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
children playing on the swing in the museum playground

Record Number of Visitors to the Museum

Our 60,000th visitor came to the museum during the year!

Over 12,000 people visited last year, including around 2,500 using our new cafe which is proving very popular.

This was the highest number of visitors we’ve had since our launch in 2009.  We have welcomed almost 70,000 visitors since our launch in 2009.  Including school pupils visiting with their schools, over 25% have been children.

Almost 3,500 children and adults visited as part of a school visit or group tour.

Since 2009, an additional 55,000 people have taken part in activities that use our premises for courses, meetings and community activities.  As well as the museum we have rooms that can be hired or rented on a long term commercial basis.

Posted on:26th September 2016

Classroom Memories

We’ve opened our new – or should that be “old”? Classroom. It’s actually a classroom in two halves. One half is set in the post war years of the 40s and 50s, with desks in rows and Beacon Readers under the desk lids; and the other half is set in the 60s and 70s with tables in blocks and an “open plan” feel – the School closed in 1978. All the things we remember from school are there – the nature table, the weighing scales ready for the visit of the School Nurse, and the painting corner. All that’s missing are the pupils – but their “period costume” is hanging on their pegs along with their pump bags.

The classroom was set up after we’d interviewed former pupils and staff, and collected the memories of others who spent their schooldays elsewhere in Britain – but it’s amazing how common the experiences were! This was all done as part of a two year project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund so that we could recapture some of the School’s past in living memory.

It has been designed to prompt memories and discussion so there are lots of things to look at in the teacher’s cupboard and desks, and in the pupils’ desks.

Posted on:2nd June 2016