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
quiz written on blackboard slate

Museums at Night Quiz

Sorry – we’ve had to cancel the quiz.  We were holding out for more teams but they weren’t forthcoming.

We’ll reschedule for the Autumn.

Posted on:9th April 2018

Cushion appeal off to a good start!

We are well on the way with our cushion sponsorship scheme for the Joseph Wright Hall auditorium.

We are asking for individual and corporate sponsorship of seat cushions at £50 each with public acknowledgement (unless requested otherwise).

A number of organisations and individuals have kindly sponsored one or more seats and we are confident we may be able to furnish the Hall with more comfortable seating later in the year, with just a little extra help!

If you would like to forward a sponsorship payment please make your cheque payable to QSSPT or pay by BACS using sort code 40 52 40, and account number 00021356.  Let us know how to contact you so we can confirm with you how you would like your cushion(s) acknowledged, or if you are supporting us in memory of someone special.

The Co-Op Community Fund gave us a great start with over £900.


Please get in touch if you’d like to help.


t. (01652) 635172

m. John Walker, Chairman QSSPT, Wilderspin Natioal School Museum, Queen Street, Barton upon Humber, N. Lincs.  DN18 5QP


Posted on:14th January 2018

Wilderspin’s Hull Connections

Samuel Wilderspin went out on a limb to educate young children in cities across Victorian Britain.  He was a pioneer of Infant Schools and set up over two thousand – including several in Hull – and was justly rewarded by Queen Victoria.

We are sharing the story of Wilderspin in Hull as part of the legacy of Hull City of Culture 2017.




Our outreach exhibition is available for display at venues across the city, consisting of a small re-creation of Wilderspin’s Infant Schoolroom.

Please get in touch with us if you would like to know more or might be interested in hosting the display.




HLFHI_2747 March 2010


Posted on:18th November 2017

Memorable group visits

Members of Hull U3A began their visit began in the Primitive Methodist Chapel (1867) before a conducted tour of the Infant School and Playground (1845), just in time for lessons and reminiscences in the Classroom – before a splendid buffet lunch in the 1960s Classroom.

The Museum is a popular venue for group visits – their length varies but typically last two to three hours depending on whether it involves lunch or afternoon tea.  The guide tour takes about one hour – and you can include a short “lesson” in the Victorian Classroom, or you can have an object quiz to test who’s been listening attentively during the tour!

The tour costs £3.50 per person.  Refreshment costs vary from tea / coffee & biscuits (£1 per person) to a sandwich buffet – our cafe will negotiate a price with you for this.

There’s plenty of seating around the Museum if members of your group have restricted mobility – it’s all on the ground floor with wheelchair access and a wheelchair accessible toilet.  There’s good car parking too and coaches can easily drop off outside the School.

Some groups visit other places of interest in the town nearby  and make a day of it.

Everyone enjoys reminiscing and sharing memories of school and childhood – and go away smiling!

Posted on:28th June 2017

Barton’s Hidden Histories

A new mobile app has been created to enable you to discover the Hidden Histories of Barton-upon-Humber.
The app has lots of photos, sound bites, video clips and text to help tell the fascinating story of the town.
To download it click on the image below and select if you want it for iPhone or Android



It was devised as part of a project called Past Forward – a partnership project involving The Ropewalk and Wilderspin National School.  The Heritage Trail phone app and latest Barton Shrink map are also part of the project.

Posted on:11th February 2017