The Museum of English Rural Life, in any case called the MERL, is a verifiable focus, library and account focused on recording the changing pith of development and the field in England.

It houses relegated groupings of public importance that length the full extent of articles, documents, photographs, film and books.

It is moreover the space of the University of Reading’s special groupings report, dwelling a few assortment of phenomenal books, organizations, typescripts and various objects of importance.

The display lobby is constrained by the University of Reading, and is situated in Redlands Road to the rear of the establishment’s London Road Campus near the point of convergence of Reading in southern England.

The region was recently known as East Thorpe House and a short time later St. Andrews Hall.

Video credit – TheMuseumofEnglishRuralLife

It is an approved chronicled focus and licensed file as seen by Arts Council England and the National Archives.

History Of The Museum

The presentation corridor’s site at first was involved by a house known as East Thorpe, arranged in 1880 by Alfred Waterhouse for Alfred Palmer (of the Reading scone makers Huntley and Palmers).

Palmer was a critical early supporter of Reading University and in 1911 East Thorpe was connected with become St Andrews Hall, a lobby of home for women going to the college.

The chronicled focus itself was set up in 1951, growing out of the school’s long academic relationship with agribusiness. It at first elaborate premises on the University of Reading’s essential Whiteknights Campus, opening to general society in 1955. St Andrews Hall was closed down as a corridor of home in 2001.

The site was then redeveloped for the usage of the historical center, with the cost of £11m being shared by the school, the Heritage Lottery Fund and public cause.

The redeveloped historical center corridor opened in 2005 and holds the first East Thorpe working, with the development of an adjoining new construction.

The two separating structures post to the reestablished gardens, giving a setting to a rural/country assortment in a metropolitan climate.

The Museum went through a period of extra redevelopment from 2013–2016, financed by the Heritage Lott*ery Fund, the Wellcome Trust, and the University of Reading.

The Museum definitively continued on 22 October 2016 with ten new shows, including a presentation focused on Ladybird Books fine art held by the University of Reading Special Collections. In February 2019, a bat was found on the exhibition’s premises.

The presentation lobby named the bat Merlin and gave him a library card.

Hey there! Ever wondered what rural English life was like back in the day? Well, The Museum of English Rural Life (The MERL) in Reading is just the spot to feed your curiosity. It’s not just a museum; it’s a journey back in time!

History and Foundation of The MERL

Back in the 1950s, some smart folks at the University of Reading decided it was crucial to preserve England’s rural past. Fast forward to today, and The MERL is a treasure trove of all things rural, from old farm machinery to gorgeous folk costumes.

Exploring The MERL’s Collections

Imagine walking through a vast collection of cool, old farming gadgets, historic photos, and even some of the fanciest tractors you’ve ever seen. It’s like a farmer’s market, but for history buffs!

Exhibitions at The MERL

There’s always something new and exciting at The MERL. You could explore how farming changes with the seasons or dive into the lives of rural women in history. The exhibitions change regularly, so there’s always a reason to come back.

Educational Programs and Community Engagement

The MERL isn’t just about looking at old stuff—it’s a place to learn and connect. Whether you’re a school kid or a local historian, there are workshops and community projects for everyone to get stuck into the rural way of life.

Visitor Information

Finding The MERL is easy—it’s right near the University of Reading. Just hop on a bus or drive over. They’ve got all the visitor info you’d need online, from opening times to ticket prices.

Architecture and Space

The building itself is pretty cool, mixing old-style architecture with modern design. It’s laid out so you can just flow from one fascinating exhibit to the next—no getting lost unless you want to!

Digital Outreach and Online Collections

Can’t make it to Reading? No worries! The MERL has an awesome online archive and virtual tours that let you visit digitally. It’s perfect for a quick cultural fix from the comfort of your couch.

Events and Workshops

All year round, The MERL hosts fun events and hands-on workshops. Ever wanted to try your hand at traditional crafts or learn about historic farming techniques? This is your chance!

Volunteering and Membership

If you find yourself falling in love with The MERL, why not get more involved? Volunteering or becoming a member can get you behind-the-scenes access and some neat perks like discounts in their shop.

Impact on Local Culture and Tourism

The MERL isn’t just a museum; it’s a part of Reading’s heartbeat, boosting both culture and tourism. It’s a place that locals are proud of and that visitors won’t forget.

Partnerships and Collaborations

They play well with others, too! The MERL collaborates with schools, universities, and even other museums to spread the love for rural history far and wide.

Future Plans for The MERL

The folks at The MERL are always dreaming big. More exhibits, more tech—there’s plenty in the pipeline to make sure The MERL keeps growing and staying fascinating.

Visitor Testimonials and Reviews

Don’t just take my word for it; visitors rave about how much there is to discover at The MERL. It’s a hit with all ages, and who doesn’t love a bit of history?

The Museum of English Rural Life is more than just a museum; it’s an experience that keeps on giving. Whether you’re history-mad, looking for a family day out, or just want to try something new, The MERL in Reading is waiting to be explored. Come see why it’s loved by so many!


  1. What should I definitely not miss at The MERL?
  2. Can I bring my class for a field trip to The MERL?
  3. How accessible is The MERL for wheelchair users?
  4. What are some of the rarest items at The MERL?
  5. How can I contribute to The MERL’s future projects?

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