On Monday I explored a small local history museum that I haven't visited in a while. The Purfleet Heritage and Military Centre is based in the Royal Magazine for Gunpowder on the banks of the Thames. The building was one of five identical powder stores each of which could hold 10400 barrels of gunpowder. The site continued in use right up to the 1960's when the land was bought from the MOD by the local council. In typically myopic fashion the council promptly knocked down most of site to build a housing estate, only retaining magazine no 5 for use as a store building. It wasn't until 1992 that a local resident group put forward a proposal to assume stewardship of this Grade 1 Scheduled Ancient Monument and turn it into a local history centre which opened in 1994.
|There are two 'isles' that run the whole length of the building and both sides are ram packed with exhibits. The original wooden beams, complete with painted markings are visible above the displays.|
|Each section of the building has a different display.|
|Part of the North Africa collection including helmets, uniforms and insignia.|
|A mocked up Anderson shelter|
|The displays include hundreds of original photographs, letters and personal documents.|
|Note the anti ship Magnetic mine in the corner... I don't think I have seen one of these in a museum before.|
|There's even a small Boar War and Zulu War display.|
|The Centre is open Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays between 10am - 4:30pm and there is ample free car parking outside and in the adjacent street.|
This really is an excellent and extensive collection of memorabilia, all very well presented. If you live close enough it is well worth a visit and if you live further afield its still worth the trip. Maybe you could combine it with some retail therapy at the nearby Lakeside Shopping Centre. Simply drop your 'significant other' off with the Credit Card and escape the drudgery of shopping by spending a couple of hours exploring this wonderful museum.