Northgate Museum in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Packed full of treasures, the Museum should be the first stop for anyone wanting to discover the history of the town and the local area. From an Edwardian cash till, to a model of Trevithick’s Steam Engine, the Museum’s collections will interest the whole family, both young and old.
History Of Northgate Bridgnorth
Northgate was one of the five gates used to enter Bridgnorth: Cowgate in Cartway, Listley Gate, near the Library, West Gate at the end of Listley Street, Whitburn Gate at the end of Whitburn Street, and finally the surviving Northgate.
During the Medieval period, Northgate would have looked very different from the way that it looks today. It would have had a small tower at each end, which would have housed spiral staircases. The stone walls were covered in wooden shingles (tiles) and in the centre of the roof stood a wooden tower.
Northgate was largely rebuilt in brick during the 1740’s. The building was again remodelled in 1911 when the brick was faced with sandstone blocks. The battlements on the top of the building were added at a later date. Although, these have recently had to be supported with steel pipework to prevent them leaning inward.
The room over the arch, where the museum is housed today, was once used as the Burgesses Hall, where from the Middle Ages to the 17th century, the citizens would present their annual payments to the Chamberlains. They came to be created burgesses and first took the oath to be good citizens who would maintain the interests of the town and they were able afterwards to vote in elections.
The Burgesses Hall was later used by a Blue Coat School, which had moved from a building in St Leonard’s Church. The school provided clothing and instruction to 30 poor boys, enabling them to become apprentices. Other pupils could enrol, if there were any vacancies, but they had to pay a small fee. This school was financed from the Arthur Weaver Charity founded in 1710. In 1910, it moved to the Foster Memorial Institute in the town’s High Street and eventually closed in 1929.
Northgate then became the Borough Surveyor’s office, but again fell vacant in 1937, just at a time when the Bridgnorth and District Historical Society were looking for a permanent room as a lecture room, museum and library. The Borough Council offered the use of the room, but the Second World War intervened. In 1945, after much needed alterations had been carried out, it was let to the Society on condition they set up and maintained a Museum for the townspeople of Bridgnorth, to which admittance would be free.
The Curator is proud to announce that the Museum has, from 1st November 2007, become the first independent Shropshire museum to be given Accreditation by the MLA (Museum, Libraries, and Archives Council). The MLA set nationally agreed standards that the Museum must meet as to how it is run, looks after it’s collections and what services it provides for visitors.
The museum is open from Easter to October every year.
- Saturday 1:30 pm – 4.00 pm
- Sunday 11.00 am – 4.00 pm
and in school holidays during this opening period:
- Monday-Friday 11.00 am – 4.00 pm
- Saturday 1:30 pm – 4.00 pm
- Sunday 11 am – 4.00 pm
For more information of the history of Northgate visit Discover Shropshire