Braintree Museum traces its origins to a Museum room in the Town Hall that opened in 1928 to display the collections of Alfred Hills, a local clerk and historian and the Courtauld family.

After a succession of different homes, today’s Museum opened in the former Manor Street School on 6th October 1993. Since then the collections expanded from boundaries of Braintree and Bocking to the whole of the District of Braintree. Current collecting strengths include: archaeology, ceramics, local history, photographs and textiles.

A broad range of artefacts from the Museum’s collections have been made available digitally on the East of England Sense of Place database. Here you can browse photos and descriptions of hundreds of our items, and search the collections of other local museums by going to the Search Page and choosing a museum of your choice from the drop-down menu.

Braintree Museum’s Collections Management Policy

Braintree Museum is one of many places where local history research can be carried out. Other useful resources include:

The Essex Record Office – the ERO collects and preserves the written, oral and visual heritage of the County, and a good portion of this material is accessible online, via their SEAX user system.

The Essex Heritage Conservation Record – for research regarding historic buildings and archaeology, this resource is of great value. Their Unlocking Essex’s Past website is an excellent starting point for the study of local monuments or historically significant structures.

The Heritage Gateway – this resource is another excellent destination for research into national and local sites and buildings, and their website is well worth visiting.

The National Newspaper Library – this collection is located at Colindale, London, and contains some 650,000 bound volumes of British national and local newspapers and magazines, and over 320,000 reels of positive microfilm. For further details, telephone 0171 412 7353.

Local History Societies – these groups are recommended for meeting enthusiasts and accessing knowledge and sources relevant to particular local history topics. An example of such a group is the John Ray Trust, for the appreciation of the Black Notley born eighteenth century naturalist.