebrate the initiative this year, Chesterfield Borough Council is opening the doors to a number of its venues for people to explore.

Mayor’s parlour and council chamber tours

Residents will have the opportunity to visit the mayor’s parlour and council chamber where the Chesterfield Mayor and Consort – Councillor Glenys Falconer and Councillor Keith Falconer – will be on hand to talk about their roles at the council, including chairing full council meetings and the duties they carry out on a weekly basis.

Two tours will take place at 11am on both Thursday 16 September and Friday 17 September and will take around an hour and a half to complete. People can register to attend one of the tours by contacting Leanne Mowbray, member and civic support officer, on 01246 345239, or by email at: Mayors.Office@chesterfield.gov.uk.  Places are limited, so booking is essential.

Revolution House

Revolution House will also be re-opening its doors and welcoming visitors back for the first time since December 2019 for two Heritage Open Days. Visitors can come along between 11am and 3pm on Sunday 12 and Sunday 19 September to find out more about the history of the House. The House takes its name from the Revolution of 1688 when three local noblemen met to begin planning their part in events which led to the overthrow of King James II in favour of William and Mary of Orange.

Entry to the House is free, but donations are welcome.

Chesterfield Museum stores

There will also be an opportunity to go behind the scenes and explore one of Chesterfield Museum’s offsite stores. On Saturday 11 September visitors will have the chance to discover some of the larger items collected by the museum that would be difficult to display in the museum itself. The tour will also explore how the museum looks after the town’s collection so the objects can be enjoyed by generations to come.

The tour will take place at Unit 1, Calow Brook Drive, Off Calow Lane, Hasland, Chesterfield, S41 0DR. Booking is not required and visitors just need to arrive by 11am to join the tour.

For those unable to attend the behind-the-scenes events, the team at Chesterfield Museum will be posting a video online which explores fascinating parts of history. Working with History’s Maid, the latest video which will be shared is ‘History of Tea’ – from Catherine of Braganaza to the two world wars, tea has been a British necessity. For more information or to view the video visit the Chesterfield Museum Facebook page or www.chesterfield.gov.uk.

Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “Heritage Open Days provide an exciting and interesting way to learn more about key venues, the history and how they operate on a day-to-day basis so we are really pleased to be opening the doors to some of our key venues so people can explore.

“We hope that plenty of residents and visitors will take the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes and find out more about the history of our borough.”

For more information on the Heritage Open Days, visit www.visitchesterfield.info/whats-on

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Chesterfield cultural venues receive a further funding boost

Chesterfield Theatres and Chesterfield Museum have received a further funding boost to help support them through the Covid-19 restrictions and ensure they can continue offering unique experiences for Chesterfield residents and visitors.

This funding, received through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, is worth £153,000 which will be shared between the museum and theatres. In total the venues have received more than £500,000 through this fund over the last year.

Anthony Radford, Chesterfield Borough Council’s arts and venues manager, said: “We are delighted that we have been awarded a further grant of £153,000 from the Culture Recovery Fund. We are extremely grateful for this grant which is a contribution towards the operational costs of Chesterfield Theatres and Chesterfield Museum during the period April to June 2021.

“It is hoped that the Pomegranate Theatre and Chesterfield Museum will be able to re-open during the week commencing 17 May 2021 as per the Government re-opening roadmap. The grant will enable us to re-open during a period when expected income is at a lower level than normal due to the expected restrictions in place.

“The grants received from the Culture Recovery Fund have provided essential support for the provision of cultural services in Chesterfield during the Covid-19 pandemic, and have ensured that Chesterfield Theatres and Chesterfield Museum can play an important role in the cultural life of the town as the community starts to recover.”

Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary, said: “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.

“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work.

“We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”

Culture creates jobs, supports livelihoods, and brings joy to everyone. The UK leads the world in the creative industries, and culture is vital not only to the local economy but also to the Chesterfield community.

The Culture Recovery Fund is an unprecedented investment from the government in the cultural sector to show it is #HereForCulture and so the sector can weather the storm of coronavirus and come back stronger.

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

The Grade II-listed theatres, Pomegranate Theatre and Winding Wheel Theatre, offer a broad range of events, which includes drama, musicals, dance, comedy, concerts, talks and cinema.

The theatres opened successfully for a brief period under Covid-19 restrictions during 2020, before having to close again in November. However, they are looking forward to reopening and have an exciting programme of shows throughout the rest of 2021.

Chesterfield Museum tells the story of Chesterfield, from its beginnings as a Roman fort, the expansion of the Market and the Industrial Revolution, which brought ‘Father of the Railways’, George Stephenson, to town.

The Museum regularly holds a wide range of events for the whole family to enjoy. It also holds regular special exhibitions that explore different areas of history.

