Local Activities

The museum houses the largest collection of items documenting the vanished social and recreational life of the Ramsey area. You can see fenland specialities, such as fen skating and eel catching, while more general activities and pastimes are well respresented in the collections of audio, photographic and entertainment material (which also feature in our Domestic displays). Shooting and fishing rank high in the list of local activities, and examples of both are to be found in the museum.

Eel Catching

The Pump room contains many examples of eel fishing equipment, including this trap made of willow by a local craftsman, Mr Venditti.

The last licensed eel trapper retired in 2016, and eels are now a critically endangered species.

Fen Skating

Fen skating on flooded, frozen fields dates back hundreds of years. The older skates had blades made of animal bone and we have a fragile example of this type in the Pump Room. The skates shown are a more modern pair with metal blades.

The Grand Cinema

In the Old Stable Block there are two original seats from the Grand Cinema. The Grand stood in Great Whyte and was built and operated by the Murkett Brothers from 1935 until it was taken on by the Haddon family. They ran it until its closure in 2005.

Did you know that Ramsey Library now stands on the site of the Grand and that Peter Haddon, who managed the Grand, is a volunteer at the museum?

Ramsey Town Band

In the Old Stable Block we have a large collection of instruments played by members of the Ramsey Town Band. This silver plated cornet was played by John Dawson and his daughter donated this, together with his uniform, to the museum. 

The old band is no more (closing in the 1960s), but the museum has a volunteer who was a member.

Natural History

The Victorian Naturalist’s study in the Old Stable Block houses these handmade butterfly nets. Similar nets would have been used in Woodwalton Fen by naturalists, such as Lord Rothschild, to collect insects for study.

Woodwalton Fen is still one of the UK’s best sites for rare insects and is now part of The Great Fen.