Museum of English Rural Life re-opens

Drawing specially commissioned from Martin Andrews for the MERL re-opening

Drawing specially commissioned from Martin Andrews for the MERL re-opening

The internationally significant Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) on Redlands road re-opens this week after a multi-million pound refit.

The museum was opened by actor Tim Bentinck (David Archer in the eponymous BBC Radio 4 series), who quipped that MERL was “a museum of everyday country folk.”

The museum, home to the Victorian mouse trap that came out of retirement to dispose of more rodents this year, includes interactive displays and videos as well as a large range of agricultural machinery, implements and artefacts exhibited together with explanatory narratives.

The 1951 Festival of Britain Country Pavilion wall hangings by Michael O’Connell are one of the highlights of the museum. The panel for Kent is currently on show.

There is also a colourful section devoted to Ladybird books, of which MERL has a significant collection.

Admission is free.


  1. The Museum of English Rural Life
  2. Bringing the countryside into the town

2 thoughts on “Museum of English Rural Life re-opens

  1. I took the opportunity to explore the MERL more thoroughly today. It was more emotionally moving than I expected; presumably because so many of the items on show are personal – chairs, hand tools, a reed mattress. I recommend spending some quiet time here to muse on a way of life that forms a foundation to much of our cultural as well as family histories.


  2. Pingback: The year on Katesgrove Hill | The Whitley Pump

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