Upminster’s marvellously ramshackle Museum of Nostalgia, which is usually open a couple of times a month, will be closed through 2024 to allow for urgent repairs to its thatched roof.
The museum is housed in the Upminster Tithe Barn, a huge piece of agricultural architecture that can be dated as far back as at least the year 1440 – making it over 580 years old. However, the barn is on Historic England’s register of buildings at risk due to the state of the thatched roof, which urgently needs conservation.
Fortunately, Havering Council, which owns the barn, has secured £650,000 of central government funding via the National Highways heritage fund, to carry out essential renovation and improvement works at the barn.
The repairs will include work on the structural timbers, the soleplates, and brickwork, along with some work to reduce water damage around the building. Most significantly, they will also be replacing the Norfolk Reed thatch roof with a new thatched roof.
There’s also the possibility of adding a loo to the building, which will be a much appreciated upgrade for visitors and of course, the volunteers who open the barn each month.
Work is expected to start around May this year, and the barn will be able to reopen in Spring 2025.
So, sadly, there are no open days for the museum this year, but the works will conserve the building for future generations, and the Museum of Nostalgia will be able to keep delighting people with its random collections of domestic heritage when it reopens.