Hark to the Past at the Pendon

Bringing the past to life with a glimpse of rural England in the Vale during the 1920s and 30s through the eyes of the Pendon Museum was unveiled at the June meeting of the Long Wittenham Parish Council sponsored Good Neighbours Club.

Chris Webber a trustee of the museum said the Pendon helped bring a touch of nostalgia to the present showing what rural life was like 80 and 90 years ago.  The Vale Scene depicted what it was like in a rural district with accurate, life-like models of buildings and excellent model railway layouts.

Apart from the Vale Scene there is the Dartmoor Scene reflecting the variety of trains seen on the Great Western Railway and the Madder Vale Railway which was the first fully scenic model from the 1930s.  It is a fragile model and can only be run on selected days.

Mr Webber traced the history of the museum which was founded in 1954 by an Australian, the late Roye England, at the old Three Poplars pub which he turned into a youth hostel to help fund the museum’s development.

In 1955 Mr England bought an old RAF hut for use as the first museum building and transferred model buildings from the Three Poplars.  The present museum building was opened in 1971.  By December 1981 the Vale Landscape scene was finished including an extensive model railway layout.

Mr England died in 1995 by which time the Pendon was attracting thousands of visitors a year including tourists from abroad. The name Pendon has a complex history.  One of Mr England’s early supporters was a writer, hence Pen.  Originally “den” was added after one of his cluttered studies or dens.  But this was changed to “don” when it was discovered that Pendon was a little village on a hill.

More details about the museum are available on 01865 407365 and on the website: www.pendonmuseum.com

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