The Felixstowe Museum
The delightful Felixstowe Museum is housed in the Ravelin Block, adjacent to the Port viewing area. It was completed by the Royal Engineers, in 1878, as part of a Submarine Mining Establishment and is the only remaining purpose-built example in the U.K.
The mines were electrically connected, tested and stored in this building, which included a smithy and carpenter’s shop.The Harwich harbour defensive minefield was laid between Landguard and Dovercourt.
In 1979 the Felixstowe History & Museum Society took possession of the Ravelin Block, which had been empty since 1976. The Department of the Environment renovated the fabric of the building, laying on water and electricity. Volunteers cleared the first few rooms inside, enabling the museum to open at Easter 1982.
In 1996 the property became the responsibility of English Heritage. However, the museum remained completely independent and self-financing. Now every room is in use although not all are open to the public (e.g. workshop, collection stores). There are fourteen display areas, recording the social and military history of the town. Also, a tearoom, shop, reference library and archive room.
In 2003 the museum achieved full registration status, in recognition of attaining national standards in collection care and management. It has subsequently been awarded Full Accreditation by the Arts Council in 2013.
The museum is managed and staffed entirely by volunteers. It opens to the public between Easter and end-October but work parties continue throughout the winter on myriad tasks; painting, cataloguing, conservation, research, setting up new displays etc. During the season we also have a stall on numerous “away-days” at shows and events. New volunteers are always welcome!
For details of opening times and what’s on, check the website www.felixstowemuseum.org or e-mail: