Take a step back in time with all things historical from the local area

02nd May 2024

The club celebrating decades of magic mow-ments

The club celebrating decades of magic mow-ments On this month's history pages, Keith Wootton speaks to Sammy Jones about the attraction of the humble grass cutter.... It's the club that really is a cut above the rest; The Old Lawnmower Club is all about the collection, preservation and display of old mowers. This month at Milton Keynes Museum the annual Lawnmower Festival will see fans of the machinery assemble to inspect the many different lawnmowers housed on site, and to show off their own collections. This year, a light will be shone on more unusual mowers too; and with almost 200 years of lawn mower development there have naturally been some odd designs that never quite caught on – quirky, unusual and impractical choices will also be shown. “Before I became a regular volunteer at the museum, volunteers Neil Loudon and Arthur Finbow had acquired and restored a fairly extensive..

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30th Apr 2024

Stand and deliver at the Milton Keynes Museum History Festival

The return of the MK Museum History Festival this May promises to be a colourful, lively, engaging weekend, walking you through the past and letting you get closer to our ancestors who were living, working, fighting and playing during key periods in this area's history. Milton Keynes Museum takes history off the page and brings it to life at this fascinating, family-friendly event. Want to understand more about military and civilian life for the native iron age tribes of Britain and the Roman Empire? The Vicus Romans can help with that. Roman traders will be selling their wares too. And you can pay by the most modern of means! Meet the Chanz des Reis, who will take you back to civilian, military and religious life in the High Medieval age – from the reign of King William the Conqueror to King Henry III. English Civil War re-enactment group Lord Robartes Regiment..

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04th Apr 2024

The past – and the future – of the ‘Caldecotte Monster...

It's bonkers to think that where we work, rest and play was once at the lowest point of a primeval sea, isn't it? Where the V and H roads now allow us to move with ease (at least for most of the time) was once part of a warm ocean, home to marine reptiles including Ichthyosaurs. Sammy Jones finds out more about the new city's very old monster... Similar to porpoises in appearance, Ichthyosaurs lived in the waters that covered much of continental Europe during the early Jurassic period around 160 million years ago. While dinosaurs were on the land, Ichthyosaurs were preying on octopus, cuttlefish and squid in the water, travelling at speeds of up to 25 miles an hour in the quest for food. They are believed to have been highly skilled movers and hunters. Eventually though, these marine reptiles were driven to extinction by climate change. This..

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18th Mar 2024

The maverick brilliance of Bill

Those settlers new to the city might not have heard his name before, but they will know Bill Billings' work. It's scattered all over the expanse of Milton Keynes, raising smiles, still triggering conversations and reminding us of the important role art has to play in everyday life. Because, simply, art matters and no-one understood that better than Bill. In this month's Museum feature, Sammy Jones looks back at the man and his incredible legacy... It is his work that provided Milton Keynes with some of its more fun, unique and off the wall pieces of public art. Those same words are perfect to sum up the creator behind wild and wonderful works like the Peartree Bridge Triceratops, which is part of our new city’s fabric, but still thrills visitors as they drive by it on the V8. Bill was a passionate advocate of the new town and spent decades..

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22nd Feb 2024

How the days of the plague struck Milton Keynes

‘Bring out your dead’ was the chilling call Sammy Jones takes a look at the dark days of the plague and how it struck hard in this area... The Covid pandemic was traumatic, divisive and incredibly difficult to navigate, and that was despite all of the modern day tools at our disposal, and the supposed ease of information dissemination. But with no quick means of sharing information, no real understanding of how it was spread, and a one in three prognosis of death, the plagues which devastated communities centuries ago would have been utterly terrifying. Being bled with leeches was a common treatment, but certainly didn’t help symptoms, and while children were encouraged to smoke to keep the sickness at bay, as we now know, that only creates its own issues. 1666 wasn't only a stand-out year in the history books for the Great Fire of London. It was also..

