Minutes and Pre Read for the AGM from 5 May 2021

Minutes of the 33rd Annual General Meeting of the Beaminster Museum Trust

Held on Wednesday 5th May 2021 at 2.30pm

(Due to Covid- 19 restrictions this meeting was held virtually on Zoom)

  1. Welcome:

In welcoming 18 members to the meeting, the chairman elect, Matthew Kirkman, particularly welcomed Murray Rose as outgoing Chairman, also Alec Crawford standing for election as Hon Secretary, and Colin Bowditch who is standing down as Vice Chairman. Douglas Beazer’s work as Hon Secretary before Alec Crawford took over was also appreciated.

  • Apologies for absence:

Apologies were received from Brenda and Frank Smith, Susan Way, Ann Hudson, Gill and Robin Cheeseman, Mary Treacher, Gill Samsom and Marcus Chambers

  • Minutes of the last AGM held on 9th January 2020

Proposed by Alec Crawford and seconded by Colin Bowditch, the Minutes were

approved by all present.

  • Matters arising from those Minutes

No matters arose.

  • Acting Chairman’s Report

The Chairman Elect drew attention to the ‘Pre Read for the AGM’, copy attached hereto, that had been posted on the Museum website and also circulated to all members for whom email addresses are available.

The Chairman Elect drew attention to the progress on the extension of the Museum with the new ground floor room being named the Chesterman Room in memory of Miss Chesterman who had left a substantial legacy to the Museum, and the first floor room being named the Rose Gallery in recognition of the very significant contribution over many years that Murray Rose and his family have made to the establishment and extension of the Museum. All building work on the extension had been completed on time and within budget and the finishing work being undertaken by Murray Rose and a number of helpers, with electrical work in the kitchen, was expected to be complete by 17th May when Operation Restart would commence with the aim for the Museum to re-open to the public by the start of the summer school holidays.

The formal opening of the extension was being planned for Spring 2022.

Alec Crawford drew attention to the very considerable amount of work that had been undertaken by Murray Rose throughout the extension project which, he suggested. had been in Murray’s mind for 20 years. Demonstrating skills as planner, designer, project leader, brick layer,  painter, carpenter, carpet layer and more Murray had saved the Museum a substantial amount of money by not having to use contractors for so much of this work. The Chairman Elect endorsed these comments.

The Chairman Elect thanked Bid Wheeler for her work associated with the marketing of the Museum and also with preparing for Operation Restart.

Colin Bowditch’s work on fund raising, including leading on the application for a Lottery grant for the extension was much appreciated.

Bid Wheeler and Brian Earl are co-leading Operation Restart, which will include a new one-way system through the museum.

Matthew Kirkman suggested, based on recommendations from Crystal Johnson, our marketing consultant, that on re-opening there should be a Suggestion Box near the exit in order to solicit ideas from visitors as to how the museum experience could be improved.

  • Treasurer’s Report

Linda le Breton referred to her Report and Accounts which had been posted on the website as part of ‘Pre Read for the AGM’. Covid-19 and all the restrictions over the past year had clearly had a major effect on income. However the Museum had been successful in obtaining a Covid related grant of £10,000 from Dorset Council, most of which had not yet been spent.

The accounts were unanimously accepted and a vote of thanks to the Auditors was agreed.

Acceptance of Colin Schofield as the Museum Trust Auditor for the coming year, nominated by Linda, seconded by Matthew was passed unanimously as part of the voting process.

Note: The voting for the Auditor, the Trustees and Committee members was conducted electronically with 22 votes being cast.

  • Election of Trustees

The following having been duly proposed and seconded were unanimously elected as Trustees of the Beaminster Museum Trust:

Alec Crawford

Matthew Kirkman

Marcus Chambers

Mary Treacher has elected to stand down as a Trustee and we thank her for her contribution. Previously elected in 2020, and serving for three years, were Murray Rose and Michael Conroy. Up for re-election in 2022 will be Colin Bowditch and Diana Trenchard.

  • Election of Officers and Management Committee members

The following had been duly proposed and seconded to serve as Officers and as members of the Committee and were unanimously elected:

Chairman:                   Matthew Kirkman

Vice Chairman:            Vacant

Hon Treasurer:            Linda le Breton

Hon Secretary:            Alec Crawford

Curator:                       Brian Earl

Members:                   Colin Bowditch

Sarah Drinnan

Murray Rose

Bid Wheeler

  • Any other business

Alec Crawford noted that in the recently published Report of the Beaminster Climate and Long-term Resilience Working Group entitled ‘Looking ahead for Beaminster – how can we thrive in changing times’ there did not appear to be any mention of the Museum. However, the Chairman Elect said that the Museum was fully engaging with the Working Group and noted that there could be a source of funds available for relevant activities in the community, such as energy efficiency.

