The Axminster Heritage Centre - More than just a museum…
Temporary CV19 measures have been introduced to ensure the safety of visitors and staff. Guests can visit us safe in the knowledge we are diligently following the Government and museum sector recommendations. To help you enjoy your experience, trained staff and clear signage will guide you through the exhibition which has been designed for all the family.
So, take a trip through time to learn what has made Axminster and the surrounding area what it is today. To complement our permanent exhibition we also present and host temporary exhibitions. Details are on our website.
Explore Axminster, its origins in the Bronze and Stone Ages, then as a crossroads on the Roman Fosse Way. Learn about the abbey built at Newenham by the Cistercian monks after they were given the Manor of Axminster in 1246. Discover how Axminster became a busy agricultural market town developing a strong rural economy over many years.
World famous Axminster carpets… Thomas Whitty started making carpets here in 1755, whilst William Harry Dutfield established his modern factory in 1937.
See a beautiful 1769 Whitty carpet. Compare our original 18th century loom used by Whitty with a 1930s Crabtree loom used in the Axminster Carpets factory. We occasionally run the Crabtree loom which is fully working.
The town has attracted all sorts of craftsmen and women, a foundry, two brush factories, both famous for their toothbrushes. A series of precision engineering companies have flourished and examples of some of their innovative products are on display.
All this is housed in a factory built by the Whitty family, which subsequently served the town as a court-house and a hospital. At the rear is a courtyard with the Dye House and garden with plants that would have been used for dying the wool in Thomas Whitty’s day.
Upstairs is the Bradshaw Meeting Room. This community space is available for hire.