|A representation of William Henley's Study
The Henley Study itself
The Henley Room or Henley Study, is designed to be interactive and child-friendly, and provides an insight into the world of Victorian and Edwardian Dartmouth.
The room has been modelled to represent a gentleman's study of the period, and is used to house the Henley Collection, originally in a separate museum in Anzac Street, of which more below!
This is a collection of belongings and artefacts of William Cumming Henley, his sister Nellie Henley and their friend Ida Walker, who lived in Dartmouth from approximately 1860 to 1919.
William Henley was an ironmonger in the town. His shop was very close to the museum today, and is still in use as a shop, though it's not an ironmonger's any more. He was also an artist with a great interest in music, books, architecture, and a passion for science and learning about the natural world, at a time of the revolutionary new thinking of Charles Darwin.
Here you will get an idea of the excitement of this time of exploration and scientific advancement, felt all over the country - even by an ironmonger in Dartmouth.
See some of William Henley's books, his own paintings, and many artefacts including shells, crystals and bones. There is a large collection of scientific instruments, he even made his own.
Hands on discovery
|One of our young visitors using a microscope for the first time
On a central table, take the opportunity to explore various objects by handling them and studying them under more modern, easy-to-use microscopes.
There's a great selection of slides. Tiny hands sometimes need some help, though.
|Different microscopes are good for different things
There's good illumination and the different slides can be changed easily, even if you've never used a microscope before.
If you need help, just ask one of our stewards. Our webmaster needed help the first time, so don't be shy
The History of the Henley Collection
Dartmouth's first Museum was the Henley Collection which was a private museum owned firstly by Pamela Henley and opened to the public on 1 June 1927 and then bequeathed to the Borough (now Town) Council in Trust when she died in 1951.
It was then run by her friend Miss Ida Walker until her death in 1963 and the house at 1 Anzac Street was then also bequeathed to the Council in Trust. And thus it remains today. The collection itself is housed in the Dartmouth Museum, though it is a separate collection and governed by a separate trust from the museum itself.
The foregoing was part of a Twitter conversation about our Coco de Mer, and our surprise at finding unusual objects in our collections! It's amazing the conversations one has on Twitter. Was Pamela Henley a feminist, do you suppose?