  1. Date of next meeting:

The 2022 AGM would be held on Tuesday 26th January 2022 at 2.30pm

Pre Read distributed in advance of the AGM

The last year has been a challenge for all of us, but also a year of great achievement.  Despite the frustration of not being able to open, volunteers worked very hard to prepare the Museum for the arrival of the builders. Particular thanks to Bid and Alastair and many others for the hard work in preparing the building for the builders. Overall the building project has gone as planned and we now have the much needed extra space.  In recognition of the contribution by Murray and his family in getting to this point, the new upstairs gallery will be known as the Rose Gallery.  In recognition of a generous legacy of Miss Chesterman, the downstairs multi-purpose room will be known as the Chesterman Room. Since the builders left, volunteer efforts have continued, with painting, repair work, stair installation, tiling in the kitchen etc..  Thanks must go to Murray, Marcus, Alec, Pete and many others for their efforts. Ahead of us now is the task of cleaning the exhibit space and remounting exhibits ready to re-open at a time that fits with our ability to do that work safely. A decision was made early on that although excellent progress has been made, it is simply not practical to utilise the Rose Gallery and the Chesterman Room this summer. There is still detailed work to be done to make the building complete, and at the same time we need temporary storage space to align the exhibits to the Covid-safe requirements.

I am looking forward to the future developments of the Museum.  Murray and I will manage a gradual transition as I take over the chairman’s role, and I am very grateful for Murray’s continued contributions.   He will remain a voting member of the management committee, as well as guiding the Trustees.


Chairmens Report:

The year (from November 2019) started very well with very good attendances to the first four winter talks. The autumn events also went well.  Early in 2020 we heard that we had been awarded a £99,000 lottery Grant and left a £109,000 legacy which meant we had sufficient funds to start the expansion project, which had been in planning for some 3 years.

At the same time, Covid struck and we went into lockdown. Lockdown meant that we could not finish our Winter Talks series and we were not able to open the museum at all in 2020. The lockdown however did enable us to speed up the building extension – we could start building earlier because the Museum was closed.

The Financial effect of Covid has been a loss of income on Winter Talks, other events and admission charges. The losses were offset slightly by reduced costs of cleaning, maintenance and utilities. Some  money was raised by occasional sales (books and plants) associated with the museum. We have therefore made a small loss over the year, whereas we normally make a small profit. We did though receive a £10,000 Covid-19 Support Grant from the government which more than covers this and helps us with the losses we are still incurring.

From May 2021 the Museum is reinstalling the artefacts which had to be moved because of the building work. We are hoping at the same time to develop some of the displays. Later this year will be a time to expand into two new galleries and develop contact with the community in line with the plans made for the various new activities with the expanded building.

All this, of course, is still dependent on the outcome of the pandemic.

Overall, a very strange year where we have luckily been able to take advantages of the enforced shut down to make progress with our extension plans.

Expansion Project Report

The building part of the Expansion Project was planned in two stages. The Phase I was complete with the builders O’Briens with very few problems, on time and within budget. Phase II, the fitting out and painting of the raw building was started in February with a small team of volunteers, and this stage is almost complete, Outstanding is the electrical work, carpets and doors to the gallery. When completed, we will still be well within budget.

The Lottery Grant for the Expansion Project requires outcomes which encourage us to work more across the community. Development of this was on hold during 2020 because of Covid restrictions and we will not be able to make progress until August this year (Covid allowing). These obligations demonstrate the positive development of the museum for the future.


The plans for 2020, pre Covid, were not to have a traditional exhibition in the main Museum Area, but have the walls of the room feature the result of what we’ve called the Parishes Project, part of a project to not only to encourage our official catchment area to be thought of as a collection of parishes rather than villages, but also to give those parishes beyond Beaminster’s boundaries a little more focus than has hitherto been the case. This does however fit well with what we need to do to accommodate the transition from the prior layouts to the post expansion layout, and that is what we will focus on for the summer opening this year.

In light of Covid we will also implement of a one-way system in the museum. Each visitor’s journey will start at the very beginning chronologically. I’ve given the first port of call a working title of the ‘Genesis’ section, for no better reason than ‘Geology, palaeontology & prehistory’ was getting a bit long winded. Because of the awkward shape of what used to be the Reference Section, it won’t be possible to show what we had in the Gallery in exactly the same way. We’re thinking of moving the Jurassic part upstairs in 2022. Some good news for the Genesis section is that we’ve recently acquired full title to the Stone Age handaxes that were previously on loan. Jenny Cuthbert has helped with a “Beaminster Timeline” immediately after the Genesis display. A  DMA grant will cover the expense of eight A2-size panels, each of which tells a separate part of Beaminster’s history. Their visual element combines commissioned artwork, modern photography and images from our own archive.

