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Newton Abbot's new museum opens Saturday

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020 8:06am

By Daniel Clark, local democracy reporter

Quick video tour here!

Newton Abbot’s new museum opens on Saturday – and we’ve been to have a look inside.

Newton’s Place, a £2.2 million museum and community hub, is also the new home of the town council and will include community space. Coronavirus restrictions mean only the museum opens this weekend. The museum in Newton’s Place is in the former St Leonard’s Church, Wolborough Street. Although entry is free, all trips must be booked in advance because of the pandemic.

Among the treasures on display will be the prehistoric Milber Votives, tiny cast figures that may have been used in ritualistic ceremonies.

“This is the first time that these miniature bronze age objects have ever been displayed in Newton Abbot,’ said museum curator Felicity Cole. They were discovered during excavations on Milber Down in 1937/8. “These beautiful little votives or sculptures would have been very highly prized at the time. They are part of the Torquay Museum collection and have kindly been loaned to the museum for a year. We are delighted to bring them home.”

Artefacts around Newton Abbot’s railway heritage are also among the many on displays, with Mrs Cole adding: “It’s going to be a real thrill to welcome our first visitors. We know how much interest Newton’s Place has generated and don’t believe for a minute that people will be disappointed when they see inside.

“The museum is looking absolutely fantastic and we’ve some superb hands- on displays set in a rich and colourful environment which marries the heritage of St Leonard’s with an upbeat contemporary vibe. There will be some old favourites to see but there are loads of really interesting new things that will appeal to everyone, we hope. There are lots of things that are hands on – with your hand sanitizer on of course at the moment.

“The old museum was perfect and bijoux, but with only two rooms, and now we have this wonderful space and we will able to breathe a bit more. It is very exciting and we wouldn’t be here without the boldness of the town council buying the building and allow us to open the community space and museum for you.”

To maintain public safety the community rooms and town council offices within Newton’s Place will remain out of bounds until further notice.  

The £2.2m Newton’s Place project, led by Newton Abbot Town Council, preserves the redundant Victorian Grade II-listed St Leonard’s Church building. The project has come in within budget and at zero net cost to the tax payers of Newton Abbot.


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