Most people link Bamburgh to the tragic heroine Grace Darling who was responsible for the heroic rescue of the SS Forfarshire in 1838. The RNLI have opened an excellent small museum in memory of her. Open throughout the year, entry is free although donations to support the work of RNLI are always welcome. It also has a well stocked shop.
We were warmly welcomed by two women who gave us a leaflet for the Grace Darling Village Walk.
it is an interesting small museum and pride of place is the coble used in the rescue. It wasn’t very big and completely exposed to the elements, so different to the modern state of the art lifeboats. There is a short video about Grace Darling and the rescue. The more I learn of her story and her courage the more in awe I become.
The museum has a collection of artefacts from Grace and her family. This includes the family Crib, Christening gown and cap. There is a clock and pink summer dress worn by the adult Grace. She wasn’t very big. There is a shawl she wore and an antimacassar knitted by her an a small woven basket she made, as well as a small sampler she owned. There are letters she wrote to her parents and a page from her copy book.
There are examples of memorabilia connected to her death including mourning jewellery. The original Darling Family gravestone from the churchyard is now in the museum, moved to prevent further weathering.
There is information about her daily life and a model of the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands where showing their living accommodation. The ground floor was the living area, with the boys’ bedroom on the first floor. The parents’ bedroom was on the second floor with the girls’ bedroom on the third floor. The fourth floor was the schoolroom and storage area. There only supply of fuel for cooking and heating was drift wood. Fishing supplemented their food supplies.
There are also artefacts rescued from the SS Forfarshire including cutlery, a tray and serving dish compass and binnacle bottom.
Up the stairs is a viewing gallery across the the churchyard where Grace is buried with the Farne Islands beyond.
Apart from the steps to this, disabled access to the rest of the museum is excellent. There are no toilets and those in Bamburgh charge 20p.
This is an excellent museum staffed by dedicated and passionate staff. You can’t fail to be impressed by the heroism of Grace and her tragically short life.
Don’t miss her tombstone in the churchyard opposite or the original statue from this in the church.