The activity groups have not been idle, and activities are progressing to expand our oral history collection, and make transcripts available with the recordings, readily accessible to visitors. In addition we plan a number of other engagements with the community, in support of the Dementia group, and education offerings form children over the summer.

Although O’Briens, builders, departed in early February, volunteers are still unable to start the process of re-instating the building due to lockdown and pandemic guidelines. We will begin the process from 17 May, with small teams of volunteers working to a rota so that we still abide by Covid guidelines. Much work remains to be done: setting up Covid security stations in the entrance, toilet, kitchen and gallery; planning which areas need repainting before displays are re-installed, some going into different locations, plus some totally new displays… You may never have thought how pictures and word panels are actually attached to walls? Velcro with a sticky backing is the answer, and removing the old sticky patches means some redecoration is required, then placing new velcro strips onto word panels, a task which can be done at home. Come 17 May, when up to six volunteers can again be indoors together, various teams will start their work – the Heavy Lifters, Blitz Cleaners, Big Clean team, Display Structures team, Support Collection team and section owners responsible for a specific display area, to name but a few. We will then find out if our packing-up system has worked and can locate items packed away for the duration. The plan is 17 pages of ‘cannot be done before’ and ‘this has to be done before that can happen’. We’re hoping it will all go as smoothly as possible to enable us to re-open for the latter part of the 2021 season. So with dusters and vacuums at the ready, paintbrushes primed, and displays both old and new set up, we hope to welcome our visitors back as soon as we can. We certainly look forward to moving from Operation Restart to Opening! The exact date for reopening will only be determined when we can establish both our safe work rate, the level of volunteer support, and crucially, any unexpected activities post builder that are required.

Much time and effort has been invested in keeping volunteers connected, informed and enthused. The newsletter is still being issued every week (even when news is sparse), those of our number living alone have been part of a phone-based support network, and museum-related work has continued at home where practicable. As a result, it seems reasonable to hope that our pool of volunteers won’t have been decimated by the prolonged absence caused by both builders and virus.

Rest assured we will open the building to the public as soon as it appears practicable and safe to do so.

Marketing :

We have been working with a local independent heritage consultant, who has also worked with other local Museums, and this was a requirement of the Lottery funding. This has been useful in stimulating discussion, and ensuring our approach to marketing  is not  missing anything.

Hopefully you will have noted some improvements to the website, and these are ongoing, and if we can gain some additional volunteer help, we hope to improve our social media reach in service of encouragement from the NHLF. We are missing out on a huge chunk of the general public if we don’t employ those methods they now use to gain their information. As part of this move we will try to reduce the amount of paper we generate, but still maintain a link for those friends who do not wish to just have electronic communications.

Once we are open we will poll our visitors on suggestions for how we best evolve our exhibits as we take advantage of the additional space we will have in 2022, and no doubt a bumper set of winter talks.

The Museum may be closed – but there has been much behind the scenes activity on the marketing and publicity aspect and supporting readiness for re opening.

L M Rose and M. Kirkman

Chairmen, Beaminster Museum

The new Rose Gallery before painting

Treasurers Report

I am reporting on thefinal accounts for the financial year 5thNovember 2019 to 4th November2020 which have been examined and signed by our independent examiner, Colin Schofield.

Operating Income and Expenditure Friends’ Subscription Income.

Those of our “Friends” who pay by standing order continue to support us. Reminders went out in Spring 2021 to those who pay by other means.

Gift Aid Income.

This is Gift Aid claimed on 2019 subscriptions.

Other Bespoke Donations.

This represents a £300 donation for the Memory Café project.

Shop Sales.

Gill’s off-site book sales continue to be successful.

Events Income.

See detail on page 2 of the accounts.

Marketing Costs.

This represents this year’s fee for the Visit Dorset website and the cost of new leaflets and flyers.

Education Expenditure: This is a small fee to the flint knapper when some pupils from St Mary’s School visited the museum.

Events Expenditure: This is made up of a 50% profit share to Parnham Voices for the Christmas concert, and speakers’ fees at winter talks.

General property expenditure. See detail on page 2 of the accounts. Opus is now our energy supplier and is taking regular payments although the bills are still estimated.

