Branches East Vale News
Opening of Sackhouse, Wantage Wharf April 26
Sack 1
On Saturday 26th The Sack House Museum was officially opened by Mayor Fiona Roper in Wantage Wharf with members of Wantage Silver Band on hand to play a couple of suitable tunes and a fanfare. The weather unfortunately took a turn for the worse at precisely the time when the Trust tea towel was removed from the nice new blue plaque on the door.
However this did not dent the crowd's spirits as they queued to get a look inside. Brian thanked all those who had worked to prevent the building being demolished, and who had donated funds for the internal works. 

The Museum is designed to provide information on the history and working of the Canal in Wantage and to put the building in context within the industrial archaeology of the town eg the proximity to the Town Mill, and how the coming of the Canal changed the lives of the townsfolk. The TV will be showing slides shows and videos of various aspects of the canal restoration to date.
Mike Matthews_with_Brian_and_Chris Mayor Fiona_Roper   Members of_the_Wantage_Silver_Band
The Wharf, Mill Street, WANTAGE Oxon OX12 9GF

Undercroft under Sainsbury's Car Park, off Mill Street, Wantage OX12 9AJ
First two hours free. See notice board for conditions.
Regular bus services from and to Wantage Market Place.

1st and 3rd Saturdays and Wednesdays 10am - 2pm

Acquired from Barratts Homes in 2012 the East Vale branch team have worked to renovate the inside of this building to serve as a small museum on the subject of the canal wharf and the surrounding industrial archaeology. However it will also act as a local information centre regarding the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust and the ongoing restoration projects.

Funding has been received from the Oxfordshire County Council, Waitrose Green tokens scheme, Wantage & Grove Lions as well as other local fundraising.

Report from May 2012

It’s ours!!!
The Trust has, in the last week or so, completed the purchase of the historically important Sack House at Wantage Wharf. This is one of only two original canal buildings remaining in Wantage ( the other being the wharfmaster’s house) and therefore of great significance. It dates back to the building of the wharf in the early 1800s and served as a depot for hiring sacks of a standard size to farmers, corn merchants etc who wished to send their goods out of the local area. The West of England Sack Hiring Company was set up in the early 19thC and had the Great Western Rly contract for Cornwall to Bucks.
158-1000The company was liquidated in the 1920s. The building is small but has two rooms, one of which was an office and the other the storage for sacks and the weighing equipment. The previous owners Barratt Homes undertook the external renovation of the building two years ago at about which time we first made contact. Terms were agreed under which ownership passed to us with restrictions on future transfer and a covenant this it is to be used as museum.
The Branch intend now to renovate the inside of the building to a suitable standard, arrange for electricity supply to be installed and then fit out as a museum/exhibition area specifically concerning the Canal Wharf, Wantage Tramway and other associated industrial heritage. We are now setting up a management committee to move things forward. More details will be published when available. The likely first opening ( albeit before renovation occurs) will be during the Wantage Summer Festival in June.
Finally I would like to thank all those who have helped enable the Trust to this stage and for now I’ll mention just  Barratt Homes and  also John Mant Solicitors. I know there are various people around Wantage who have sought this solution over many years and my thanks goes to them too
After a super door opening ceremony in June at which Trust Chairman John Laverick and Fiona Roper, Deputy Mayor of Wantage , cut the ribbon, to the sound of the Wantage Silver Band, things have settled down with work starting on the inside of the building.
Brian Stovold