Rout Cakes, Riddles and Regency Lovers: Jane Austen’s Emma

Emma Woodhouse may be Austen’s most infuriating heroine, but her doomed attempts at matchmaking take place against a background of fascinating social history. Tutor Judith Hedley looks at the novel itself in detail, but also at contemporary issues such as food, manners, the class system and women’s education – all explored with Austen’s invariable wit and wisdom.

£35 (five sessions)

WEA Course ref C3673637

Enrol online at or call 0300 303 3464

Posted on:20th August 2018

History of not very nice things (B)

Tutor Richard Clarke will present more themes ‘spiced-up’ with some social psychology and, probably, some reference to religious beliefs. The themes for this short course will be: Humiliation/Punishment, Terrorists, Climate Change, Divorce/(Marriage), Fake News/Gossip – there may be some revision of this list before the Autumn. Student participation will be central to the success, or otherwise, of these sessions and the main expectation on students will be to have considered and ‘looked-up’ something on the topic before each session. Personal opinions and recollections will be welcomed.

£35 for five sessions

WEA Course ref C3673638

Enrol online at or call 0300 303 3464
















Posted on:20th August 2018

French Conversation Class (Advanced)

Fourteen weekly classes in French conversation (advanced) run by a native French teacher, Nathalie Brady.




There are separate sessions for beginners (1pm-2.30pm) and intermediate levels at (2.30pm-4pm)

£8.20 per week (Half Term break 31 October)

Tel (01652) 660719 or email for more information and to book.

Posted on:19th August 2018

June joins our Teddy Gallery

Here’s Amelia Rose on her recent visit with “Lucy” her bear learning about the people who worked and studied here – including the sleeping Mr. Wilderspin himself!

Amelia Rose and “June” are now entered in our 2018 prize winning draw with a chance of winning the Mr. Wilderspin bear to add to her collection.

Amelia Rose August 2018

Posted on:18th August 2018

Summer Holidays

Our popular family Teddy Trail encourages children to explore the museum and discover characters from the school’s past – everyone from the school nurse to Mrs Wilderspin!  It’s now only £1 for the first trail sheet and 50p for additional copies.  Bring your own teddy and take a photo of hi,/her and yourself to send us for our Teddy portrait gallery – or borrow one of our lonely teddies longing for a friend to take them round the museum.

Why not combine this with one of our Retro Craft sessions each Thursday during the holiday (1pm – 3pm).

Posted on:3rd August 2018

JUST ANNOUNCED Christmas Steptoe

Their recent appearance at the Joseph Wright Hall prompted requests for more hilarity!  So, here they are – in a festive adaption by John  Hever of the Steptoe household.

Christmas simply wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to 26 Oil Drum Lane to catch up with the nation’s favourite rag-and-bone-men and indulge in some classic, festive misadventures!

Albert and Harold – united by blood, divided over everything else – seem doomed to spend Christmas in each other’s company. But Harold has his flights of fancy… including a flight he fancies abroad or to throw the biggest Christmas party London’s ever had to offer!  Albert, of course, has other ideas… Who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas as Mrs. Clifford’s B&B in Bognor Regis anyway??

Get yourself in the Christmas mood and pop the date in your diary.  Full ticket details will be available shortly.

Posted on:1st July 2018

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Our volunteers have had their efforts recognised by the Queen.  The Queen Street School Preservation Trust, which runs the school is one of just three voluntary groups in Lincolnshire to receive a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS), the MBE for volunteer groups.

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: “Everyone who has received this award should be incredibly proud. Their service, commitment and care have a profoundly positive impact on communities throughout the country and I am delighted they have been recognised with this prestigious award.”

The Trust’s award is for saving and restoring Samuel Wilderspin’s Model Infant School and providing museum and educational services.  The school was opened in 1845 and today is a Grade II* listed building as it is a rare survival of a Wilderspin School.  Help from the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage enabled the Trust to restore the school, and Lottery funding has helped subsequent education and volunteer-led projects.

Representatives of the Trust attended the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace last week with other recipients.  A record 250 voluntary groups from across the UK received the award for their work in their communities.  Two of our volunteers, Peter and Janet Smurthwaite are pictured, with our Development Officer & Volunteer, Ian Wolseley, and his wife Julie.

John Walker, who has been Chair of the Trust for ten years and knows how much work has been done by its volunteers, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have our efforts recognised in this way.   For over twenty five years volunteers have worked hard to save and restore the derelict school building.  Many people have been involved along the way, giving freely of their time doing a vast range of jobs which now concentrate on running the site as a museum and a community venue used by lots of organisations running courses and meetings.  “This is on ongoing challenge,” Mr. Walker continued, “We have lots of roles both front of house and behind the scenes for new volunteers.  It’s a great way to meet new people and feel part of a team and a project no matter how much time you are able to give.”

Since opening as a museum in 2009 volunteers have welcomed 85,000 visitors, and an additional 40,000 people have used its meeting and conference facilities.  The museum has run around 700 sessions with visiting school groups involving 22,000 pupils, and the quality of its education programme has earned a Sandford Award for Heritage Education.

