Somerset Rural Life Museum is to reopen


On June 3rd at 11am, the Somerset Rural Life Museum will reopen after a 2 year 2.4 million pound refurbishment.

The new museum will be arranged in 12 galleries and I was tasked to take a colour photograph that gave a contemporary take on each theme.

Six of these images will be ready in time for the opening, the others will follow in due course.

There is a ‘Levels’ section and I took a photograph of the annual raft race  at the very popular Muchelney Lowland Games, illustrating the recreational use of the levels and also the problem of Himalayan Balsam that now invades our rivers.

“Elbow Grease’  domestic work is another area that has shown huge change over the past years. I felt that the display of cleaning machines in Elswoods Cleaning Supplies shop in Crewkerne summed up the change from man power to machine power in households. The colourful Henry range of cleaners is  another made in Somerset product.

‘Flocks, herds and Swarms’ Most of our small local markets have now been combined into the huge Sedgemoor Auction Centre where thousands of animals are traded every week. My photograph shows a calf patiently waiting for its turn to be sold. The auction centre has excellent communications with the M5 and so all the big buyers come in huge lorries.

‘Trading Places’ Many of our village shops have closed now but the need for a somewhere to shop locally has not gone away and so the growth of ‘Community Shops’ which are largely staffed by volunteers answers this need. This lovely shop in Mells has a cafe attached and so is a village meeting point as well as a shop.

‘Seed Time and Harvest’ A new harvest is the capture of the sun’s energy by solar panels. This field of 60,000 panels near Wincanton provides enough clean energy for 4,000 homes.

‘High and Lowly’  One of the gang of Big Issue sellers.  The magazine that  helps to provide employment for the homeless.