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Owners of quirky Craven Arms museum of pop culture ephemera promise to bounce back from fire safety ban

By Keri Trigg | Craven Arms | Attractions | Published:

The owners of a Craven Arms museum shut down by fire inspectors have vowed to re-open in the new year bigger and better than ever.

Owner Stella Mitchell looks forward to the re-opening of the Land of Lost Content Museum, which has been shut since September

The Land of Lost Content is jam-packed with quirky items collected by owner Stella Mitchell over the decades - but when fire inspectors turned up on September 18 they deemed there was simply too much of it.

"Somebody complained to the fire service that we were in a very old building full of old stuff," said Stella.

"They came and had a look around and agreed that it was far too dangerous to be open to the public.

"We last had a check in 2014 and complied with all the necessary regulations, but they do change the rules and now they are really tightening up on things."

Stella was told to close the museum until further notice, and had to turn visitors away that same day.

"The worst thing was that it took four weeks before we had the report from the assessors," she said.

"There was nothing we could do until then because we didn't know what was required."

When it arrived, the report listed a whole host of measures the museum had to comply with to bring it up to safety standards.

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But rather than accept defeat, Stella and husband Dave immediately threw themselves into renovating and re-organising their eclectic museum to ensure it makes the grade.

They are now reassuring visitors that the doors will re-open in February 2019 after the usual winter break over December and January.

New fire doors and extinguishers are being installed, a new fire-proof ceiling to the cellar constructed, and the cafe removed from the top floor to make the whole building more safe.

But Stella is viewing the transformation as the beginning of a new chapter for her beloved museum, which has gained national recognition over the years for having the country's largest collection of pop culture ephemera and obscure objects from the pre-digital era.

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She said: "It is very positive because I am doing a lot of new displays, and not having a cafe any more has given me the impetus to create a whole new display space.

"We are here every day to make sure everything is done, it will be such a relief when it's finished.

"The museum is our passion and the things we have done already are getting us really keyed up.

"We have been down before - we have had a museum for 26 years now with no funding or sponsorship, just the two of us.

"Determination is what gets us through, if we were not interested we would just give up."

Keri Trigg

By Keri Trigg
Reporter - @KeriTrigg_Star

Reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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