Coldbotham Manor House, Farnish

The house was built in 1898 for the mayor of Farnisham at that time, one William Coldbotham. It is a small courtyard building, with wings containing his art collection (mainly trendy French Impressionists and sculptors). In his will he left it to the town as the official residence of the mayor, but also as a museum. It now functions wholly as a museum and has a rather good sampling of the art of the period, including furniture, and a unique collection of erotica in what used to be the bedroom wing over the pantry, etc. (admission charge, and restricted to adults, proof-of-age required -- the rest of the museum is free). The stable wing has been converted into a display area for obsolete agricultural implements, a rather unique exhibit with a large collection of scythes, sickles, and ploughshares. The servants' quarters, kitchen, etc. have been preserved intact as a demonstration of what life 'below stairs' used to be like -- all the furnishings are original or acquired from contemporary sources. This section (stable and service wing) is called the Sam Mitherglew Collection, because it was he who established it, in contrast to the very Victorian/Edwardian Coldbotham Museum. A tearoom has been set up in the Loggia and along the terrace overlooking the fine formal garden, and the old Servants' Hall is a nice small public house set up to resemble a typical workman's saloon of the period. This combination has been called one of the most eccentric museums in Britain, and is well worth a visit.