One of Cheltenham’s most fascinating attractions, Holst Birthplace Museum, offers a slice of history right in the heart of town, providing a fascinating insight into the life of legendary composer, Gustav Holst.
A modest Regency house from the outside, the museum becomes something else completely upon stepping inside, bringing the past into the present thanks to its authentic décor, furniture and displays, with three floors and numerous rooms to explore.
From its William Morris wallpaper to artwork and antique furniture, the house is a veritable haven of memorabilia and music mementoes, making for a museum which is not only interesting for music lovers or history buffs, but both.
Gustav Holst fans will undoubtedly marvel at the composer’s very own grand piano – bought for an incredible £12 in 1932; portraits of Gustav and his wife Isobel; the original Holst family gramophone which plays ‘Mars’; along with plenty of letters, books, photographs and notes from the musician’s career.
SoGlos had the pleasure of visiting during the Gustav's Gramphone exhibition, which saw a host of temporary exhibits on display and made for an immersive experience, complete with music and film.
Highlights from the exhibition include posters from days gone by; the first gramophone record of ‘The Planets’; a model of Thomas Edison’s invention, the phonograph; and a glimpse into HMV as it used to be, His Master’s Voice, complete with Nipper the dog.
What’s more, boasting the accolade of being the very house that Holst was born at and lived in for nearly a decade, the building is in itself a piece of history. Offering the chance to discover more about life in Victorian times, the original features include a servant’s quarter, a child’s bedroom, a larder, an even an outhouse!
Whether you're a classical music connoisseur, history buff, or culture vulture, Holst Birthplace Museum is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
Wandering through the Victorian kitchen, scullery, sitting room and bedroom, there was a real sense of the upstairs/downstairs class divide, and personally, the ‘downstairs’ areas were the most fascinating. From old wooden mangles and washboards, to carpet sweepers and woven rug beaters, there was plenty to either muse or reminisce over.
What came as a pleasant surprise were the many attractions that await younger visitors. From musical instruments and colouring fun, to outdoor games and a particularly fun knitted Nipper dog trail, there’s plenty to keep little ones entertained – not to mention any big kids who like to unleash their inner child!
Whether you’re a classical music connoisseur, history buff, or culture vulture, Holst Birthplace Museum is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered, with the Gustav’s Gramophone exhibition offering even more incentive to go and visit the Cheltenham attraction.
Gustav's Gramophone exhibition will be on until Wednesday 20 December 2017.
By Kathryn Godfrey
Monday 03 July 2017
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