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Burton Latimer Heritage Society was formed in 2000 to promote an interest in the history of Burton Latimer and its people. Its formation was prompted by a gift of £2000 by Weetabix Ltd to Burton Latimer Town Council to refurbish a room in the council offices at ‘The Poplars’, High Street, for use as a small museum, later to be known as the Heritage Room.

It was felt that the museum would be best managed by a group of volunteers, rather than the Town Council, and a public meeting was called to gauge support. It was a successful meeting and the Burton Latimer Heritage Society was formed. In October that year the Heritage Room Museum opened with its first exhibition and continued to mount exhibitions, at first three times a year and subsequently twice a year.

The Society was granted charitable status in 2002 and has an executive committee of twelve trustees. Its present officers (elected at the 2016 AGM) are: Judy Clipstone, chair; John Meads, secretary; Ian Watson, treasurer. Other trustees are: John Clipstone, Trevor Cooper, Ivan Cox, Ian Hebden, Anita Marks, Janet Meads and John Peck. Councillors Ruth Groome and Mick Roche are currently the Town Council representatives.

The Society issues four newsletters a year to its members; they carry news of the Society’s activities and articles of historical interest about the town and its past inhabitants. Copies of photographs from all the previous exhibitions are contained in a series of folders which can be seen when the museum is open. Regular audio visual presentations of ‘old Burton ’ photographs are a regular feature of the Society's programme and "An Afternoon to Remember" is held regularly for people that cannot get to the museum during its normal opening hours.

 In 2010, the museum moved from 'The Poplars' to rooms in the Civic Centre, once the town’s medical centre, which has the great advantage of being on the ground floor, unlike at ‘The Poplars’ where it was on the first floor. A successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund meant that in 2011 the museum was refitted with modern conservation standard display cabinets and the research room with a touchscreen computer on to which have been installed forty Burton Latimer indexes with thousands of references to Burton Latimer people. There is also a microfiche reader which can be used to look at parish registers with baptisms 1558-1972, marriages 1558-1996 and burials 1558-1973, a large LCD screen showing old photographs and dozens of books with hundreds of photographs from past exhibitions and other general reference material.

The main exhibition room
The research room


The Burton Latimer Heritage Museum, it is normally open, on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm except when exhibitions are being changed and over the Christmas/New Year period.  Out-of-town visitors should contact the secretary before travelling any distance to check if exhibitions are being changed. The museum can be opened at other times by arrangement. Visits from schools or other groups are welcome.

The Heritage Museum is now closed for the Christmas and New Year break and will reopen in early March with a new exhibition "Life Below Stairs".

In the 19th and early 20th century, before the advent of modern labour saving household devices, the live-in domestic servant was almost essential for the running of large houses. Even in quite modest homes, where there was a large family or where the man of the house was in business, there would be someone living-in to help the mistress of the house.  Sometimes a girl would be employed to help in the house and also help in her employer’s shop.

Using censuses and newspapers, Burton Latimer Heritage Society has found dozens of Burton Latimer households that employed live-in domestic indoor and outdoor servants in the 19th and 20th century and has put together an exhibition - “Life Below Stairs” - to give an idea of the sort of person that was “in service”, the households where they worked and the conditions they worked under. 

If you have anything that dates from these times – household devices, products used in the home or photographs of relatives "in service", the Society would love to borrow them for the exhibition. The museum will be open on Saturday February 4th  from 10am to 12 noon to take them in.

The Burton Latimer House Histories book
Burton Latimer House Histories

Burton Latimer Heritage Society has published a book telling the histories of over fifty houses in the town. They range in size from a two-room to a twenty-room house, each with a tale to tell. The houses are situated in every corner of the town and are passed every day by people who probably have no idea of the lives of people who once lived there or the history of the building itself. Several of them were once commercial premises that have outlived their original purpose and are now domestic dwellings; several were once farmhouses; for years, girls went to one of the houses that was being used as a “Preparatory School for Young Ladies” not knowing that the skeleton of a young woman lay under the front path; one house was blown up and has since been rebuilt; one is said to have a ghost; the cellars of one building were used to imprison military defaulters; two of the houses were used to accommodate Kettering Workhouse inmates’ children — and the list goes on.

The book costs £8 but it is now available as a package with the Society's DVD for £9.99. More details on the News page.


The museum is run independently by volunteers and for its running costs it relies on donations, the annual subscription of £5 per person or £8 per couple from members of Burton Latimer Heritage Society and the generosity of visitors.

Secretary: John Meads, 46 Bridle Road, Burton Latimer. NN15 5QP Tel: 01536722722 

Treasurer: Ian Watson, 9 Church View, Burton Latimer. NN15 5LG Tel: 01536726652

Museum Relocation & Refit 2011