The Windsor & Royal Borough Museum
The Windsor Museum was opened on Friday 11th March 2011 in the Guildhall.
Windsor & Royal Borough Museum
TEL: 01628 685686
About Windsor Museum
While Windsor Castle is important, the town that grew up outside the castle walls has its own story to tell too. The new museum of Windsor town features stories of the last 1000 years of this wonderful Thames-side town.
When the top floor is not in use by wedding parties or council officials, the museum staff take guided tours around the upper floor, showing visitors the rooms where Price Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were married.
Other than that, the famous family up at the castle do get the occasional mention, but it is the people of Windsor town (not the Castle) who are the stars of this museum. A few famous names pop up (Sidney Camm, the designer of the Hawker Hurricane is well commemorated, but more interesting are the lives of less famous people. You can get a real insight into how the people of Windsor and Maidenhead have survived and thrived down the ages. Some amazing photos of the town are on display, alongside ancient mammoth tusks and artifacts from over 7,000 years of human habitation.
A bust of William Shakespeare is on display. It was carved from part of ‘Herne’s Oak’, a tree which features in Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor. The reputedly haunted tree was chopped down during the reign of Queen Victoria and aside from the small part that was used for the bust, the branches were burned in the fireplaces of Windsor Castle.
The archaeology cabinet contains flints, bronze work, coins and knives from archaeological digs in Windsor and at nearby Wraysbury. Pride of place in this cabinet goes to the beautiful twisted gold bracelet and five gold rings discovered in the local area in 2010. They date back over 3000 years and are top quality examples of just how good at metalwork the people of the bronze age were.
With two barracks in town the military history of the town is well recorded in the museum with a wide range of artifacts. The museum holds a number of ‘dead man’s pennies’; the nickname that was given to the large medals issued to the next of kin of servicemen who died in the first world war. These plaques are 12-centimetres across and feature Britannia holding an oak wreath, standing behind a lion.
The names of the deceased are also included, making these rather poignant exhibits.
Another curious exhibit is the original postbox used in 1911 when the world’s first airpost service ran between Windsor and Hendon in north London, 20 minutes away as the monoplane flies. There is also a bust of Sidney Camm the aircraft designer (born in Alma Road, Windsor) and above it suspended from the ceiling, a model of Camm’s Hawker Hurricane flies overhead. In a nearby case is a small piece of a Hurricaine which crashed within the borough during World War II. To even things up there is also a piece of a German aircraft that suffered a similar fate.
These are just a few of the many things that can be seen at the Windsor Museum.
Visiting Windsor Museum
The museum is open between 10.00 and 4.00pm seven days a week. The entry fee for adults is just £2.00 and this includes the audio guide and a guided tour of the Guildhall upstairs when available.
A team of staff and volunteers are there to help visitors and provide guided tours of the top floor (where Charles and Camilla tied the knot) when possible.
A really good audio tour is available in English. It leads visitors around the exhibits which focus on different aspects of town life.
Special events are organised for half terms and summer holidays. Call for further details.