Visit to Wisbech & Fenland Museum, 14 April 2018

Join the Friends of Cambridge University Library for a special guided tour of the wonderful Wisbech & Fenland Museum and library on Saturday 14 April. This event is open to all and will include a private view of treasures from the library collections, including the original manuscript of Charles Dickens’s ‘Great Expectations’.

The Museum

The Museum is one of the oldest purpose-built public museums in the country and both the University Library and the University of Cambridge Museums are developing exciting new partnerships with Wisbech around its amazing collections.

The library collections include:

  • medieval manuscripts dating back to the 12th century
  • the Wisbech Town Library (dating back to 1653, with over 1,100 rare books, including rare medical works)
  • the library of the Wisbech Literary Society, founded in 1781, and on display in the magnificent 19th-century library room
  • maps of the Fens dating back to 1590, many of which were displayed at the UL during the 2017 Festival of Ideas
  • an extraordinary collection of literary autographs given 150 years ago by Dickens’s friend, the Victorian poet, collector and mesmerist Chauncy Hare Townshend
  • Townshend’s own extensive library, including many fine association copies from contemporary poets and authors

A ‘perfect surviving example of the Victorian museum’, the Wisbech museum collections are rich and eclectic, with Egyptian antiquities, ethnographic and archaeological collections alongside coins, fossils and fine and decorative arts. The museum is also home to important local history collections and documents and objects connected with the anti-slavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson.

Event details and booking

This event will take place from 11am on Saturday 14 April. Entry is just £5 per person (cash on entry to the Museum). Please book in advance via the Friends Coordinator, Kim Greed – or 01223 765362.

Transport arrangements and car-share

Visitors will need to make their own way to the Museum, although we will be offering car-share where possible on a first-come-first-served basis. If anyone is able to offer a car-share or would like a lift via car-share, please contact us as soon as possible (, copying in and we’ll do our best to help. Directions to the Museum and further information is available at or via 01945 583817 /

Dr Jill Whitelock
Head of Special Collections
Cambridge University Library

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