Museum sign
The Cowper and Newton Museum
History of the Museum

The Museum was opened in 1900. The house called Orchard Side was at that time owned by Mr W. H. Collingridge and he was persuaded by Thomas Wright of Olney to give the property to the town of Olney as a museum.

Portrait of Wright
Thomas Wright (1856-1935)

Thomas Wright was an Olney schoolmaster, local historian and a prolific author. Among his writings were biographies of Cowper and William Blake as well as editions of Persian poets such as Omar Khyam. Two of his most famous works are "The Romance of the Lace Pillow" and "The Romance of the Shoe Maker".

He was instrumental in raising public awarness about Olney's heritage and was the first Custodian of the Cowper and Newton Museum.

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