Curator of much-loved Shropshire museum to sell off collection

The curator of a much-loved museum in Craven Arms could be set to call time on her 'passion' for collecting.

Stella pictured outside the museum
Stella pictured outside the museum

Thousands of visitors have been through the doors of the Land of Lost Content, which features memorabilia from days gone by and which is said to bring back memories for older visitors and a history lesson for the young.

The museum from the outside

Owner Stella Mitchell, 70, is slowly selling off her collection,with a view to retiring at the end of 2023 when an agreement on a lease on the building, the old Market Hall in Market Street, runs out.

She has agreed to sell the collection – which includes a variety of Chad Valley toys, bluebirds taken from the gates of the Blue Bird Toffee factory, tickets from the first National Lottery in 1994 and a Sinclair C5 – to a collector in Bristol for around £60,000, having rejected an earlier offer of £40.000.

She says the collection was once insured for £500,000.

Stella and her husband David have run the museum since 2003 when they went into partnership with acclaimed designer Wayne Hemmingway MBE.

Their passion for collecting eclectic items have led to the museum gaining national recognition for their display, which range from fashions to equipment from the pre-digital age and the dawn of computers.

Part of the collection

She went public on the move after rumours online of the museum being closed or sold off in the next few months but says she hopes to carry on until the agreement runs out next year.

It's closure risks disappointing many visitors to the town - on Trip Advisor it is the number one attraction out of ten in Craven Arms, beating the nearby Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre.

Part of the collection

But Stella said as much as she still enjoyed collecting and exhibiting and it brought her and David an income - next year would be a good time to call it a day.

She said: "The agreement is until the end of next year and I have taken up an offer to sell at least part of the collection which means it will be coming out of the museum so now seems a good time to wind down a little.

Part of the colllection

"It has been a labour of love for me and David - we have got a modest income from it but it has never been about making money it has been about the passion of searching out items that are going to be well received and interesting for visitors.

"People have said the collection is worth more than has been offered which is probably true but then it is transporting and storing them as well, we have four floors full of collectibles and it's having the space to keep them.

"I would stress we are still fully open and I look forward to meeting as many people, old and new as possible."

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