1950s fashion – a decade of glamour

Written on . Posted in Arts, Chairman, Community, Media, Museum, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

If you are fascinated by fifties fashion why not come to the Time Machine in Harlow where we are hosting an exhibition of 1950s fashion ‘A Decade of Glamour’.

On display until 6 January 2014 are huge swirling skirts, a tailor-made Teddy Boy suit and an exquisite evening ball gown. Be dazzled by dresses of the Paris couture houses and the ready-to-wear styles of Marks & Spencer.

Showcasing stunning collections from museums across the East of England, this exhibition examines how the fashions of the stars were first created and then adapted to be worn by the everyday family.

You can get creative and design your own dream outfit or style yourself in the fashions with our vintage wardrobe. Whether you remember the original fifties styles or you are trying to channel your inner ‘Mad Men’, this exhibition is fun for everyone.


View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture and then click start slideshow.

The exhibition was opened by Epping Forest District Council Chairman, Councillor Mary Sartin who said: “The exhibition is excellent and I would thoroughly recommend it. The evening was most enjoyable and indeed did bring back many memories of the era.”

Chair of Harlow Council Councillor Linda Pailing added: “We are delighted to host this exhibition at the Leisure zone. It is lovely to see the fashions of the 50s again – it certainly was a very glamorous time.”

The exhibition is the first in a series of touring exhibitions funded by Arts Council England, touring the East of England, first visiting Lowewood Museum in Broxbourne in January 2014.

Details of exhibition

When – 26 October 2013 to 6 January 2014.

Where – The Time Machine, Harlow Leisure zone, Second Avenue, Harlow, CM20 3DT.

For opening times and admission visit the Time Machine website or telephone 01279 413412 or email info@science-alive.co.uk.


Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flies from North Weald

Written on . Posted in Community, Epping, Museum, North Weald Airfield, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Your council

A surprise phone call on the morning of Sunday 15 September from Flight Lieutenant Antony ‘Parky’ Parkinson led to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Spitfire and Hurricane operating from North Weald to perform the commemorative flypast over Westminster marking Battle of Britain Day. The winds at their Coningsby base were out of limits for them to return, and they required temporary hangarage, which The Squadron was able to offer at short notice.


View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture and then click start slideshow.

The Mark IX Spitfire MK356 with Parky on board and Hurricane IIc LF363, flown by Group Captain Johhny Stringer, arrived during the morning for fuel. They departed later for central London, returning after 40 minutes, giving the Airfield Museum a flypast to mark their Reunion and Fun Day. The aircraft will be staying for several days, and are very welcome guests!

It was particularly fitting that the BBMF operated from North Weald on this very day. On 15 September 1945, Douglas Bader and eleven of his Battle of Britain comrades took off from RAF North Weald to lead the 300 aircraft in the first Battle of Britain Day commemorative flypast over London.

The local branch of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) also took part in a special service at St Andrew’s Church on Sunday. They were accompanied by the Colour Party of 56(R) Squadron and its new Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Middleton.

Afterwards, they returned to the Airfield for a reception in the Hurricane Room of the Control Tower. We took pictures of the Colour Party along with the RAFA colour at the Gate Guardian Hurricane, which is in 56 Squadron markings. This coincided with the return of the BBMF aircraft, and made a fitting tribute on this special day.

Youth council generation games

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Local business, Media, Museum, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest Youth Councillors held an afternoon tea party for the residents of Leonard Davis House in North Weald and the Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) Carers Group.

Guests enjoyed a great afternoon playing Bingo and card games, and decorating cakes. On loan from Epping Forest District Museum was a selection of vintage games including tiddlywinks and shove ha’penny.


View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture and then click start slideshow.

The afternoon tea party was held as part of the Youth Council’s Intergenerational Project. The project aims to break down stereotypical misconceptions and build stronger bridges between generations.

The guests were asked to complete a questionnaire exploring this issue. When asked what young people can learn from the older generation, one guest felt that young people should “be positive in what they want to achieve” and that older people should “be more understanding of the needs and hopes of young people.” 

Youth Councillor Jaymey McIvor said: “We have laid a foundation which soon will bridge the gap between the generations. Today has been a fantastic day for all generations.”

Jina Symes from VAEF said: “The carers have told me they really enjoyed it and were really impressed with, in their words, the young people. I think the afternoon was a great success.”

