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Frenchay Village Museum.
The Frenchay Tuckett Society was formed in 1996 to care for a collection of Quaker artefacts donated to the village of Frenchay by the descendents of the Tuckett family. The Society is a registered charity whose objective is “to advance the education of the public in the history of the village of Frenchay”.
The Village Museum is only one of the activities of the Society. It organises guided walks, publishes books and presents a series of local history talks during the winter months.
The Museum building was built in the 19th century as the West Lodge for Frenchay Park estate. The building has had considerable modifications over the years. The latest changes were in 1999 when the Frenchay Tuckett Society obtained a lease on the building from the North Bristol NHS Trust and converted for use as a museum. Winterbourne Parish Council adopted the scheme as a Millennium Project and their financial support has been much appreciated. Many people, both local and from further afield, also gave generously which allowed the project to be completed.
The Tuckett Collection, which is the nucleus of the museum, contains a wide variety of artefacts, some dating back to the 1770s. These include paintings, mountaineering equipment, journals, Quaker wedding certificates, books, Egyptian remains, Bristol porcelain and much more.
From the 17th century Frenchay was a centre of non-conformist Christian worship. The village has a Unitarian Chapel and a Quaker meeting House – both still in use today. Church of England, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches have all arrived at much later dates. Items relating to these religious activities are on display.
Frenchay’s close links with its near neighbour Bristol are shown by a unique display about the Reform Bill and the Bristol Riots of 1831. Data on the chocolate business of J.S.Fry and Sons and the manufacture of Bristol porcelain are also on display.
Many of the residents who have lived in Frenchay had influences beyond the confines of the village. Frederick Tuckett who founded Dunedin in New Zealand, the Penn family and Pennsylvania, Frank Tuckett’s early Alpine explorations, J.S.Fry’s great chocolate enterprise, F.D.Maurice who founded the Christian Socialist Movement, Queen’s college and the Working Men’s College in London all had strong Frenchay connections. Some of their history is on display.
Frenchay Park House and its grounds are now part of the North Bristol NHS Trust. The museum has a display outlining the history of the hospital, including the time when it was an American military hospital during the Second World War. The hospital has since become a major centre for burns and neurosurgery for the South West of England.
Local records are held in copy form and are available to all visitors in the Museum study area and on-line. The records include local censuses 1841 – 1891, school registers, school log books, church baptism, marriage and burial records, headstone details, Cricket Club score books, Parish magazines from1889. There is also a large collection of photographs relating to Winterbourne Civil Parish of which Frenchay is a part.