Open letter from Peter January, Chair of the Museum Trustees

SOMERSET CRICKET MUSEUM

I am writing as Chair of the Trustees of the Somerset Cricket Museum. You will be familiar with the Museum and may have visited. Even so, I thought it would be of interest to you to know something about the working of the Museum.

History

The Museum is housed in Priory Barn, which is the only surviving building of the medieval Taunton Priory. When the Somerset County Cricket Club Supporters’ Club was wound up, the remaining assets were liquidated. Some of the proceeds were given to the Club, the rest was used to purchase Priory Barn and the land on which it sits, for the sole purpose of creating a cricket museum. Thus, the Museum really is the SCCC members’ Museum. 

When the barn was bought in 1981 it was in disrepair and considerable effort and fundraising was needed before it opened to the public in 1989. A major refurbishment was completed in 2012, to deliver the Museum we have today.

The Trustees

I am privileged to Chair an experienced board of ten Trustees. They come from a wide range of professional backgrounds (artist, photographer, diplomat, journalist, accountant, cricketer, broadcaster) and, over the years in their professional capacity, they have had dealings with the Club. As I say, it is an experienced group, but fresh blood and new ideas are always welcome.

The Trustees have legal responsibility for the management of the Museum. In other words, the buck stops there! Policies and procedures are in place to share the onus among the individual Trustees, at the same time ensuring the collective responsibility is met. The day-to-day work is done by a small, but dedicated, band of volunteers.

The Volunteers

In addition to opening and closing the Museum, the Volunteers are involved in research and the creation of new exhibits; the custody of artefacts; the website; and book sales. They handle the accounting, insurance, security systems and utilities etc. There is also the matter of keeping Priory Barn reasonably clean – no small matter in a 600 year old building. 

I am constantly surprised, and a little envious, about how much fun they seem to have. They do tell me that they would like to increase their number, because the more volunteers there are, the more frequently the Museum can open.

Finance

Like everywhere else in the recent past, operating expenses have increased. It costs over £10,000 a year to keep the Museum open. Entry is free, so the Museum depends entirely on donations and the proceeds of book sales. In some years, it is necessary to dip into reserves, especially if major new exhibits are planned. That said, the finances are in good shape. If all income dried up, the reserves are enough to keep the Museum open for at least two years.

However, these reserves will not last forever and the Trustees are always interested to hear of new ways to raise funds.

The Future

The journey from derelict barn to world class cricket museum has taken nearly 50 years. It has been a successful one because of significant contributions made by a lot of people. The Trustees are now planning for the journey to continue for the next 50 years. The plans inevitably include the need for new personnel. If you are interested in being part of this enterprise – as Trustee, Volunteer, or simply interested helper – then please do contact any of the people listed below. 

It will be worthwhile; and you will get a real sense of achievement; and it will not mean that you have to give up any of your cricket!

Thank you for reading this note. Now, let’s look forward to a great summer, with some silverware at the end!

Regards

Peter January

Chair of the Trustees – Somerset Cricket Museum

2nd April 2024

Contacts

David Wood                            12davidwood@btinternet.com

Ann Collins                            Ann@somersetcricketmuseum.co.uk

Mike Unwin                            Mike@somersetcricketmuseum.co.uk

Patrick Draycott                      Patrick@sometsetcricketmuseum.co.uk

Peter January                          p.january@sky.com

News Item – Walkers and Talkers 6th February 2024

Somewhere between 50-60 people Walking and Talking came into the Somerset Cricket Museum today to hear David Wood, our Curator, give an amusing talk on Cricket quotations.

The Group then returned to the 1875 Room for a Q&A session with Museum Trustee Mr. Anthony Gibson.

News Item – Walkers and Talkers 23rd January 2024

In a change from the norm (it was raining!) the ‘Museum’ talk for the Walkers and Talkers Group was given in the 1875 room, this morning.

Mr Keith Templeman, Chair of Somerset Stragglers CC, gave a short talk on the history of that Club, after which some folk braved the elements to walk to the Museum and see the display.

Thanks to Keith for preparing and delivering the talk.

Virtual Tour available for disabled Visitors

Delighted to say that disabled visitors who are unable to go up stairs can now view those exhibits using our virtual tour system, which was installed within the museum today (8/11/2023).

Thank you 360 South West Ltd. for all your help on this project.

News Item – Visit of Susann Savidge to the Museum

A busy morning in the Somerset Cricket Museum (31/10/2023). Today we welcomed Mustafa Shaikh, from the Somerset Cricket Foundation and his guest, Susann Savidge from the Somerset African Caribbean Network (SACN).

Susann was investigating how greater networking links can be made within Somerset. The Museum visit was followed by a walk around the ground looking at the West Indian players featured in the Hall of Fame and the two gates dedicated to Viv and Joel.

Mustafa and Susann are seen holding Viv’s autographed bat and one autographed by the West Indian test team

Visits of the Walkers and Talkers Groups

Over the last six months we have been pleased to welcome the Walkers and Talkers to the Museum along with their special guests – this video records the visit of the group in July 2023 along with their guest speaker Vic Marks, who has donated three of his international blazers to the Museum (seen in this video).

Barry Clifton

On behalf of David Wood, Curator at the Somerset Cricket Museum

We regret to announce the death of Barry Clifton, who helped run the museum for some ten years until 2017 before declining health forced him to step down. He took a special interest in our book sales but turned his hand to whatever needed doing.

