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Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum
1 South Brink Place

PE13 1JE
Telephone: 01945 476358
Fax: 01945 476358
Email: octaviahillmuseum@yahoo.co.uk

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Overview of collections

The collections relate to the life and work of Octavia Hill (1838-1912) who was born in Wisbech in the property on the South Brink which now houses the museum. Her father, James Hill, was a wealthy Wisbech banker and a follower of Robert Owen. Her mother, Caroline was influenced by the educational ideas of Johann Pestalozzi. The family moved to Finchley, London in 1840. Hill was a co-founder of the National Trust in 1895 and a pioneer of social housing whose influence was far-reaching and still valued today. The museum collection also includes items relating to her family background, to individuals, such as John Ruskin, who influenced her life and material relating to general housing conditions and the societies with which she was involved

Overview of how collections are displayed

The museum is arranged in themed rooms. In the Fenland Room, the former dining room of the house, the displays trace the family background that led to Octavia Hill's national and international work; the Ruskin Room the room is dedicated to John Ruskin (1819-1900), whose early support enabled Octavia Hill to start her life's work; the Housing Room displays tell the story of the development of Octavia Hill's housing work from 1875 onwards; the Acorn Room, at the top of the house, with views of the River Nene and Peckover House, celebrates Octavia Hill's core belief in the life enhancing virtues of ""Pure Earth, Clean Air and Blue Sky.""; in the basement, there is a lifelike recreation of a slum dwelling in Paradise Place, showing the appalling and insanitary conditions in which many working people lived. Paradise Place was the first property managed and improved by Hill. Throughout the museum, there are attractive models and murals illustrating various aspects of the story being told, and complement the original archive material, drawings, puclications and personalia, such as Hill's desk. The Bed Bug display has a horrid fascination for younger visitors

Star Objects at this location

Octavia Hill's writing desk.
Watercolours by Octavia Hill
Octavia Hill's Common Place Book
Collection Descriptions
Personalia- Octavia Hill (Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum)
-The museum is devoted to the life and work of Octavia Hill. Amongst the personal items on display are some watercolo...

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