6 Extraordinarily Strange Museums That Will Teach You Things You Never Knew You Wanted To Know
We take a look at six strange establishments that are baffling locals and tourist alike...
18 December 2018
All Credits: PA
There are two types of museum worth visiting: Those filled with curiosities, and those that are a curiosity themselves.
It is perhaps with this in mind that British pub chain JD Wetherspoon is opening a museum in Wolverhampton, as part of a £7 million development project that will also spawn a 70-room hotel.
Your guess is as good as ours as to what a Wetherspoon’s Museum might contain, but it will be just the latest in a long line of offbeat oddities for you to explore. Here’s our list of British and Irish museums that manage to be as sublime as they are ridiculous…
A Mecca for lawnmower-lovers everywhere, this Merseyside museum will help you sort your British Anzani Lawnrider from your Allen Scythe. Look out for the ‘Lawnmowers of the Rich and Famous’ exhibit, featuring models previously owned by Brian May, Alan Titchmarsh, and Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.
The museum’s website describes it as a ‘unique experience’. Whatever your views on the humble lawnmower, of this you can be sure.
To be fair, butter has played a fairly major part in Cork and Ireland’s history, but that doesn’t make a whole museum devoted to the stuff any less strange. Your one-stop shop for all things yellow and spreadable, this museum will take you on a tour of butter through the ages, back to a time when Cork boasted the world’s largest butter market.
Your must-sees: A 1,000 year old keg of butter (yep, the butter is still in there), and a collection of vintage Irish butter labels.
No, it’s not a museum about phone boxes – though honestly, that would make this list hands down. This extremely well-hidden gem stands on a roadside near the Welsh town of Cilgerran, and documents the accomplishments of local photographer Tom Mathias – entirely within the confines of a disused phone booth.
You can forget all the usual quibbles concerning opening times, audio guides and admission prices. It is literally just a phone box.
The irony of this ghoulish little gallery is that its own history might be more sinister than its collection. In 1947 founder Cecil Williamson tried to set up shop in Stratford-upon-Avon, but was run out of town by local church-goers who wanted nothing to do with his dark displays.
After a stint on the Isle of Man he moved to Gloucestershire, where he claimed he endured arson, dead cats strung up outside his house, and sermons of fire and brimstone from the local vicar.
The museum eventually settled in Boscastle, north Cornwall, where the local population were a little more accepting of paganism. Williamson was reportedly pleased with the remote location: “All around us in this quiet corner of England, there is a strange feeling that we are not alone.” These days, you can chalk that up to data roaming.
A sub-division of Leeds Castle (which is in Kent, we promise), this catalogue of canine curiosities stocks 130 different dog collars, ranging from the large and spiked, to the gold-plated and ornate. The earliest entry dates from the 1400s, and was designed to protect against the bears and wolves that still populated continental Europe at the time. Note that the museum is for owners only – dogs are not allowed!