Welcome to Winkies Castle: A memorial to cobbler Jack

Published: 25th Jul 2005

Please note this is an archived Press Release

REDCAR & Cleveland Borough Council proudly opens the region’s newest museum, Winkies Castle, a tiny cottage on Marske High Street on Yorkshire Day, Monday, August 1.

The opening ceremony completes over two years work in restoring the home of the late Jack Anderson, the local cobbler who bequeathed the cottage – and over 6,000 artefacts – to the Council.

The creation of a community folk museum could not have been achieved without the community’s help, galvanised by the Friends of Winkies Castle, whose membership now totals more than 200, including family groups.

Jack’s nephew Ian, the Friends’ president, will open the museum, restored to include four interpretative rooms, a pantry, a 19th century netty and a wash-house, thanks to funding from a variety of sources.

Ian said: “I’m sure Jack would be thrilled at what’s been achieved – and amazed, too! I’m just so pleased at how the community have warmed to this project. They’ve been fantastic.”

The Council’s Museums curator, Alan Pearce, who has co-ordinated the project, said: “We have created something very special, but it’s been incredibly hard work and very time-consuming.

“The Friends have been magnificent supporters and given so many hours of help. At a rough estimate, we spent an incredible 4,500 hours sorting and cataloguing, then there’s been the work on the cottage itself. It’s really been a terrific team effort.”

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, Councillor Dave Fitzpatrick said: “When the cottage was bequeathed to the Council, we all felt we were taking on a massive project – and even now, it’s hard to believe what we’ve achieved.

“We’ve got a new museum for the Borough, a fascinating look back to our past and we do believe it will act as a fitting memorial to Jack.”

The Museum will be open throughout the week of August 1, then every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10.30am-4pm until September 25.

An annual £10 family Friends membership gives free entry or admission is £1.50 adults, 75p children.

If you would like to be a volunteer or want to book in a school or community group, call membership secretary Gordon Fisher on (01642) 489489.

* Intrigue still surrounds how the cottage got its name. The most popular theory is that the cottage was named after Jack’s cat and the Friends of Winkies Castle have adopted a black cat silhouette as their logo.

But older memories insist the cottage has been known as Winkies Castle for over 100 years – and when Jack and his cat moved in, the cat was also named Winkie.

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