The Thorney Society has received £7,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable partially sighted and blind visitors to experience the village in a new way. They are working in conjunction with Thorney Abbey members and with Sue King, consultant from the RNIB in Peterborough.

The project will give the opportunity for more independent yet inclusive visits, and draw in people who would not have thought of coming before. The society hopes that small groups of blind and partially sighted people will travel to tour Thorney from some distance away, and are confident they will be able to enhance their visits. There will be opportunities for relevant training in new skills for the Museum stewards, Abbey guides and for other interested people such as those connected to other Museums, who will learn valuable new communication skills and gain a deeper insight into the needs of this section of the community.

Sue King believes the stewards are more easily available to explain exhibits and have the time to greet people, because Thorney is a small Museum. She feels that the material she will help produce, together with the knowledge to use it and help appropriately, will definitely be of benefit, saying, “Looking forward to working with you on this and helping to make such a small and perfectly-formed museum more accessible to people with sight difficulties.” The work has begun and they hope to have everything ready by April, when the Museum opens again after the winter. This will include guide books suitable for blind and partially sighted visitors, so that people can be more independent.

Since 1987 the Thorney Society has run an independent community Museum, which is open to the public during the summer season in a converted Victorian building adjoining the Bedford Hall in Thorney. It covers the rich local story of a fenland island from a huge medieval abbey through immigrants from the Continent in the seventeenth century to the Duke of Bedford’s new cottages and the railway.

For more information, please click here to visit their website or contact them on the details below.

01733 270 908


Thorney Heritage Museum

The Tankyard

Station Road