Unfortunately there have been very few visitors to the Museum since the last Newsletter owing to the breakdown of the Museum Heating System.
It was back in September '03 that I reported that the heating system was insufficient and the heating engineers came several times to repair it. Eric Shaw and other volunteers have taken down the exhibition stands on several occasions to allow the engineers access to the radiators. However there was little improvement up to Christmas.
On Monday 19th January '04 Meg Thomas and I came in to the Museum to update the Education Policy and discovered the boiler had burst and all the Office area floor was under water. Since then the engineers have recommended installing a completely new heating system, so boiler, radiators and pipework will all be replaced starting on March 1st.
Volunteers Eric Shaw and Roger Steele have done a great job moving all the office furniture, storage units and exhibits a metre away from the radiators and pipes. Volunteers Harriet Bazley and Marguerite Lee-Delisle have valiantly come in on Wednesday mornings despite the lack of water and heating, to keep the Museum ticking over. I have also come in to check the mail and answer the phone.
Late news - 25 March 2004. I am pleased to report that the new central heating system has been installed, and things can start getting back to normal. Yesterday Eric d Roger moved all the office area furniture back into place. However there is still some more work to be done as the toilet area needed replastering, and still needs repainting. We shall not be reopening the Museum Area for a while, as we are taking the opportunity to rethink some of our displays - see the Meg Thomas article below. We shall definitely be up and running by June 12th for the Wandle Valley Festival [see below] if not before - the Borough Coach trip on 22nd May is a target we would like to meet.
The Volunteers' Quarterly Lunch has had to be cancelled this time, but we are pleased to say that they will all be meeting up at the Annual Theatre Visit on March 4th at the New Wimbledon Theatre to see the musical Crazy for You.
On a happier note, Meg Thomas and I were pleased to attend a day conference at the Museum of London on the project Wonderful Things in which London's schools and Museums were working together across the curriculum. This project proved very successful with 22 different projects across London involving 27 Museums and galleries and 37 schools, covering all four Key Stages of the National Curriculum, and about 1800 children participating. We were asked to be involved by Burntwood Secondary School in their River Wandle Project, which explored many aspects of the river and set up a CD-ROM and three websites about the story of the River Wandle. The Conference was very interesting and informative, and we were very pleased to be a part of this learning initiative.
National Trust May Fair on 1st, 2nd and 3rd May at Morden Hall Park. Volunteers are needed as always.
Sheila Harris February 2004
There is to be a Wandle Valley Festival this year on the weekend of 12/13th June. The arrangements are in their early stages at present, but we will be contributing with a special opening of the Museum, at least. The website is www.wandlevalleyfestival.org.uk
For your Diary