Whilst the Museum has still not reopened since closing in March 2020, the team have continued to create online events and activities to help people connect with the history of Chesterfield.

Both Chesterfield Theatres and Chesterfield Museum are proudly owned and managed by Chesterfield Borough Council.

Find out more about the performances planned at Chesterfield Theatres and book tickets by visiting www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk  or by calling the Box Office on 01246 345 222.

For more information on online activities and events planned by Chesterfield Museum, please visit: www.chesterfield.gov.uk/museum.

The Culture Recovery Fund is administered by Arts Council England, learn more about this funding by visiting: www.artscouncil.org.uk/CRFgrants

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Residents and visitors invited to have their say on Chesterfield Museum

Residents and visitors are being invited to give their thoughts and opinions about Chesterfield Museum and share ideas of what they would like to see the museum offer in the future.

Like many museums nationwide, Chesterfield Museum – which is owned by Chesterfield Borough Council – has had to remain closed to visitors since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Behind the scenes, the museum team have been busy extending and improving the museum’s online offer and exploring ideas for future exhibitions and events that will excite the whole family when the museum reopens its doors.

As part of this, the team at Chesterfield Museum are asking local residents and visitors to the museum to share their views on the museum in a short survey, giving them the chance to have their say about what they would like to see in the future and how visits to the museum could be improved: www.chesterfield.gov.uk/explore-chesterfield/museum/more-from-your-museum/chesterfield-museum-survey

Councillor Kate Sarvent, cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “Chesterfield Museum has been welcoming visitors for more than 26 years, telling the story of Chesterfield – from its beginnings as a Roman fort to its history as a manufacturing town boosted by the Industrial Revolution – and we want to hear your thoughts.

“We know many residents enjoy visiting the museum to learn about our local history and take part in fun events, but gathering feedback is vital in ensuring that the museum reaches a wider audience, making the whole community feel included and valued. I’d encourage as many people as possible to take part in this survey and help shape the future of our fantastic museum.”

As well as presenting fascinating temporary exhibitions about the history of the borough in the museum and unique displays in our Art Gallery, Chesterfield Museum is also proud to work closely with many local organisations from across the borough. In recent years the museum has been proud to host exhibitions organised by Chesterfield Photographic Society, Donut Creative Art Studios (DCAS), LGBT+ Derbyshire, Chesterfield Rugby Club and the Don Rivers Catchment Trust.

Residents and visitors have until Sunday 14 March to share their views.

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Chesterfield Museum announces online activities this Christmas

Over Christmas the team at Chesterfield Museum have traditionally put on events for the whole family and opened Revolution House to the public with seasonal flower displays to help spread some festive cheer. This is sadly not possible this year, but the museum team have put together a series of online activities to help celebrate Christmas.

Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “The museum team have worked really hard all year to create digital activities and events for the whole family, it’s fantastic that they can finish the year off with even more of these. I hope lots of people will take part and learn more about how we used to celebrate Christmas.”

Throughout the year Chesterfield Museum have teamed up with History’s Maid, who are regular visitors to the museum with their fantastic re-enactors, to create a range of videos. This Christmas they have created three brand new videos all about Christmas in different historical periods.

The first video profiles a Tudor Christmas celebration, where traditions included fasting for advent and feasting on plum porridge, pickled pigs’ feet and wassail. It also looks at the invention of the Kissing Bough, a special decoration made of mistletoe and explains the origins of Twelfth Night and the Feast of Epiphany. There is also information on how to create your very own Tudor Pomander, which are a fantastic little stocking filler.

Moving through the ages the next video will look at a Victorian Christmas and how many of our current traditions including carols, crackers, cards and decorations date back to this time. It will also reveal the true origins of Father Christmas as we know him today.

A slightly more sombre video looks at how Christmas was celebrated during World War One, with a reading of a poignant story inspired by the events of Christmas 1914 on the Western Front called ‘Waiting for a Candle’ by R J Barker.

As well as all the exciting videos there will also be some Christmas craft activities for children as well as a Christmas quiz. One of the Museum team will be doing a series of readings from ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Although Revolution House remains closed this year, there are some fantastic photos of previous Christmas’s at Revolution House and the amazing flower displays which staff and volunteers create. There is also a great guide on how to create a Christmas wreath. There will also be a sing along to carols by Holymoorside Brass Band.

The Mayor of Chesterfield, Councillor Glenys Falconer, will also be appearing in a special video this year where she will be reading ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’.

All of the activities and content will be available on the Chesterfield Museum Facebook page www.facebook.com/chesterfieldmuseum and website www.chesterfield.gov.uk/museum.

For more information about Christmas activities in Chesterfield, click here 

Weapons of a WW1 Infantryman

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