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Hollytrees Museum, Colchester

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Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
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Hollytrees Museum is a free to visit, publicly owned museum in the centre of Colchester and close to Colchester Castle. It is situated in an eighteenth-century house ("Hollytrees"), which was used as a private residence until 1929, when it became a museum.
The first house on the site, known as "Symnells" after its owner, was later bought by the Shaw family, and passed from John Shaw to John Shaw III and John Shaw IV. When he died a minor, the house passed into chancery; his mother Jane Lessingham bought it but soon died. The modern house was constructed in for Elizabeth Cornelisen, who had bought the site from Lessingham's executors and promptly tore down the existing structure in poor condition. Construction commenced on 10 May 1718 at a cost of £630 plus brickwork and tiling; the total refurbishment was estimated to have cost £2,000. She died soon after, bequeathing the house to her niece, Sarah Creffeild (née Webster), who left it to her second husband Charles Gray. It was, at that time, known as "Esqr Creffield's [sic]". Possession of the house reverted to the Creffeilds; through Thamer Creffeild to James Round, who left to his brother Charles, who left it to his son Charles Gray Round, who left to it to his nephew James Round. The Rounds finally sold it to the Corporation of Colchester in 1922, a purchase paid for privately by Viscount Cowdray and his wife. It became a museum in 1929.
The house is known as Hollytrees after two holly trees planted in the grounds by Charles Gray in 1729 and is now a free to visit museum serving the centre of Colchester and specialising in local history. It is a grade I listed building.
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Hollytrees Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
207 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Interesting museum that was recommended to me. Somewhere to pass some time and free entry. Lots of interesting things to see that span the different ages. 
    Interesting museum that was recommended to me. Somewhere to pass some time and free entry. Lots of interesting things to see that span the different ages.  more »
  • Was really excited to visit this museum due to the old toys and games we knew it contained. We arrived at the entrance as a man was coming out to it who actually looked at us like we were doing... 
    Was really excited to visit this museum due to the old toys and games we knew it contained. We arrived at the entrance as a man was coming out to it who actually looked at us like we were doing...  more »
Google
  • A compact social history museum featuring everything from vintage vacuum cleaners to dolls houses, art, and royal memorabilia. Should you be in the postbox spotting game, Hollytrees boasts a particularly fine early Victorian example. There's also a wide selection of clocks and a small gift shop with the usual souvenirs, along with some Roman themed items.
  • Really nice family friendly free museum. Lots of top quality items from the past to marvel at. Many of them are domestic appliances, but there are toys. The house was once a grand house owned by the MP for Colchester , Charles Grey (not the Prime Minister) in the 1700's. There is information about demostic Servants and the History of the House. Very interesting 👌

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