Yesterday my son and I went to see Mr and Mrs Brown again, at Eastleigh Museum.
In 1938, Mr & Mrs Brown lived in Eastleigh with their son Arthur, who was an apprentice at Eastleigh Rail Works. Mr Brown was an engine driver, who earned about £5 a week. Mrs Brown was a housewife.
Eastleigh Museum is charming
Eastleigh Museum is a sweet little museum, which I visit very often. It shows exhibitions of a new topic once every few months, in a small back room. The main attraction, however, is the story of a typical railway engineer and his family, Mr and Mrs Brown, during the 1930s.
I really love the personal touch at Eastleigh Museum, on 25 High Street in Eastleigh. Slow down when you walk, or you may miss the entrance. The museum is surrounded by shops, sandwiched between Cry charity shop and Artisan coffee shop.
Admission to the museum is free. When you enter the museum, you’ll see Mr & Mrs Brown’s living room. The table is set at 5 o’clock as Mr Brown has just returned from work as a steam train driver. They are about to enjoy their afternoon tea. You’ll see a pot of tea and a cake on the table.
You’ll also see the kitchen of Mr and Mrs Brown.
The Browns have electricity in the house. Mrs Brown didn’t have an iPad, but she did have an electric iRon. However she sometimes used the old flat irons which she heated on her kitchen range.
Radio is the best companion
Mr and Mrs Brown lived in a Victorian terraced house built when the London and South Western Railway moved to Eastleigh in the 1890s. Hundreds of people flocked to Eastleigh for work, and they lived in long terraces arranged in a grid-iron pattern.
“The house does not have a bathroom so he (Mr Brown) has to wash in cold water at the scullery sink – or he could use water heated in a kettle on the gas cooker. The Browns usually have one bath a week in a tin bath in front of the range.”
From Eastleigh Museum
Eye-Spy book and souvenirs at Eastleigh Museum
I like the souvenirs in the museum too. The gift shop is to the right of the entrance. An Eastleigh postcard is only 10p (or 5 for 40p). There are some lovely hand-made gifts, local produce, mugs of the train theme, local history books, and a very interesting little Eye-Spy book for £2.
The Eye-Spy book features some building and asks questions. It helps you discover the Victorian Eastleigh that you may have missed. This book will delight both adults and children.
Helpful volunteers at Eastleigh Museum
Eastleigh Museum survives and serves the community, thanks to the work by many volunteers. When I visited yesterday, I spoke to Danny, Graham and Daniel and they were all very helpful.
Steam locomotive footplate at Eastleigh Museum
Danny was trying to help me find out information about the full size steam locomotive footplate (Southern Railway E828, built and erected by Harry Frith in 1994; Eastleigh Railway Preservation Society).
If you get a chance, don’t forget to visit Eastleigh Museum.
You may also enjoy tea and coffee there at the Whistle Stop cafe, overlooking Mr and Mrs Brown’s living room.
25 High Street, Eastleigh SO50 5LF
Note: The story of Mr and Mrs Brown in this post is derived from the display board at Eastleigh Museum.