The Cottage Museum first opened its doors in 1987 and has, so far, welcomed over 30,000 visitors. It is a small community museum managed by volunteers.
It is here today as a result of the great dedication and effort of volunteers from the community over the past twenty years. But it began with the vision of one man, John Wield, over a hundred years ago! He foresaw that one-day people would ask about the origins of the then young Victorian spa community and so set about recording what he could for the future.
John had a fascination with the art of photography, one of his many interests, and it is his photographic collection, which forms the basis for today’s Cottage Museum, the home of his family from 1887 to the 1960s
Richard Porter, a much-respected dentist who was living in John Wield’s bungalow in the early 1980′s, had become the guardian of John Wield’s collection of photographs and ephemera. When he was about to move to Scotland he offered the collection to David Radford (the founding Chairman of the Trust) provided it was put on public display!
Not long after that, in 1985, John Wield’s bungalow came on the market. This seemed to be the ideal place to display the collection of the work of that far sighted photographer, in his own environment. After an initial meeting the community audience voted to support the idea of a museum and, in 1986, the Trust was formed.