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07th Nov 2023

A towering success

This month we take a look at one of the new city's biggest successes – a firm that is reaching dizzying heights in every sense of the word, and a business that has left its mark here at the Museum. We discovered more about the Niftylift story from its chairman and founder, Roger Bowden. Niftylift is one of Europe’s largest mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) manufacturers and while the business is anchored in these parts, it operates worldwide. “We specialise in compact, low-weight articulating booms that offer maximum performance with minimal environmental impact,” Roger says, explaining his business in relatively simple terms. The name ‘Nifty’ has synonyms including ‘particularly good, skilful, or effective” and ‘attractive and stylish’ – which all perfectly sum up what Roger wants to achieve with every lift the company designs: “Combining the two names seemed the perfect solution,” Roger recalled. 2013 Queens..

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17th Oct 2023

Centre:mk to host art, culture & business exhibition celebrating Black History Month

The biggest Exhibition in Milton Keynes’ history showcasing art, culture, organisations and businesses from Milton Keynes’ black community is back on 21st-22nd October in Middleton Hall, centre:mk. The free 2-day event, organised by CIC World Media Initiatives, charities STaSS, African Diaspora Foundation and Making Good Better will host over 100 exhibitors and will be opened by the Mayor of Milton Keynes at 10am on Saturday 21st October. The exhibition, which is in it’s second year at centre:mk, is set to be bigger and better than ever before with special guests from Hip hop artists ‘So Solid Crew’, performances from Adanta Dance Troupe, UNIKA dance events, as well as a specially created fashion show for the event. In addition, the exhibition will bring together talented artists and businesses who are doing some amazing work in the city, yet up until now, have been relatively unknown. The two-day event organised by Nana..

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13th Oct 2023

‘We do what we love, and we love what we do…...

Main Image: Fireworks light the sky in Milton Keynes pic: Gill Prince The Emmett name is synonymous with entertainment in Milton Keynes. Over the decades they have delighted hundreds of 1000s of people with their events, and there’s every chance that you are among that number. Sammy Jones spoke with Keith Emmett III to learn more about the family's impressive history. As a new city, and a new town before that, Milton Keynes doesn’t have too much in the way of ‘modern’ history – we’re still busily establishing things that will become traditions. But one thing that is already anchored is an annual event that sees thousands of people flock to the heart of Milton Keynes to watch the skies above illuminated in spectacular style. The firework display has been ‘a thing’ here for more than four decades, and the same family has been at the helm for every one..

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07th Sep 2023

The return of Heritage Open Days

This September, Milton Keynes will once again mark Heritage Open Days with dozens of events taking place over 10 activity packed days. 2023 is the 17th annual HoD being held here, and it has grown considerably since making its debut in 2006 – back then we had just 15 events to choose from! Heritage Open Days is an opportunity to engage with a wealth of activities for children and families, spanning exhibitions and workshops, walks and tours, open days and craft events and performances. And at a time when the purse strings are being tightened more than ever before, it’s a delight to be able to say that every event can be enjoyed for free! The full programme can be found at heritageopendays.org.uk but here we share some of the enticing events - and there are others listed in our What’s On pages. Dig deep and enjoy. Friday, September 8..

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10th Aug 2023

Unwrap the history of creativity in Milton Keynes’ parks

Heritage Open Days set to uncover the creativity hidden within the picturesque parklands of Milton Keynes. The Parks Trust are excited to announce a series of Guided Walk & Talk events which will an exciting glimpse into MK’s innovative landscape design, wildlife conservation, and the fascinating historical narratives within the city's green spaces. Enthusiasts of art, history, and nature alike are invited to join Parks Trust experts to unveil the intricate tapestry of Milton Keynes' Parks. From woodland ridges to vibrant wildflower meadows, attendees will learn about the delicate art of managing these landscapes and the balance of nature and modern amenities, including the integration of public art. Events will take place in Campbell Park, Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve, Ouse Valley, North Loughton Valley and Stanton Low between 8th and 14thSeptember. Plus, on Saturday 16th September, Great Linford Manor Park Celebration Day promises fun for all the family. From heritage..

