The museum collections and archive

Part of the timber framed windows in the Priory's Guesten Hall
Timber window frames from the Guesten Hall

Malvern Museum has over 8,000 items in its collection.  Some of the larger artefacts are on permanent display. These include the medieval stonework and timbers on loan from Great Malvern priory church.   The museum displays many of the smaller and more modern items only occasionally. They are used in themed displays which are updated annually.

The reserve collection also includes local maps, books, postcards and pictures.  There is a small archive of local documents relating to properties, people, and clubs and societies.  These records are not usually available to the public, but the museum is undertaking the production of a full catalogue of its collections.  We welcome enquiries from academic researchers and authors, and from family and local historians.  A research guide is provided with links to the catalogue.

The museum’s collection and archive focus on local history.  An indication of the geographical area covered by our collections is given in our collections policy, which also contains guidance on the donation of new items to the museum.

This page provides a brief introduction to the principal museum collections.

Artefacts and other material on display

A trilobite known as a Calymene or 'Dudley Bug'
A trilobite

The museum has a large collection of local geology, rocks and fossils.   However there is relatively little to illustrate its Prehistoric, Roman, Medieval and later history before the mid-18th century (and the growing interest in Malvern as a spa resort).   Some of what the museum does have is illustrated on this page.  There is also a brief overview of later material.  For the medieval and Tudor period, the gatehouse itself is the museum’s finest exhibit.  The building has some original stonework from the late 15th century, with later Tudor work in the extension of the building to the south.  The present gateposts date from the late Tudor period.

Find out more about these collections by clicking on the links below:

The Malvern Water Cure (and Malvern Water)

The museum has a large collection of material on the Malvern Water Cure (from 1842). The commercial development of Malvern water, bottled at the Holy Well and later, at the Schweppes Plant in Colwall, is well documented.  There is also a collection of local lemonade and Malvern water bottles from the Victorian period.  These collections are listed separately, but some of the larger items from the period are shown below.

Display items illustrating life in Malvern between 1750 and 1850
Display items illustrating life in Malvern between 1750 and 1850

The Victorian Town (1851 to 1914)

Most of the museum’s collection of costumes, domestic appliances, agricultural artefacts, prints, china, legal documents (including the 1841 Tithe Apportionment), maps and civic documents come from the 19th century.  Only a small percentage is on display at any one time.  Further information on the museum’s collections can be found by using the research guide.

Santler ladies’ bicycle and Morgan bodywork

Modern Malvern

Displays in the Modern Room include material on Morgan and Santler cars, the Malvern Festival, the Lanchester Puppet Theatre, and wartime radar research.

Reserve collections and archive

  • Maps
  • Prints and pictures
  • Postcards
  • Glass slides
  • Festival Theatre programmes
  • China
  • Victorian costumes
  • Radar equipment
  • Documents
  • Books
  • Archives

Further information on the museum’s collections can be found by using the research guide.