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Aldbourne Heritage Centre prepares for 10th anniversary celebrations





A Wiltshire museum is hosting a day of celebrations to mark its 10th anniversary.

Aldbourne Heritage Centre, located next to The Crown pub, has welcomed more than 12,000 visitors since opening in 2014.

Aldbourne Heritage Centre is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month
Aldbourne Heritage Centre is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month

It holds a wealth of displays from pre-historic and Roman finds to boards covering the legendary 'Band of Brothers' stay around the village before and after D-Day.

Aldbourne also featured in five episodes of Dr Who in 1971 — and 'Whovians' still visit.

Shoulder sleeve insignia of the 101st Airborne Division, known as the ‘Screaming Eagles’, discovered in the village
Shoulder sleeve insignia of the 101st Airborne Division, known as the ‘Screaming Eagles’, discovered in the village
Memorial plaque dedicated to the famous ‘Band of Brothers’ at The Crown pub
Memorial plaque dedicated to the famous ‘Band of Brothers’ at The Crown pub

And as a result of four archaeological digs over the past five years — which uncovered the site of a US Army camp — the museum continues to attract interest from far and wide.

To mark its upcoming milestone, supporters are invited to visit the Heritage Centre and The Crown courtyard on Saturday, July 13, to experience traditional crafts, retro video games, historical displays, old vehicles on the Green, plus the chance to trace their family history.

Inside Aldbourne Heritage Centre’s rich collection of local artefacts
Inside Aldbourne Heritage Centre’s rich collection of local artefacts
A cockerel wind vane from St Michael’s Church damaged by American officers taking pot shots from outside The Blue Boar pub
A cockerel wind vane from St Michael’s Church damaged by American officers taking pot shots from outside The Blue Boar pub

And, fresh back from France, Aldbourne D-Day veteran, Cecil Newton, is expected to attend the event as an honoured guest.

Once a public toilet, the centre then became a youth internet café.

The museum’s collection of iconic Crotal bells
The museum’s collection of iconic Crotal bells
The Aldbourne Cup, an early Bronze Age cup discovered by Canon William Greenwell when he excavated a number of Bronze Age barrows in the parish in 1878 and 1879
The Aldbourne Cup, an early Bronze Age cup discovered by Canon William Greenwell when he excavated a number of Bronze Age barrows in the parish in 1878 and 1879

But once this left in 2013, the premises was up for grabs, as co-founder, Terry Gilligan, explains.

"When we knew this building was becoming vacant, we asked the parish council to make sure we were on the list," he told newburytoday.

Co-founder, Terry Gilligan, with the museum’s collection of historical finds
Co-founder, Terry Gilligan, with the museum’s collection of historical finds

Mr Gilligan, who has lived the village his whole life, started the museum alongside Alan Heasman and Jo Hutchins.

Jan Lambourn has been a museum trustee for nine years
Jan Lambourn has been a museum trustee for nine years
Inside Aldbourne Heritage Centre’s wide collection of donated, discovered and on loan items
Inside Aldbourne Heritage Centre’s wide collection of donated, discovered and on loan items

It has since delivered more than 100 talks and welcomed over 50 bus loads of Americans on their ‘Band of Brothers’ European tour — including one most recently from New Orleans.

Terry Gilligan with trustees John and Liz Dymond, Jan Lambourn and Margaret Manby
Terry Gilligan with trustees John and Liz Dymond, Jan Lambourn and Margaret Manby

It is now run by a team of eight trustees.

The free event will run from 11am until 4.30pm. Watch out for parking signs.



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