Bourne Hall will be opening its vaults to the Epsom Guardian this summer and revealing the secrets and stories behind some of the 13,000 objects hidden there.

The council-funded museum, in Spring Street, Ewell, was established in 1969 and has amassed some 13,807 items and 750 boxes of archaeological remains in that time.

Less than five per cent of its collections - which include furniture, costumes, fine art, household items and work tools - are on display in Bourne Hall, but anyone wishing to see more can ask to do so.

Jeremy Harte, who has been the museum’s curator for 22 years, said this rarely happens, and believes opening up the vaults to the newspaper will make the collection more accessible.

Over the coming weeks, we will be showcasing some of the unique items and revealing the funny, extraordinary and dramatic tales behind them.

Mr Harte said: "What we are doing with the collections is looking at things in daily life which have now become obsolete.

"They date back to the 16th Century and the archaeological items to 12,000 years ago, and they come right through to the Diamond Jubilee. 

"It’s about making this material more available.  What people don’t realise is the museum has a static display and an ongoing collection. 

"We are collecting the past which tends to accumulate and a museum never stops."

Bourne Hall receives no special funding for the maintenance of its collections and all its items are donated.

Mr Harte said it is always on the look-out for items and anyone rummaging in their attic who comes across something interesting should get in touch.

He added: "Very often it’s the quirky items and the unusual things that get passed by because people don’t think of them as antiques. 

"If people think they have something interesting, the best way to go about it is to give me a call or email us and then we can exchange pictures.

"We’re always looking to lay down a record which people can look back on. 

"The idea there’s a story behind an item is more important than its industrial history." 

Do you have items which could be added to the Bourne Hall collection? Contact Mr Harte at or 0208 394 1734.