Leatherhead & District Local History Society - Leatherhead Museum
Museum in accident with car

Extract from press release from Alan Pooley, Museum Manager: In the early hours of Sunday morning 6th January [2008], a Rover Metro in taking a left turn from The Crescent Leatherhead into Church Street, failed to fully negotiate the bend and became embedded in the front wall of Hampton Cottage, home of Leatherhead Museum. The Fire Brigade and Police were in attendance and I believe that the driver of the car escaped relatively unscathed.

The car remained embedded until the Police were able to obtain assurance from Mr Andrew Winton, the Divisional Building Control Officer of MVDC at site that removal would not cause structural collapse and was taken away at about 5.30am. David Hartley, Chairman of the Leatherhead and District Local History Society and myself, Alan Pooley, Museum Manager were called out by the Police and continued to provide a security presence after they left.

The car demolished a bay window and majority of the centre of the front lower elevation however enough was left to continue to support the first floor although a builder was called out to insert some temporary propping. The opening has now been boarded up and made secure.

Damage inside is considerable with at least two display cabinets destroyed and a particular sad loss, that of a scale model of the timber framed building which was in the window and ironically was due to be removed on Monday. The cabinets were over turned and whilst it can be seen that some artefacts that were on display have been destroyed, they are also full of shop stock, books cards etc., and we have not yet been able to determine what the condition of this stock is.

On Monday 7th a better appreciation can be made after an Insurance Assessor has examined the damage and some internal clearing up can be commenced.

The Museum is currently closed for the winter season and is due to reopen in early April and it is hoped that by then restoration might be complete.

[Note: a later story in the local press about an appeal for funds for the Museum involving a raffle for the socks of celebrities erroneously implied that the funds raised were required for the restoration of the Museum following the accident. The Museum wishes to make it clear that it has full insurance cover.]

Note damaged model of Hampton Cottage

Note damaged model of Hampton Cottage

last updated 17 Feb 2008