The Wheelwright's Shop

The classic book written by George Sturt is a special feature at the Rural Life Centre. This is the countryside associated with the well-known craftsman and writer who was born in Farnham in 1863 and died at his home in the Bourne in 1927. Here you can see some of the tools from his wheelwright's shop set out in what is now one of the most complete such workshops left in the country.

The majority of items come from the Hawkins family workshop, in business at Hillgrove in Sussex from 1767 to 1961. Everything from their business was fortunately saved, including the ledgers covering their entire history which are now part of the museum's archives available to serious researchers.

[Photograph of the Wheelwright's Shop]

Other tools and equipment came from the Horder family of Loxwood, also in Sussex; D. Coleman of Chobham, Surrey and George Instone of Cove, Hampshire. Among the most prized artefacts are tools which once belonged to Sidney Wheeler, an apprentice of George Sturt's, which were actually used in the shop which was the setting for the well known book, The Wheelwright's Shop.

George Sturt wrote many books on country matters and life in the nearby village of The Bourne, some written under his pen-name "George Bourne". Also here you can see brass hub-caps from other wheelwrights' shops in the town of Farnham - George Elliott; Keen; Keen and Heath; Mason; Sturt and Goacher.

If you are interested in wheelwrighting, why not visit the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights' website at

The Stable Block

[Drawing of the stable entrance][A corner of the stable showing the woodburning stove]

The horse was vital to village and country economy. It was needed to pull the many vehicles in the museum collection which were typical of the rural scene. The animals, therefore, needed to well looked after.

Our stable was originally situated at a house in nearby Frensham and it is just one section of that property's stable block. Within are a Danish woodburning stove of the 1930s and a selection of heavy horse harness alongside the standard items for this type of stall.

Another item on display is a saddle from a pack horse, once used to deliver goods in the Selborne area of Hampshire.

The Horse Ambulance

[Drawing of the horse ambulance]
This was used during the first world war for bringing injured horses from the battlefield. Note that the axle is over the top of the cart. Shafts could be fitted at either end so that the horse could be loaded or unloaded through either ramp. To help support the horse in transit, a sling was suspended from the curved axle.

Rural Life Centre : Old Kiln Museum : Accredited Museum
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund
Reeds Road, Tilford, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 2DL.
01252 795571 (Fax. 01252 795571)

The Old Kiln Museum Trust is a registered charity
Copyright Old Kiln Museum Trust 2007

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