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08th Aug 2023

Keep calm and attend Milton Keynes Museum’s 1940s Weekend! 2 & 3 September

You definitely don't want to keep mum about the next big event at Milton Keynes Museum – the return of the hugely popular 1940s weekend is happening on September 2 & 3, and the Museum is promising no rationing of entertainment at the big bash which offers something for all ages. With the country involved in conflict for half the decade, times were tough, but that just made everyone even more keen to find enjoyment where they could – and music played its part in raising spirits. Big players back then included Glenn Miller and Bing Crosby, and the Museum has its own ace singer bringing the tunes over the weekend; Miss Lola Lamour will get the dance floor jumping with her engaging style. Over in the bandstand, Johnny Victory will be in tune too, so there's plenty of opportunity to go with the flow and show off your fancy footwork. There..

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26th Jun 2023

Hello Summer – Hello Museums

Milton Keynes Museum With school out, finding ways to keep the little ‘uns entertained for six whole weeks can feel a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, Milton Keynes Museum is on hand to make things easy for you, and fun for them! On July 15, the Museum will mark its 50-year anniversary with a special celebration party, and then between July 24 and September 1 the Wolverton-based history hub will be offering additional activities to take attention. All the usual attractions will be open as usual of course; start your visit with a look inside the Victorian farmhouse, play on music machines from the era, make hot buttered toast in the parlour, see what the role of a servant entailed and look back on more than a century of toys. Then stroll through the Street of Shops with its many original facades from stores that once served residents of Stony Stratford, Newport..

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19th Jun 2023

The old history behind the new city

We love peeking into the past and sharing the secrets and stories of our local history, but this month, we thought we would shine a light on all that the Museum has to offer.  It's a constantly expanding collection and the only one that tells the complete history of the place we all call home... Yes, Milton Keynes is a new city, but the space it occupies is rich in history – and here at Milton Keynes Museum, we have been sharing that history for 50 years. When you enter the Museum you do so through the front door, but in Victorian times only important visitors were afforded that privilege! As we have explored in the past, Stacey Bushes Farm was bought by Oxford's Dr Radcliffe, but that farmhouse has long-since disappeared and the farmstead..

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10th Mar 2023

Six local walks to put a ‘Spring’ in your step this March

Milton Keynes may now FINALLY be a city, but it is absolutely littered with beautiful countryside trails. As we (hopefully!) approach the warmer, clearer weather, check out MK Pulse’s handy guide to six-of-the-best local walks, courtesy of the AllTrails App, to try out this Spring. Trail One – Ampthill and Mauldon Circular The first trail takes you through the gentle rolling landscape of the Bedfordshire Hills, providing superb views of the countryside throughout. The circular walk starts from the ruins of Houghton House, said to be the inspiration for House Beautiful in John Bunyan's ‘The Pilgrim's Progress.’ This 8.5km trail is generally considered to be an easy route, taking an average of 2 hours and 28 minutes to complete. The walk itself has several steady but long climbs and descents throughout and there is one stile and several kissing gates. The paths are a mixture of tarmac/concrete lanes and field..

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08th Aug 2022

Free tickets available for Willen Hospice historic documentary film screening at MK Gallery

Thanks to a £10,000 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Willen Hospice, in partnership with Living Archive MK, have created a special documentary film to commemorate 40 years of caring in Milton Keynes. Limited free tickets are now available for the exclusive screening event which will take place during Heritage Open Days at The Sky Room cinema, MK Gallery on Tuesday 13th September 5pm – 7pm. The film, entitled ‘Willen Hospice Caring for MK since 1981’ will look back over the past 40 years, from when the Hospice first opened its doors in the early 80s. The film celebrates how a community came together to make the dream of a local Hospice into a reality, and how it has grown to become one of Milton Keynes’ best-loved charities, helping countless families over the years. From nurses to fundraisers – the documentary will capture the stories of the people who..

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