Cotswolds Christmas

A Cotswold Christmas

Notes from A Cotswold Christmas by John Hudson (1988)

Our volunteers have been reading a wonderful festive book, while welcoming visitors to the shop. We thought we would share with you some of their favourite bits about Christmases of old in the Cotswolds.

Even as late as 1913 the butcher used to stock up at the Christmas Fat Stock Fair, while holly and mistletoe seemed to be dripping with berries. Christmas church bells rang out across the Wolds.

Into the twenties and beyond, children enjoyed a stocking filled with oranges and if you were as well-off as the Mitford sisters maybe even a five-pound note.

A hundred years ago in 1916 there was a terribly cold winter, that really chilled the bones, but brought with it the beautiful snow and ice we still like to associate with Christmas time.  Imagine ice skating on the nearby river, or sledging down the hills? Or perhaps you would prefer playing Party games inside to keep everyone entertained?

This Christmas looks like being a grey one rather than a white one, but we wish

Christmas in Broadway

everyone the best festive period.

It’s not too late to buy Christmas cards, decorations, and gifts from our shop, and why not enjoy the exhibition before we close for Christmas (on 21st December)


Ho Ho Ho and a Tombola

Friday 25th November and Friday 2nd December Late Night Christmas Shopping

15079083_10202639410462964_8874580760629630666_nImage: Trevor McGill

Plenty of people were out and about to prepare for, and celebrate, Christmas. And we were certainly feeling festive with Broadway looking wonderful with its Christmas lights twinkling.

At the Ashmolean Museum Broadway we held our annual tombola, with items donated by the staff and volunteers from the museum, the Ashmolean Museum shop, friends of the museum and the Ashmolean Oxford shop. We had a lovely range of drinks, chocolates, soaps, and homeware on offer and it was lovely to see so many smiling faces as people won the lovely prizes.

After doing this for the last three years it was great to see returning faces, and plenty of people said how great it was to see and support us year after year.

This year we had the addition of a hot drinks and mince pie stand which was very popular for cold hands and faces. Volunteer Cathy made a very jolly Santa and the kids (and passing coaches) loved giving her a wave.

We raised a wonderful amount of money which will help the museum out as we close for winter to prepare for the name change to Broadway Museum and Art Gallery, and the addition of displays on Broadway History, including how important the wool industry was to the development of the town.

Thank you for all of your continued support and we hope you have a wonderful Christmas.cyse-hpxcaar66n

Image: Claire Collier: Volunteer Cathy as a very jolly Santa


Christmas at the Ashmolean Museum Broadway

The reindeerChristmas lights have gone up around the village, we are making preparations for Christmas Shopping Evenings and the Christmas decorations are up in the museum. The yuletide season is fast approaching.WP_20161115_12_36_13_Pro.jpg

In the shop are some lovely Ashmolean Christmas Cards with historic images, Christmas tree ornaments, and lots of things that would make terrific gifts for your loved ones.  We will be open for Broadway’s Late Night Christmas Shopping on Friday 25th November and 2nd December, so come along and see us between 5.30 and 8.30 and enjoy some of the other lovely festival fun around the village.

The Christmas decorations adorning our own Christmas tree in the Introduction Room, are also available in the shop. So visitors can feel a little festive as they are welcomed to the museum by volunteers with the introductory talk, and then purchase one of our cute wooden reindeer decorations as a souvenir.

With the dark evenings drawing in our opening hours have changed, so through the winter we are now closing at 4pm with last admissions at 3.30pm, so come along early to avoid disappointment.

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If you are at a loose end why not pop along and check out what’s it in our shop, or join us for late night shopping, and take a last peek around the museum before we close the public from 21st December.

Talk at the museum: A Hundred Demons from Present and Past: Images of the Supernatural in Japanese art

Wednesday 19th October 5.30pm for a 6pm start
Ashmolean Museum Broadway Tudor House 65 High Street Broadway WR12 7DP


Household objects that come to life, animals with supernatural powers, wicked demons and the vengeful spirits of cruelly-wronged women…Tales of the supernatural have long been represented in Japanese art and literature – carved as sculptures, depicted in prints and paintings, and dramatized for the Kabuki theatre. This talk will take a peek at the spooky world of ghostly beings depicted the current exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum Broadway: Japanese Ghosts and Demons.

The nightly weeping rock at Nissaka – a print by Utagaw Kuniyoshi Copyright: Ashmolean Museum

The talk will be given by the curator of the exhibition, Clare Pollard who is Curator of Japanese Art at The Ashmolean Oxford.

Our shop will be open and there will be a 10% discount to all who attend the talk.

The exhibition: Japanese Ghosts and Demons features a collection of woodblock prints from The Ashmolean Museum. It runs until 20th December.

To book your place at the talk contact the museum –


Telephone: +44 (0)1386 859047.

Tickets cost £10, which includes a drink on arrival.


Japanese Ghosts and Demons Exhibition 14 September – 20 December 2016


From 14 September 2016, the Ashmolean Museum Broadway’s special exhibition from the Ashmolean Museum, will be exploring the bizarre and beguiling world of the Japanese supernatural.

