Latest Touring Exhibition – Design Icons through the 1960s, 70s and 80s


Taking you on a journey from the mischievous Mary Quant Fashions to the ground-breaking Nintendo Gameboy, Design Icons explores some of the most recognisable designs of the twentieth century. The third exhibition in a series of six touring exhibitions, Design Icons was launched with great success at the Time Machine Gallery in Harlow on Friday 22nd August.

Albie, Ian Beckett, Hannah and Tony Boyce

Albie, Ian Beckett, Hannah and Tony Boyce

Officially opened by the Chairman of Harlow Council, Cllr Ian Beckett and the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Cllr Tony Boyce, guests were able to try a selection of 1970s party food (lots of cheese and pineapple hedgehogs!) and experience the music of the three decades from the fantastic live band, The Established.

Design Icons has been curated by two 3D Design students from Herts Regional College as part of Epping Forest District Museum’s Young Curators Programme. Starting in January 2014, Hannah Turner and Albie Saunders worked voluntarily on the exhibition, designing and producing the exhibition from start to finish. The launch night celebrated their hard work and their imaginative creativity.

Original MK1 Raleigh Chopper from Nottingham City Museums and Galleries

Original MK1 Raleigh Chopper from Nottingham City Museums and Galleries

Design Icons is now on display at the Time Machine Gallery until the 7th October. Fun for everyone, the exhibition is packed full of hands-on games and activities. Listen to the top hits of the 1980s, try your hand at playing Mario on an original Gameboy and admire the fashions of the three decades. The exhibition showcases collections from around the East of England and features a 1960s customised Mod Parka from Lowewood Museum and an original MK1 Raleigh Chopper from Nottingham City Museums and Galleries.

For opening times take a look at the Science Alive website –

This exhibition is a touring exhibition produced by Epping Forest District Museum and funded by Arts Council England. The museum’s Young Curators programme has been funded by ROH Bridge.

Design Icons: Through the 1960s, 70s and 80s is available to hire, free of charge, to any venue in the East of England. If you are interested in hiring this exhibition or would like to ask a question then please get in touch:
Email –
Tel – 01992 716 882

The Stuart Turner Photograph Collection – donation by The Epping Society

Donation to Epping Forest District Museum

On Tuesday 22nd July the Epping Society formally handed over their donation of an extensive collection of original monochrome photographs taken in Epping in the early 1970s by Stuart Turner.

Jill Holmen (Museum's Collections Manager) and Andrew Smith (The Epping Society Chairman)

Jill Holmen (Museum’s Collections Manager) and Andrew Smith (The Epping Society Chairman)

Stuart Browning Turner was born in London in 1904. He attended Ardingly College in West Sussex and started his working life as a filing clerk with an insurance firm in the City of London. In 1929 he joined the British Xylonite Company, the first British firm to successfully manufacture plastic material in commercial quantities. During World War Two the firm worked on Bexois, a material that replaced scarce alloy that was normally used for fittings in wartime planes. By 1950, he was a director of the company. Between the 1960s and the 1980s Stuart compiled an extensive collection of photographic prints and postcards showing harbours, mills, viaducts, quays, an oast house and a tin mine. This material is to be found in the English Heritage Industrial Collections.

Most of his married life was spent living in Beulah Road, Epping. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society in 1977. He was also a founding member of the Epping Society and used his photographic skills to make an extensive record of Epping and the surrounding area.

This fantastic collection of photographs show Epping as it was only 40 years ago showing the changes, losses and preservations of some of the historical buildings within the town. This is a fantastic collection which the Museum is really pleased to have acquired. The photographs will be stored safely during the Museum’s redevelopment project until they can be used on reopening.

33 High Street Epping, Blue Star Garage Petrol and water tower now Gates Ford

33 High Street Epping, Blue Star Garage Petrol and water tower now Gates Ford

Epping Forest District Museum – History of a Tudor House

As you already know work is underway on a Heritage Lottery Fund redevelopment project to improve Epping Forest District Museum. As well as improving the services with a community room, lift and the collections at the heart of the museum, the team will also be working to preserve and interpret the history of the house that the museum lives in.

So we thought we would share a little history about the building with you.

The first recorded references to Sun Street are seen in a rental of Waltham c.1320 and two deeds of c.1321-2. Here Sun Street is referred to in its former name, East Street.

The building that the museum is now housed in (no 41) started life in the 16th century as a two storey timber framed house.

model of 41 sun street as it could have looked in 1520

In the early 17th century the roof was raised to add an extra storey to the building.

