modes collections management

understanding collections

Tom Brown’s School Museum – Gallipoli and the legacy of Hughes and Betjeman

Share with:

WW1 Centenary Special Feature

Now among the pretty rural villages of Oxfordshire, we visit Tom Brown’s School Museum where we speak to the museum’s curator, Sharon Smith, and find out how this uniquely tiny building houses the legacy of Thomas Hughes, author of Tom Brown’s Schooldays, and how the Great War impacted on the small communities of Uffington, Woolstone and Baulking.


About Tom Brown’s School Museum

Tom Brown's School MuseumSharon explains, “We are a small local independent museum which achieved Accreditation Status from Arts Council England in 2013.

The Museum holds material on the life and works of Thomas Hughes, the author of Tom Brown’s Schooldays who was born and spent his early life in the village.  It also has information on Sir John Betjeman, who resided in the village, and is privileged to hold copies of correspondence by Sir John Betjeman, which has been placed in the Museum by his daughter.  The Museum has also been given a file of love letters written by Sir John Betjeman; the originals have been placed for safe keeping in the Oxford History Centre and digitised copies are held in the Museum.  We hold information on the Uffington White Horse and other sites of historical interest in the area as well as items of local interest.


What is the special focus of your WW1 display for visitors?

“We are remembering all the men who served in the First World War from this area – with photographs, artefacts, letters and individual stories.  We have a rolling presentation of photographs of the men who served from the villages of Uffington, Woolstone and Baulking.”

“We also have a presentation of a 1912 Ordnance survey map of the village of Uffington which shows where the men who served in the First World War lived.”

“A poppy marks the house which, when pressed, reveals a screen showing the 1911 census information for that household, and the relevant war record of the serviceman or men, with photographs of the house and men if they are available. 

“We have 130 names on our ‘Roll of Honour’, 30 of which were killed in action and 100 returned to the area.  These names were found by talking to local people in the community, collecting names from war memorials and internet sites such as the CWGC, and working through the 1911 census to find the men eligible to serve to see if they had a war record. 

“We were helped in our research by the publication ‘Berkshire and the War’ produced in association with the RGBW Wardrobe & Museum Trust and The Berkshire Yeomanry Museum in Windsor.

“Local families were generous in lending us artefacts of medals, letters, and even a Queen Mary’s Gift Box, which was complete with contents.”


What unique items will be of particular interest to your visitors?

Loverheart pincushion on display at Tom Brown's School MuseumA sweetheart pin-cushion made by soldiers of the First World War to give to their loved ones at home.


What is your favourite item on display?

We tell the story of two young men from the village who were the same age, went to school together, joined the Berkshire Yeomanry together and were both killed on the same day at the same battle in Gallipoli. 


Using Modes at the museum

“In view of the small size of the building, it is not our policy to acquire artefacts for the Museum.  However, we do welcome photographs, video material, oral tapes and documents that we can add to the Museum’s collection.

We are using MODES to catalogue books, documents, maps and photographs and this system may be accessed by visitors to the Museum.

The Museum’s collection of artefacts is small, however, it is used to augment the exhibitions in the Museum. 



Visit the Museum

The Museum is open on weekend afternoons and Bank Holiday Mondays from 2.00 – 5.00 pm from Easter to the end of October. 

Entry is free.

Find out more on the website:

See us on Facebook  UffingtonMuseum

Follow us on Twitter: @museumuffington


Photographic credits: All images are Courtesy of Tom Brown’s School Museum.

Other posts