Spotlight On: Ely Museum

Ely Online’s ‘Spotlight On’ is an occasional series that aims to unlock the secrets of the city, leading you to places of interest that most people don’t realise exist or just plain ignore, revealing little known facts about even the more famous landmarks of Ely City.

Image: Ely Museum

This month Ely Online points it’s spotlight on Ely Museum, housed in the Old Bishop’s Gaol in Market Street.
The museum is an attestation to Ely’s glorious past but have you ever actually visited Ely Museum? If the answer is no, you are missing out on some fabulous exhibits.

The museum itself is housed in a truly historical building, The Old Bishop’s Gaol, one of the oldest buildings in Ely, dating from the 13th Century, it has been a private house, a Tavern, a Registry Office and the Bishop’s Gaol. In 1997 the building was renovated, though much of the buildings history can still be seen, including prisoners graffiti, hidden doorways and original planking on the walls.

The Ely Museum Displays

Image: Ely Museum

Displays are arranged through time and show the story of human settlement on the Isle of Ely from the prehistoric period to the twentieth century. There are a number of interactives and models, including one of the Roman regional headquarters at Stonea during the 2nd century and another of Ely Market Square in the mid 20th century, room settings and tableaux displays of the debtors and condemned cells of the gaol.

In all Ely Museum feature 9 main displays that cover: the formation of the Fens, Ely’s first inhabitants, Romans and Saxons in Ely, the last invaders, Vikings, the Fens, Ely’s first inhabitants, the Ely gaol cells, Victorian and Edwardian Ely, the World wars.

Artifacts on show at the museum include: Photographs of Ely by Thomas Samuel Bolton 1879-1943, a Complete set of Ely trade tokens, Two of the Cambridgeshire Regiment’s ‘Singapore Drums’, The Waterloo Trophy from the Battle of Waterloo 1815, Anglo-Saxon gold finger ring, Leaf point flint tool from the British Upper Paleolithic period, Boneshaker bicycle riden by James Moore in the first bicycle race, 1868, Three late medieval muniment chests from the monastery at Ely.

Getting To Ely Museum

Admission to Ely Museum is £3.00 for adult and children accompanied by an adult go FREE.

Ely Museum is located at top of Market Street, just past the Citizens Advice Bureau and a short walk from the bus stops. There is ample parking in Ely and all car parks are FREE.

If travelling by rail Ely Museum is a 20–30 minute walk from the railway station, walk up Back Hill, The Gallery and Lynn Road.

If you are planning on driving into Ely full driving directions can be obtained here.