Prior to 1730 41 Sun Street was owned by Henry Woollasten. Woollasten was a leading figure in Waltham Abbey, he was the son of a draper. He was prominent in church and local affairs and in 1642 he was given a commission from King Charles I to repair the keepers’ lodges in Epping Forest.

The houses and the wider estates it was a part of stayed in the Woollasten family before parts were sold to James Dobson a draper from Covent Garden. The property then stayed in the Dobson family for 200 years.

fireplace lintel initals

Within the house the fireplace lintel in one of the downstairs rooms reveals some history about one of the tenants. It bears the initials “TCT.” It is likely these refer to Thomas Taylor and his wife Constance. Their 6 children were baptised in Waltham Abbey church between 1671 and 1680.

Other occupiers included Richard Watkins from c.1731 and the Harvey family who seemed to have been occupiers between c.1742/3 and the early 1790s.

c. 1761/2 39 and 41 Sun Street were given their common roof. This was at the same time as number 39 was built. Number 39 is also a timbered framed structure.

The previously mentioned Harveys were the occupiers when a fire broke out in August 1786 which could have destroyed 39 and 41 Sun Street but was averted because of a change in wind direction.

1870 Ordance Survey map of Sun Street

Another notable occupant was John Bently and his son who were occupiers of 39 and 41 Sun Street by 1890. Bently had a lot of importance in the area as a builder, contractor and undertaker. He was involved in the building of St George’s Church, Enfield Highway, Waltham Abbey Town Hall and Woodredon House as well as the rebuilding of the upper part of the Abbey Church tower in the early 1900s.

He largely reconstructed 39 Sun Street himself and was responsible for the mock Tudor timbered front on the two houses.

scale drawing of the sun street facade of 39 and 41 sun street

For a large part of the 1900s 41 Sun Street was occupied by various doctors including Dr Percy Streatfield, DR R H Carter, Dr Bell Smith and lastly Dr Parkinson who lived and practiced at no. 41 until 1973. Parkinson extended the property by the addition of a purpose built surgery and waiting room.

The last owner-occupier was Rowland Blake, wheelwright, who owned the property from 1958 to 1972. It was then bought by Waltham Holy Cross Urban District Council in connection with the town centre redevelopment. It was then used under Epping Forest District Council as a residence before being empty in 1979. It was in this same year that vandals entered and set fire to the property. Luckily this happened during the day so a lot of damage was prevented.

Historical Society Museum

In 1974 No. 41 was listed as of “special architectural or historic interest” (Grade II) before being upgrading to Grade II* and in 1975 the Waltham Abbey Historical Society were granted a tenancy-at-will to use the ground floor as a museum. When they took over the building they had to remove the ceiling as it was falling down – when the material was sifted they had some interesting finds. Amongst the finds was an Elizabethan silver sixpence dated 1562, it was in mint condition and could have been lost shortly after it was made.

elizabeth I coin found in 1975 at 41 sun street

Finally in November 1981 the District Museum was opened in both 39 and 41 after a conversion project in the previous year.
Museum Opening

Epping Forest District and the Great War

A new temporary community exhibition “Epping Forest District and the Great War”
WW1 Exhibition poster

Epping Forest District Museum was one of the Museums selected to receive funding and be part of the SHARE Museums East Community Cabinet project. The ‘Community Cabinet’ is an invitation to members of the public and community groups to curate a single, dedicated cabinet with objects of their own choice. Objects may come from their own lives and ‘collections’ or from the museum’s vast array of objects.

Epping Forest District Museum’s community cabinet will be displayed in Epping Civic Offices while the Museum is closed for a Heritage Lottery Fund redevelopment. Once the Museum reopens the dedicated community cabinet will feature within the newly redisplayed museum and we will have a series of exhibitions throughout the year.

Our first project was working to help document the links between Epping Forest District and World War One. As part of the project the team have been going out and about into the district, holding Heritage Events in various venues to allow people to share their stories with us. The objects have been recorded and stories documented and these records will become part of the Museum’s collection.

The objects and stories discovered have now come together as the museum’s first community cabinet display. These unique and unheard stories feature in a free temporary exhibition at the Civic Offices in Epping High Street from 4th August to 4th September 2014.

exhibition opening

The exhibition was opened on Monday 4th August by the Chairman of the Council, Tony Boyce, who also met invited guests who had loaned objects to be part of the display.

Here are some photographs of the exhibition.
WW1 ExhibitionWW1 exhibitionWW1 exhibition

If you have a collection or might be interested in putting on a display in our community cabinet then get in touch with the museum:

T. 01992 716882