Drayton Civic Society and Joules Brewery are pleased to announce today that after a series of discussions an agreement has been reached in principle to form a new partnership which could see the civic society move its museum and headquarters from Shropshire Street to a purpose-built facility within the new Brewery courtyard which is being planned following the purchase of The Stags Head by Joules last year.

The proposed development will see a redeveloped brewery quadrant encompassing the current brewery and Red Lion Tap alongside the Stags Head next door.

Proposals are being worked up which will see Drayton Civic Society occupy 120m2 of exhibition space in a development which will be opposite The Red Lion in space behind the Stags head.  If the proposals are approved by Shropshire Council, then the new Market Drayton Museum will replace the current Market Drayton Museum.

The new space will be used to bring the story of Market Drayton to life, a spacious and tailor-made exhibition space which will house the many artefacts held by the society.  The agreement also allows for the society to being to life Market Drayton’s brewing story and its unique source of mineral water which gave birth to several thriving breweries, the buildings of which are still evident in the town today alongside Joule’s brewery itself which will adjoin the new heritage centre.

Plans for the proposal will be the subject of a public consultation which will be announced later this month.

Proposals have been carefully considered by the Civic Society’s trustees, followed by a discussion with the wider membership on Saturday at our AGM and were very well received.

Carole Higgins, Chairman, Drayton Civic Society comments: “The Museum and Resource Centre is owned and run by Drayton Civic Society, a Registered Charity, staffed entirely by volunteers, with free entry to members of the public.   The Museum is a great asset for the town and provides a home for a collection of important archives and artefacts relating directly to Drayton’s history and heritage. It holds a wealth of interesting facts for locals and visitors alike and is a valuable resource for local schools and researchers from far and wide.

The new centre will be more prominent, easier to access and park and, of course, has the benefit of having a great pub opposite, making the overall visit experience more appealing.  Joules are working closely with us and understand our charitable status and philosophy that our local history must be free to all, so they are onboard to help us sustain the society.”

The agreement announced today is very much in principle, if the project is supported by Shropshire Council, then the project will move to the next stage.

Carole Adds, “If the application is successful, our members really hope that being in a more centrally located, purpose-built home will give us the opportunity to do much more to bring the fascinating story of Market Drayton to life. It’s our work to make sure the history and heritage of Market Drayton is kept safe so we can continue to tell the ‘Story of Drayton’ to future generations, so the tales of the past are not lost.”

Anna Brakel, Development Director, Joules Brewery comments: “We are very keen to work with Drayton Civic Society, firstly we want to invest in our hometown, as a Grove School graduate it’s means a lot to me, I also think it would be fantastic to celebrate and be proud of our heritage here. The partnership with the society feels really good, the museum will add a dimension to the new brewery courtyard, and of course some prestige for us to be in partnership with the society.  In turn we think we can improve the profile, help with membership and the management of the centre, and promote the purpose of the society within the community. 

Our ambition is to be a good partner, not just provide the space – we want to see the society thrive and continue the cultural contribution they make to our town, we hope we can really help to promote the society which in turn will of course shine a light on the brewery, it’s a win-win which is good partnership is all about.

Since Roy first made the introduction then the fit has felt really good, so we really want to make this happen”.

Cllr Roy Aldcroft, Market Drayton Town Mayor comments: “The town council are supporting this new partnership and we hope that the proposals can come to fruition. This proposal very much fits with our vision for the town plan, to see investment in the town of course, and also to sell ourselves and to tell our story about what makes our town unique and special. The new facility will be a much more accessible and a place for the many new residents to find more about our town, to invest in us and to use the town centre. The basic philosophy of the society will stand the same, always free and to welcome not only visitors but also participants, volunteers, local historians, and anyone with an interest in the perseveration and promotion of our built heritage. We are excited by this and the overall plan for the brewery investment. This is very good news for our town and having seen the draft proposals I am sure it will be very well received.”

About Drayton Civic Society

Drayton Civic Society is a membership organisation which welcomes anyone interested in the past, present and future of Market Drayton and the surrounding area.

The Civic Society was formed in 1975 with aims to protect and encourage what is best in the built environment and to conserve and reveal the town’s history.    These days, the primary way the Society safeguards the history of our town is by running and maintaining the Town’s Museum with the help of our knowledgeable and welcoming Volunteers.

In 2005 Drayton Civic Society bought 53 Shropshire Street – a Grade II listed, timber framed building, dating from the 17th Century, with some financial help of Grants from Lottery and Market Towns funding.

It’s quite some achievement for a small market town like Market Drayton to be able to boast its own independent Museum and Resource Centre.   It’s a great asset for the town and an achievement that the Civic Society is extremely proud of.

The Civic Society is a Registered Charity and membership fees go directly to help us keep the Museum open with free admission to the public, enabling us to share this wonderful resource and keep the history of our town and its people alive.

The Civic Society and Museum extends far beyond the walls of 53 Shropshire Street.   We host school visits, help people research their families and properties, lead historical tours of the town, have our own social group and run members events and also respond  to queries about Market Drayton from around the world.