Born in St Albans and working in London, he moved to central Taunton precisely because he could be near a county cricket ground.

His funeral will take place at Taunton Crematorium on Friday 30th June at 1.20pm. All who knew him would be welcome.

His sister has generously suggested that any financial gifts that might be offered should be given to Somerset Cricket Museum. It is what he would have wanted.

Museum Guide Books

Delighted to take delivery of our new Museum Guide Books, pictured below is our Curator David Wood, receiving the first copies from Imogen Parker of the Wellington based @CarlyPressLtd .

The twenty four page Guide Book was compiled and written by Museum Volunteer, Paul Smith, with photos by Geoff Vian and Alain Lockyer. We are also very grateful to Annie Chave and her team at County Cricket Matters for their work in proof reading the text. The booklet was printed at the Wellington based Carly Press.

The books will be on sale in the Museum during the next CC match v Notts, do come & see us.

Somerset Women’s Cricket Team visit the Museum

We were very pleased to welcome the (triumphant) Somerset Women’s Cricket Team to the Somerset Cricket Museum on Sunday 14th May during a break in play in the T20 Regional Finals Day.

Pictured below are the Somerset team looking at some of the exhibits and Sophie Luff presenting the 2019 T20 Division 2 Champions Trophy to Volunteer Patrick Draycott, to be added to the collection of Women’s Cricket Memorabilia. (Sophie was overall top scorer in that competition with 316 runs).

Do come and have a look at the extensive Women’s Cricket collection next time you visit the Ground for the next County Championship match.

The Somerset Women’s team, sporting the new kit, were victorious in the regional T20 final’s competition. (A competition much curtailed by rain this year)

A comfortable win over Devon in the semi-final the morning followed by an even more comfortable win over Wales at the County Ground under floodlights in the evening. A better fielding display from Wales may have made the job tougher. Nevertheless, two emphatic wins.

Emily Edgecombe has, this season, taken over the reins from Sophie Luff, as captain of the Somerset Women’s team.

With her exploits during Finals Day, Natasha Wraith has passed the career 500 runs mark, for Somerset Women.

Excellent scores of 45 (from 28 balls) in the SF, and 39 (from 22 balls) in the Final, set Somerset Women on their way to victory. 

Emily Edgecombe also began her captaincy spell with two fine bowling performances with 2 wickets in the SF, and a 4-fer in the final.

A busy day in the Museum

21st March 2023 – What a busy day in the Museum! A Somerset County Cricket Club photoshoot launching the new 2023 County Championship shirt with Tom Abell, Craig Overton and James Rew and James Hildreth dropping in to donate a bat to the Museum. The silver cup that James is holding is the U17 player of the year awarded to James in 1991 (and now displayed in the Museum).

Somerset’s Historic T20 win v Derbyshire

Highlights of the historic win on July 9th 2022 can be found here

Photographs will be added to the Photo Gallery in due course

Picture courtesy Simon Best @SimonBest007
The Toss. Picture courtesy of David Griffin @DGriffinpix

Picture courtesy of Ralph Hesp @ralphindevon
Tom Abell in Action.
Picture courtesy of Sir Michael Barber @MichaelBarber9
Peter Siddle in Action
Picture courtesy of Sir Michael Barber @MichaelBarber9
Ben Green striking the historic runs.
Picture courtesy of David Griffin @DGriffinpix

Picture courtesy of David Griffin @DGriffinpix
Picture courtesy of David Griffin @DGriffinpix

Somerset amassed the highest ever total in English domestic men’s T20 cricket of 265/5  beating their previous best of 250/3 v Gloucestershire in 2006 and exceeded the previous T20 record score in England, 261 for two by the Birmingham Bears against Nottinghamshire in June 2022, with Ben Green striking two sixes in the final over.

 The winning margin of 191runs is also the highest in T20 cricket in this country.

Rilee Rossouw became Somerset’s most prolific scorer in a T20 season with 600 at an average of 50, with a strike rate of 197.36.

Derbyshire’s spin bowler McKiernan was hit for 82 in his four overs, again, the most expensive figures in men’s T20 cricket history, including 36 off one over (5x6s, 1×4 and 1 no ball (2)).

Also the Derbyshire innings (68 balls) was the third lowest ’all out’ innings in Blast history

  • 63 balls / all out by Essex v Somerset at Chelmsford, 2011
  • 67 balls / all out by Warwickshire v Gloucestershire at Edgbaston, 2020
  • 68 balls / all out by Derbyshire v Somerset at Taunton, 2022

Somerset will play Hampshire at Finals Day for the 5th time in Somerset’s last 6 Finals Day appearances, which is by far the most common match-up on Finals Day – no other pair of counties have even met three times

The full match scorecard can be seen here

Provision of Audio facilities

Following on from an earlier email contact related to the use of audio for the articles published on the museum website, for people with visual impairments, Discussions have taken place with a local Talking Newspapers Group, who will record the articles and make them available to both their own listeners and to ourselves. We will keep you posted regarding the progress we make.

Use of Audio

To the lady (PH) who kindly emailed us regarding the use of Audio. We are looking at this and hope to be able to provide this facility in the near future. Unfortunately you email box is full so i cannot reply formally.