The Youth Councillors persuaded local businesses such as The Co-operative, Bassett Service Station, North Weald Chemist and Tesco to donate prizes or to contribute towards the catering.


Three Billy Goats Gruff visit District Museum

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Loughton, Museum, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

This Saturday (3rd August) the Three Billy Goats Gruff will be trip-trapping their way to the District Museum in Waltham Abbey for the Family Fun Day!  Come along too and enjoy the puppet show version of this great story, with lots more entertainment for all the family. 

Out in the garden, local artist Georgia Wisbey will be helping you weave a willow herb crown, and if the sun shines we’ll also have sandcastles and shrimping. 

Activities take place between 11am and 4pm, with the puppet show taking place three times during the day at 11.30am, 1pm and 3pm.

Entry is free of charge, but donations are very much appreciated.

Summer Family Fun at District Museum

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Loughton, Museum, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

Summer Family Activities

Summer Family Activities

On Tuesday afternoons between 12noon and 3pm throughout the Summer holidays, fun family art and crafts activities are taking place at the District Museum in Waltham Abbey.  Many of the activities have a Tudor theme, to go with our latest exhibition.

On Tuesday 30th July you can design and make your own Tudor knight’s shield.  On Tuesday 6th August the shield might be useful to go with the hobby horse you can make for the Tudor joust.  We will be modelling Tudor clay pots on  Tuesday 13th August, then print making on Tuesday 20th August.  Bringing the holidays to a close, the last activity on Tuesday 27th August will be making a bookmark, using a Tudor quill pen to write your name and a lucet fork to weave a tassel to hang from it.

There’s no need to book, you can just drop in.  Most activities take about 20 minutes to complete.

Children need to be accompanied by adults as it is a family activity.  Cost £1.25 per child.

Children exhibit award winning art at District Museum

Written on . Posted in Arts, Chairman, Community, Countrycare, Museum, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your council

From Tuesday 16 July 2013, 15 children from St John’s C of E Primary School in Buckhurst Hill, will have their work on display at Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey.

The children, aged between 8 and 9 years, have been taking part in a special Arts Award project based on the work of artist Walter Spradbery.

They investigated the life and work of Spradbery, who lived in ‘The Wilderness’, a piece of land in Epping Forest next to their school, and who is buried in St John’s churchyard. They particularly looked at the famous posters he designed for London Transport, encouraging people to travel out to the forest to enjoy its beauty through his wonderful artwork.

The children worked with a current practicing artist, Valerie Osment, to create prints based on Spradbery’s work. This also helped them achieve the Discover level of Arts Award, a national programme which aims to inspire young people to engage with the arts and develop their talents. The children were very excited to have their certificates presented to them by John Spradbery, son of Walter, who was also once a pupil at their school. John was delighted the children had found such inspiration in his father’s work, and thought the whole project was ‘an incredible event’.

You can see the children’s work at the museum from now until the end of August. Opening times are Monday, Tuesday and Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 5pm or see www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/museum.

The District Museum is a registered Arts Award centre. To find out more about the scheme see www.artsaward.org.uk

Epping Forest District Museum, 39 – 41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL

01992 716882

Contact: Catherine Hammond, Education and Outreach Officer


Collage of Henry VIII

Tudor Fun for half term week at the District Museum

Written on . Posted in Community, Museum, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

There has been lots of Tudor themed fun at the District Museum in Waltham Abbey this week to celebrate the opening of the Tudor exhibition. Yesterday we made Tudor Portraits out of fabric collages.  You can still catch Richard York who will be performing Tudor Music here on period instruments on Saturday 1 June between 11.30am and 1pm and then between 1.30pm and 3pm.  Richard’s sessions are always great fun, with lots of opportunities to get involved. The event is free, and you don’t need to book, just come along and be prepared to dance!

Collage of Henry VIII

Fabric Collage Portrait of Henry VIII

Museum wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Chairman, Conservation and listed buildings, Councillors, Grants, Local business, Media, Museum, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey has secured a £1.65 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant for a major development project, ‘The Museum at the Core’. The scheme, which will total £2.5 million, will extend and develop the museum on its existing site, making both the building and the collections more accessible to all.

The project brings together the majority of the museum’s collections on one site, together with the creation of a community/education room, a new temporary exhibition gallery and an ‘Explore’ gallery providing access to the reserve collections. The additional space above the library in 37 Sun Street will create a wonderful cultural centre for local people and visitors in the heart of Waltham Abbey.

