A MUSEUM is marking its silver anniversary with an exhibition celebrating its history and development over the past 25 years.
On July 29, 1988, Emsworth Museum opened to the public for the first time.
Now, the museum is holding a month-long exhibition celebrating its achievements and taking a look back on its growth.
Last week, president of the Emsworth Maritime Historical Trust, Margaret Rule, was joined by Cathy Rudkin, daughter of the trust’s founder, David Rudkin, for a birthday celebration.
“For many years David Rudkin dreamed one day he might be able to salvage and preserve JD Foster’s fishing boat Echo 2 which lay rotting in Emsworth harbour,” said Dorothy Bone, secretary of the trust.
The ship was intended to replace Echo, but was never completed because of the demise of the Emsworth oyster industry in 1902.
Emsworth Maritime Trust
In 1975, the Emsworth Maritime Trust was formed with David as chairman, Arthur Rile as vice-chairman, John Saunders as treasurer, Monica Warrick as secretary and John Glanville as legal advisor.
However, by 1978 the original project was abandoned because of a lack of funds.
“Chichester Harbour Conservancy declared the wreck was a danger to navigation and ordered its removal together with the old Ark,” said Mrs Bone.
“David managed to salvage and gather together various artefacts and historical documents and the objective of the trust was changed to establish a local maritime museum which would also include local history.”
It was at this time the name of the trust changed to the Emsworth Maritime Historical Trust and the lengthy search for premises began.
Several venues were considered but, eventually, Havant Borough Council offered an initial three-year lease on one of the rooms above the fire station in North Street.
The document was signed on Wednesday, December 9, 1987.
In the February, 1988, issue of The Emsworth Echo, David wrote: “After 14 years of vision, advertising and searching, hopes and disappointments but unrelenting persistence, the trust is on the very threshold of its deserved reward.
“Before very long the Emsworth Museum will be opened and this worthy old town will be enriched with a repository of cultural and educational value and interest.”
The museum was officially opened by the Earl of Bessborough on Friday, July 19, 1988.
A brass plaque, mounted on wood salvaged from the Echo, marks the occasion.
The exhibition, 25th Birthday Celebrations at Emsworth Museum, is on until August 26.
It is open from 10.30am-4.30pm Saturdays and bank holidays and 2.30pm-4.30pm on Sundays and Fridays.
The museum is in North Street, Emsworth. For more information, call 01243 378091 or visit www.emsworthmuseum.co.uk.
Admission is free.