Welcome to the website of Somerset Cricket Museum.

The museum is pleased to be a part of the Somerset County Cricket Club family, helping to make the Cooper Associates County Ground one of the most attractive and welcoming cricket grounds in England.

The ground and the museum are in the heart of Taunton, less than ten minutes walk from the main line railway station and the bus station and five minutes walk from the heart of the County Town’s main shopping centre.

Please go to the Somerset County Cricket Club website at www.somersetcountycc.co.uk for full information about the County Cricket Club, including car parking on match days.

Although there are no physical barriers between the Somerset County Cricket Ground and the museum buildings we are completely separate organisations. The museum was established in 1985 as the successor to the Somerset County Cricket Club Supporter’s Association. Throughout it’s life it has been generously supported by a membership scheme. There are currently about 120 members who pay £5 a year although many add a donation. The museum would not have survived over the years without their continuing support.

About

The current Trustees are:

Sir Peter Wallis – retired diplomat – chairman of the Board

Barry Clifton – retired businessman

John Evemy – retired chartered accountant – treasurer

Anthony Gibson – broadcaster

Michael Hill – farmer – former chairman and president of Somerset County Cricket Club

Roy Kerslake – retired solicitor – former captain, chairman and president of Somerset County Cricket Club

Alain Lockyer – sports photographer

Richard Walsh – local sports journalist

David Wood – retired civil servant – secretary to the Board

In addition:

Tony Stedall – co-founder of the museum in 1985 – is President

Charles Clive-Ponsonby-Fane – is the Museum’s Patron

Somerset Cricket Museum Ltd is a registered company limited by guarantee and a Registered Charity. It makes annual returns to Companies House and the Charity Commission.

The charity is administered by a Board of Trustees which is required to operate in accordance with it’s Memorandum and Articles of Association. Briefly stated, the charity should advance the education of the public in the history and development of cricket by establishing a museum for the permanent exhibition and preservation of items of educational and historic value particularly, but not exclusively, of Somerset County Cricket Club.

The President and Patron are both former chairmen of the Board and now have no formal role in the operation of the Museum but offer advice to the Trustees.

The museum has no paid employees and relies entirely on volunteers.

The museum is a member of the Association of Independent Museums, The South West Federation of Museums and Art Galleries, Museums in Somerset, the Association of Cricket Statisticians and the Cricket Heritage Forum.

Buildings

The museum owns two buildings and the land on which they stand.

The museum is housed in a 15th century stone barn, the last remaining building of Taunton Priory, which was founded about the year 1120 and dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539.

The building has had a variety of uses and modifications over the centures, the most recent being as a store in a builder’s yard and before that as a farm barn. Almost derelict in the 1980s, it was classified as an ancient monument. The newly established Somerset Cricket Museum bought it in the 1980s and set about major reconstruction works to make it safe and to replace the roof. It is now Grade II* listed. Following the receipt of a major legacy in 2010 the building has been completely renovated and brought up to modern safety and efficiency standards.

Some visitors come to see the ancient building rather than the cricket memorabilia.

The museum’s other building stands behind the museum barn and is used for offices and storage. It also hosts match day book sales and a lending library of over 1000 cricket books in the Eddie Lawrence Library.

Displays

Museum displays concentrate on the history of Somerset County cricket. The displays are mainly static but there are two TV screen features, one interactive. There are displays illustrating the development of cricket equipment over the years, the playing records of past Somerset heroes, anecdotes about some of the lesser known players, cricket blazers and benefit ties.

There are also displays covering England women’s cricket and I Zingari, a cricket club founded in 1843 and one of the oldest wandering clubs in the world.

New displays are mounted every season. 2018 will be the last year of a display in which we honour the memory of the fourteen men who had played for Somerset who were killed in the First World War and the twenty men who won gallantry medals. We also show the medals won by two of them.

In our office building we hold most of the archives of the County Cricket Club and the archives of the Women’s Cricket Association, which administered England women’s cricket at national and international level between 1926 and 1999, when control passed to the ECB. Genuine researchers may be granted access to these archives. Museum volunteers use them to answer questions from many sources.

The office building also stages book sales during the lunch breaks of four day and fifty over games. Every year we are given literally hundreds of cricket books, including Wisdens and Yearbooks, and are pleased to sell them on to cricket lovers at very low prices. The revenue contributes to our running costs of about £8,000 a year.

Location and opening times

The museum is located on the eastern edge of the cricket ground, behind the Ondaatje Pavilion and next to the County Sports shop.

The museum’s address is:
7 Priory Avenue,
Taunton
Somerset
TA1 1XX

Telephone:
01823 275893

e-mail:
somersetcricketmuseum@btconnect.com

We try to maintain a reliable opening schedule, and we usually do, but please bear in mind that we rely on a small number of volunteers who are not in the first flush of youth.

The museum opens on the first four day game of the season and closes for the winter at the end of October.

NON MATCH DAYS – we are open from 11.30am to 3.30pm Tuesdays to Fridays. Not open Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holiday Mondays.

FIRST CLASS four day games – we are open from 11.30am until the end of the tea interval.

50 OVER games – we are open from 11.30am until the end of the break between innings.

PLEASE NOTE – access to the museum on match days is available only to people who have paid for admission to watch cricket.

T20 MATCHES – we are not open because the Club imposes restrictions on access to the ground throughout the day and the interval between innings is short.

It may be possible to open at other times for groups of visitors. Please contact the curator by telephone of e-mail at least a day in advance. He is available between 10.30am and noon most weekday mornings.

The ADMISSION CHARGE is £1 for adults, 50p for under 16s and free for members of Somerset County Cricket Club.