Clare Pollard, Curator of Japanese Art at The Ashmolean Oxford, said:  “This has been one of my very favourite exhibitions to curate. The subjects are so extraordinary and huge fun to work on – who can resist a gruesome ghost or a fearsome demon! I am very much looking forward to seeing it come together in the historic atmosphere of the museum in Broadway, which should provide a really wonderful setting.”

Giant spiders, dancing skeletons, winged goblins and hordes of ghostly warriors are among the spooky subjects depicted in this display of striking nineteenth-century woodblock prints, drawn from the Ashmolean Museum’s rich collection of Japanese art.

The exhibition is timed to coincide with Halloween, although in Japan ghosts are associated with the hot and humid summer months, when scary stories send a welcome shiver down the spine!

Belief in the supernatural is deep-rooted in the folklore of Japan. According to Japan’s native Shinto religion, spirits reside everywhere – in forests, fields, mountains, rivers and in the home.



The arrival of Buddhism during the sixth century AD brought with it a host more supernatural beings, and many Chinese folk tales of spirits and monsters were also absorbed into Japanese tradition.This varied population of ghostly beings has long been represented in Japanese art and literature; depicted in paintings and prints and turned into hair-raising dramas for the kabuki theatre.

The exhibition presents the Japanese supernatural as portrayed in ukiyo-e popular prints – mass-produced woodblock  prints that were a product of the vibrant entertainment culture which thrived in Japan’s major cities during the Edo period (1600-1867).

Characterised by vivid colours and bold designs that made them hugely influential on Western artists in the late 1800s, ukiyo-e most commonly depicted the beautiful courtesans and kabuki actors who were the fashionable celebrities of their day. But print designers also vied with each other to satisfy the public’s appetite for images of the bizarre and the macabre, often drawing inspiration from kabuki Japanese Ghosts and Demons.

Woodblock prints from the Ashmolean Museum presents 16 colourful ukiyo-e prints, including a number of dramatic multiple sheet images that have rarely been on public display before. It focuses on works by the celebrated print designers Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), two of the most prolific and successful artists of their day.

The subjects depicted range from household objects that come to life to animals with supernatural powers, mischievous demons and the vengeful spirits of cruelly-wronged women such as the tragic Oiwa, who suffered an agonizing death after being poisoned by her husband and whose restless spirit returned to torment her murderer.

Liz Eyre, Vice Chairman of the Trustees at Broadway said, ” The trustees are so delighted, once again, to be working in partnership with the Ashmolean in Oxford. This new exhibition is both elegant, intriguing and fascinating.  It is accessible on many levels – wonderful artwork, more learning about Japaneses folkculture and intriguing stories about creatures that have been part of Japan’s mythology for thousands of years.”


Copyright for Images: Ashmolean Museum

‘What our visitors say’

(c) John Cairns
Portrait and documentary photographer, John Cairns, based in Oxford UK.

We are interested to see where our visitors come from and what they think of the exhibition so we invite visitors to leave a comment in our book.  Every so often we dip into the visitors’ book to see what they are saying.

Visitors come from far and wide to Broadway, either on holiday or just popping through en-route to their next destination. Just this month (August 2016) people came to us from Newport, Tenby, Devon, Ledbury, Rickmansworth, Southampton, Winchester, Solihull, and Oxfordshire.  And from further afield visitors flocked to us from Alicante in Spain, Napier in New Zealand, Northern Ireland and Japan.

And what do they think of of our little museum and the treasures we hold here?

It is lovely to see that this month’s visitors call the Ashmolean Museum Broadway a ‘super museum’, and a ‘wonderful use for this historic and lovely building.’ Visitors particularly commented that the museum is ‘very interesting’ and ‘exceptionally well presented’.

F.L.Griggs pic 2And do they like our current exhibition? One couple especially wrote that they ‘enjoyed the excellent Griggs exhibition.’But come and see for yourself – the Griggs exhibition will be here for all to see until 11th September.

And you too could leave a comment in our book.


Calling all children….

Layla and Pryce doing the Children's Trail at Ashmolean Museum Broadway
Layla and Pryce doing the Children’s Trail at Ashmolean Museum Broadway

Are you stuck for something to do in the summer holidays? Is it a rainy day and you fancy getting out of the house?

Why not come along to the Ashmolean Museum Broadway and have a go at the children’s trails.

(parents also welcome)

Our volunteers have created some trails to help children spot the lovely things in the museum, and these two tested one out.  Layla and Pryce had a whale of a time finding all the mystery objects – and you can have a go too*.  You even get a sticker at the end!

The trails are FREE and we have a new trail each week through the summer holidays (included in normal admission price: £10 for a family).

AND if your parents gift-aid their admission the first time you come, they can bring you back each week for FREE. (normal admission fee applies for the first visit).


*Trails are suitable for ages 5 and above (and little siblings can help as long as they don’t run and jump too much)