Maidenhead galleries and museums excited to reopen come May 17

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Galleries and museums are set to open starting on May 17 – including Maidenhead Heritage Centre and the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham.

'Non-essential' retail shops have already reopened, as have pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating arrangements.

The Stanley Spencer Gallery will reopen on May 17 at 10.30am. The gallery has much the same safety features as last year, with designated circulation routes and limits of 10 people in the gallery.

“We did not have an advance booking system last year and will not do so now. It all worked excellently without the need for such admin,” said Bob Kottler, chairman of the management committee.

“Last year when we came out of lockdown in August we had our best visitor numbers ever so we are hoping to replicate that this time.

“I think that this happened as a combination of good weather, the attraction of Cookham itself, a great exhibition and the fact that the ‘staycation’ meant that many people wanted to see local attractions.”

On the day before opening, the gallery is having a small ceremony to unveil a memorial bench outside the museum in memory of Dick Hurley, who died earlier this year.

He was the first chairman of the gallery and ‘the prime mover’ into converting the chapel into the gallery as it now is.

The current exhibition, Love, Art, Loss, the Wives of Stanley Spencer, explores ‘the bizarre love triangle’ between the artist and his two wives.

This exhibition will be open from 10.30am to 5.30pm daily until October 29.

The Marlow Museum will be opening on the Wednesday, May 19.

It will be open on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday afternoons after this.

The Pound Lane museum's size means it is restricted to six people in total – four guests and two stewards.

“Four guests is one family – it’s disappointing we won’t be able to fit many people inside,” said chairman Michael Hyde.

“But it’s quite a modest museum and when we were open before at the end of last year that didn’t cause any problems. We aren’t expecting lots of people at once.

“We’re anxious about opening up again – it’s all going to be a bit new, but we’re looking forward to talking to people about Marlow again.”

Maidenhead Heritage Centre is reopening on May 17, having completed 15 lectures on Zoom since May last year. Four more talks are planned before a summer break.

Trustees have launched a new initiative to make the Centre's Zoom talks available free of charge to all care homes and day centres within 10 miles of Maidenhead.

Richard Poad, chairman of the Heritage Centre, said: “All of us with older relatives know that it doesn't take much to reawaken memories from long ago and bring a sparkle to the eyes.

“Our trustees see the museum as a resource for the entire local community and want to contribute to the well-being of the Borough's older people by offering memory-jogging talks on a wide variety of topics.”

Care home managers who are interested can contact the centre at

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