The museum building was originally built as a school for the Congregational or Nonconformist church. It was built and designed by a Mr T. L. Gimson (a local builder) at a cost of around £900 on land donated by 2 members of the church committee. To help fund the building of the school, a bazaar was held to raise £300. The memorial stone in the front wall of the museum was laid on the 21st of August 1879.
The school was opened on the 26th November 1879 by a Mr R.N. Fenn of Newmarket. A ceremony took place and between 500 - 600 people attended. Prayers were given by Rev. S.E. Dodge and Rev E. Corbold and a hymn was sung which was specially written by the Rev Corbold for the occasion. The school was created for 200 pupils of two age groups - one for the infants separated into 3 classrooms by sliding curtains and another central classroom for the older children.
During World War II, the building was used as a Red Cross Social Club for the Americans servicemen of the 91st Bomb Group (based at Bassingbourn Barracks) who were staying in Royston at the time preparing to go to the war front. At the end of the war, the Americans offered to leave the fully equipped kitchen for the church, but the church refused this offer and it was removed. After the war, the building had several uses, including Sunday School, Dance Studio and examinations hall.
After renovation (including new plumbing, a kitchen, toilet and heating), the building became the Royston and District Museum in April 1984 and contained many items related to Royston’s past. The museum is run by trustees, a full time Curator and a part time Assistant Curator with many volunteers (Friends of Royston & District Museum).
The museum collection was first put together in 1856 and the contents were displayed in one room in the now Town Hall, but in 1901 the museum was closed and many exhibits auctioned. In 1976, the Royston and District Local History Society re-opened the museum in the Town Hall, where it stayed until moving to the present building.
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