This leaves us with an operating deficit of £1,438 for the financial year which will be covered by the Dorset Council Covid-19 support grant held in our CCLA No. 1 account.I have transferred the £1438 operating deficit from this account to the current account to maintain the reserve.

Extension Project Income and Expenditure

Building and Repair Funding is made up of the Chesterman legacy £100,952.97, Lottery funding 50% £49,500, sale of sheds (net of transport costs) £655,and the three smaller grants totalling £13,000.

Funded Building and Repair Expenditure. At the financial year end on 4th November I had paid the first two £25k instalments against the second invoice from O’briens.

Bank Balances: The level of funds was high at financial year end as we were part way through the extension project.

Our funds included £20k in loans from two trustees to act as a safety net. These loans will be repaid at the end of the project.

Linda le Breton, Treasurer


Notes on Fundraising to date

Friends and members will have heard me discussing at previous AGM’s, our aims and then successes at fundraising for the Expansion Project. In summary, that we were very fortunate indeed to receive a legacy from the Chesterman estate of £100000, that we raised a further approx. £100000 from individual Friends and Members contributions, some of which were quite substantial, contributions from both the Town Council and the then West Dorset District Council and from two local Charitable trusts. Finally we applied to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and were awarded £99000. In all we were able to raise just in excess of £300000.

From the start it was obvious that the main expenditure would be the actual building of the extension into the yard behind the existing museum building and the fitting out. The remainder of the funding would be required to equip the museum for the increasein itswork and the aims listed under the constitution. At the same time the grant from the national Lottery came with it, some quite specific objectives under the heading of ‘Extending Beaminster Museum into the Community’. We have now reached the next stage of the Project where, with the help of the expanded premises we can put into placethe agreed ideas to how we can ‘Extend into the Community’.

Members will already have heard rumours that we intend linking with the Beaminster Dementia Champions in creating a Memory café in the museum. Some members or their contacts will have heard that we are seeking potential interviewees so that we can extend our Oral History library and we are still seeking further offers of names.

Friends and visitors generally who visit the museum for research purposes will now have a far simpler means of accessing this via a museum computer, in a dedicated room free from the bustle of work and activity generally amongst the exhibits.

We now have the room to invite school groups and those of other organisations to come as oneand to be shown around and be able to see the exhibits as one group rather than being partially hidden.

Finally we wish to seek the views of the Friends and other visitors how best to use the new Gallery, The Rose Gallery, by sharing with us which exhibits that we should expand into the extra room, what subject areas of our local history have lain dormant over many years, ready for its opening in 2022. While the Management Committee and Trustees have their own views, it is important that final decisions are made with a degreeof democracy. The means of collecting your views will be present when you visit this season 2021.

Colin Bowditch

Minutes of 2020 AGM


To be held virtually on 5th May 2021 at 2.30pm. 

1.     Welcome and process

The process for a virtual meeting on Zoom  will be explained.

2.  Apologies for absence.

3.  Minutes of the last AGM held on 9th January 2020

Minutes to be approved by those present and signed by the Chairman.

4.  Matters arising from those minutes.

5.  Trustees’ Report.

The Chairman, will review the previously shared written Trustees report, any questions taken by Murray.

There will be an opportunity to discuss the pre read report on the funding status for the expansion, any questions taken by Colin.

6.  Chairman’s Report.

The Chairman elect, will review, with support if required from  the relevant committee members, the previously distributed written report, with sections presented by the chair on behalf of the Curator and Marketing, but any questions will be taken by Brian and Bid.

7.  Treasurer’s Report and Accounts.

The Treasurer, Linda le Breton, will go through the highlights of the previously distributed report.

8.  Appointment of Auditor.

Mr Colin Schofield had been nominated as the Auditor by Linda le Breton. Approval is part of the digital voting scheme.

9.  Elections of Trustees and Officers and members  of the Management Committee.

The voting required by our constitution will be conducted electronically, using the link supplied, as is allowed in our constitution. To achieve a quorum we need ten valid votes.

The voting link was provided above,  and all Museum friends are encourages to visit the link and vote.  We need a quorum of voters for the vote to be valid.

The voting includes approving the auditors, electing one third of the Trustees, and the operating management committee.

12.  Outline of the Museum programme for 2021

A  report explaining the existing uncertainty for 2021  and forward plans is in the pre read and opportunities for questions will be provided.

The chairman elect will review the vision for the future, and our ongoing commitments in respect of lottery funding around community engagement. As always, what can be achieved is limited by our volunteer resources and we are always interested in offers of help, even if only as a one off support to a specific activity or project.

14.  Any other Business, and questions submitted in advance.

15.  Date of next meeting.

The next Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 6th January 2022 at 2.30 pm.