Tip – to view all the photos in a slideshow, click on a picture then click start slideshow (in the bottom right of the frame).

Developed jointly by the museum team with design company Outside Studios and architects Hawkins\ Brown, the project will see the existing museum buildings remodelled, the installation of a lift to provide step-free access throughout the entire building and improved visitor facilities. The oldest part of the museum, an historic Grade II* listed Tudor timber framed house dating to 1520, will be interpreted and displayed as a significant historical structure in its own right. The existing permanent exhibition galleries will be redisplayed, with a new selection of themes and objects.

Securing the additional space in 37 Sun Street over the Waltham Abbey library has been made possible by a capital funding commitment of £250,000 by Epping Forest District Council. The acquisition of the space has been assisted by Howard Green, of the property management agency Duncan Phillips Ltd, who acting on behalf of the vendors, made the original approach to the museum.

For the museum team this is the culmination of 3 years of work behind the scenes developing the scheme’s proposals, which have won wide backing from councillors, community groups, professional bodies and funding organisations as well as our existing audiences.

Councillor Brian Rolfe, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council said: “This grant award is a fantastic reflection on how our Museum Service is recognised by major funders such as the Heritage Lottery Fund. Our users have been telling us how much they value the services we offer but would love for us to make the museum bigger. The fact that access to the upstairs galleries has only been by the central staircase has always been a real problem for our ability to provide a fully- accessible service and this scheme now allows us to deal with this in the most satisfying manner.”

The museum also runs a popular programme of family activities and events but has long been hampered by the lack of a designated room in which these can take place leading to events having to be held in gallery areas and weather permitting in the museum garden. The creation of a new room will allow this programme to develop and support the work the museum undertakes with schools and other educational and community groups allowing the museum to become even more of a community facility.

‘The Museum at the Core’ project is also designed to increase opportunities for volunteer involvement in the running of the museum. The HLF funding will allow for two new posts focused on audience development and supporting volunteer engagement, to be created and the acquisition of a new collections management system, which will enable the museum to make more information about the collections available to the public on line and through gallery terminals.

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the East of England said: “We are delighted to award this grant to Epping Forest District Museum, which will allow for a enhanced visitor experience for everyone. With full access to the museum’s collections and a new community learning space the museum’s track record of excellent exhibitions and events will only get better. We look forward to the completed project.”

It is also anticipated that the larger museum will act as a significant tourism attraction in the heart of Waltham Abbey along with the range of other attractions in and around the town.

Proposals are for the museum to close in the autumn of 2013 to allow for clearance of the current displays and the main building works with the new museum re-opening to the public for Easter 2015.

During the closed period the museum will continue to provide services through other buildings in the district and through the Lowewood Museum in Hoddesdon, which has been operated by the Epping Forest District Museum team since February 2012.

Easter family fun at Waltham Abbey museum

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Museum, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Join us for fun family activities this Easter at the Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey.

What’s on

Epping Forest District MuseumSaturday 30 March 2013 – traditional Easter Egg hunt – follow the trail around the museum, solve the clues then win a chocolate egg prize.

Tuesday 2 April 2013 – make a chick in a basket – we’ll be making Easter chicks in baskets.

Tuesday 9 April 2013 – make a Spring flower bower (even if making a snowman seems like it might be more appropriate!), a traditional flower bower from colourful tissue, complete with nesting birds.

List of events at Epping Forest District Museum.

Booking and cost

All the activities take place between 12 noon and 3pm. There’s no need to book – just drop in anytime allowing about 20 minutes for the activity. Cost is just £1.25 per child.

The address of Epping Forest District Museum is 39-41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 1EL.

Pots of fun at the Museum

Written on . Posted in Arts, Chairman, Community, Museum, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Over 100 children visited the Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey during half term, taking part in our fun clay pot activity.

Chairman Brian Rolfe with children at the clay pot event

Chairman Brian Rolfe with children at the clay pot event

Inspired by the objects on display in our new exhibition The Pulhams of Broxbourne, children created clay pots, bird baths and other wonderful sculptures.

As one person wrote in the visitor book ‘two very happy little girls, and one very happy Gran – the best day of our half term – thank you!’

For details of what’s happening at the museum over the Easter holidays, have a look at the events page on our website.

Why not follow us on Facebook where you can also see more of the great pots we made.