The QAVS Independent Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Sir Martyn Lewis said: “The recipients of the Queen’s Award are at the very top of a formidable volunteering movement in the UK involving millions of our citizens, and going from strength to strength.”

More help is always required in the museum and the Joseph Wright Hall, and if you’d like to get involved and join the Trust’s award winning team you can call (01652) 635172, email or just call in when the museum is open, Thursday – Sunday between 10am and 4pm.

More details are available from:

#QAVS2018 hashtag




Posted on:6th June 2018

Town Award for Wilderspin Volunteer

Ian Wolseley, our part time Development Officer, has had his voluntary efforts for the School formally recognised by Barton Town Council.

The 2018 Annual Town Award was presented to Ian at the Town Council’s Civic Dinner which was held at Bardney Hall on Saturday 21 April.

The Mayor of Barton, Cllr Nigel Pinchbeck, presented the award which is in recognition of a volunteer who makes and outstanding contribution to the life of the Town.

Ian’s involvement with Trust goes back to the early 1990s.  He was a member of the working party which secured additional funding and prepared the plans for building work to start.  The Museum opened in 2009, just over thirty years since the Barton Church School closed.

Ian said, “I am thrilled and honoured to receive the award which is a recognition of the work that goes into a project like this, not just by me but by the forty or so other volunteers who help manage and run the Museum.”

Having worked for the Trust initially in a full time paid role thanks to grant funding, Ian’s own contribution over recent years has been largely in a voluntary capacity.

“We are approaching the Museum’s tenth anniversary,” Ian continued, “but we are not resting on our laurels – we have our work cut out having taken on restoration of the adjacent chapel building to create a new performance space,  the Joseph Wright Hall.”

Posted on:24th April 2018

Forthcoming Festivals

We’re excited to be fully involved with two major festivals in the town this year: Barton Arts and Barton Heritage Festival.

Barton Arts 2018

barton arts reduced

An exciting Barton Arts programme runs from 20 June to 1 July.  There’s live music, comedy. film and lectures.

We are proud to be involved with or hosting some events including:

  • Open Gardens
  • Kiki Dee & Carmelo Luggeri – An Acoustic Journey at the Joseph Wright Hall
  • The Riverbank Boys and Cements with the Ted Lewis Group including a guided walk
  • Morgan & West: two, separate magic shows for children and adults
  • The Graham Saunders Lecture – Women in Music
  • Cassandra Parkin in Conversation with Sue Wilsea

Started in 1998, Barton Arts aims to offer a professional programme of cultural activities alongside participatory events for local people.

Check the Barton Arts website for full details and ticketing information:


Barton Heritage Festival



Following the success of recent Heritage Open Days there’s an extended festival this year between 6 and 16 September with something happening on each day, and over fifty events in all!

Our own contribution includes:

  • Up in the Gallery Victorian music hall variety show.
  • Visitors to the town can look inside the Joseph Wright Hall, the former Primitive Methodist Chapel adjacent to the School.
  • Barton upon Humber Civic Society’s  “Welcome to Barton” exhibition of reflective stories of newcomers to the town.
  • Art on the Railings painting workshop and exhibition for young people looking at some of the town’s old buildings.
  • The Story of Barton Town Band, part of Barton upon Humber Civic Society’s annual programme.
  • A Hidden History family trail meeting  Victorian characters in Queen Street and a chance to dress up and capture the day on camera.

Full details of the entire Heritage Festival programme will be available in the summer in print, and online at or

Posted on:17th April 2018

Heritage Open Days 2018

Heritage Festival – Picturing the Past

6 September – 16 September

Following the success of recent Heritage Open Days there’s an extended festival this year, with something happening on each day.

Here at the Wilderspin School Museum we’ll be hosting:

Up in the Gallery
Friday 7 September, 7.30pm, Joseph Wright Hall
Enjoy the thrills of Victorian music hall theatre.

Open Building – Joseph Wright Hall
Thursday 13 – Sunday 16 September, 11am – 3pm
Opened as a Primitive Methodist Chapel in 1867.

Barton upon Humber Civic Society – Welcome to Barton
Saturday 8 – Sunday 16 September, 10am – 4pm
An exhibition of reflective stories from newcomers to the town.

Art on the Railings
Saturday 8 September, 1pm – 4pm
Children’s painting workshop with local artist Jon Dent.

Barton upon Humber Civic Society – Barton Town Band
Friday 14 September, 7.30pm, Joseph Wright Hall
The story of Barton Town Band from its beginnings as the Ropery Band in 1873.

Art on the Railings
Saturday 15 September 11am – 4pm
Exhibition of paintings by children produced earlier in the festival.

The Camera Never Lies
Saturday 15 September, 1-3pm, Wilderspin School Museum
Family trail to meet the Victorians of Queen Street – with dressing-up opportunities!

Full details will be available in the summer in print, and online at or

Posted on:16th April 2018