Milestones Museum of Living History is a museum located on the Leisure Park in Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK. It is beside Churchill Way Road, the same road that goes along Festival Place. Milestones is made up of a network of streets that have been recreated according to those found in Victorian and 1930s Hampshire. The current exhibition is the 'Mystery of the Vanishing Queen' - It's 1897 and the Victorian Citizens of Milestones are dressing up as kings and queens of the past for a Royal Pageant. Guest of honour Queen Victoria hasn't been seen for many months and there are rumours she has been kidnapped.... Can you follow the clues in the secret agent's diary and quiz the citizens to solve the mystery and save the Queen?
The visitor can explore what life was like for Hampshire people in the past by wandering through Milestones’ old cobbled streets. And as you wander round you may also encounter some of their costumed characters… Enthusiasts will enjoy the collection of beautifully restored vintage vehicles - and so will kids of all ages! If you prefer shopping you’ll be able to discover what shops used to be like before chain stores took over. You’ll probably recognise some of the things they sold, while others might leave you scratching your head about what they were actually for. Head to the Penny Arcade on Milestones’ Pier for some seaside fun of yesteryear! The kids will enjoy playing on all the old games machines including mechanical puppet shows, Test Your Strength, Grand National, table football and many more. There’s even a fortune telling machine - you’ll laugh when you find out what’s in store for you. The machines take old 1d penny coins so buy some from the change machines in the arcade and join in the fun.
Buy an old penny and ration coupon at Reception and spend it in the 1940’s sweet shop to buy your own sweet ration. In 1942 when sweet rationing was introduced people were only allowed 2oz (approx 56g) of sweets each, every week. Amongst their favourites were pear drops and sherbert lemons. What will you choose to spend your precious ration coupon on? The Thornycroft gallery at Milestones Museum has been updated in 2015 and is now fully open to include new interpretative displays, artefacts and a different layout of the vehicles. The Thornycroft Steam Wagon Company Ltd were based in Chiswick but demand for their steam lorries and vans eventually led them in 1898 to build a huge new factory in Basingstoke, which also produced quality cars between 1903–1912. In its heyday the Basingstoke factory employed many thousands of people. See some of the vehicles they built, on display in a building that also houses fascinating machinery from the original works.
From Victorian trams, lorries and a Romany caravan to classic motorbikes and vehicles from the 1930’s and 40’s come and admire the beautifully restored vehicles. Agricultural machinery was also increasingly important in rural Hampshire from the 1800’s and the gleaming steam engines and agricultural machinery help tell the story of Taskers, the Anna Valley based manufacturer. The Baverstock Arms, their small traditional pub in Jubilee Street, has a very friendly atmosphere and opens at lunchtimes to serve teas, coffees, soft drinks and Gales ales. They occasionally even have a pianist tinkling the ivories. The pub is named after Alton-born James Baverstock who was one of the first to use science to help improve the quality of ale – we salute him!
For many people Collections Corner is their favourite part of Milestones – collections of all those things we had around the house in the past from toys to vacuum cleaners, food mixers to radios, hairdryers to cameras and much, much more. See how long it is before you hear yourself say “we had one of those!” The room sets from different decades will get you reminiscing about how we used to live and the everyday things we used "in the old days". See how long it is before you start discussing whether ordinary homes really did have dishwashers in the 60’s or whatever happened to… And try sharing your memories with the younger generation and watch their amusement – or disbelief! Vintage fans and designers will get lots of inspiration here too – some things still seem very cool.
Under 5’s can run their very own Post Office – with a till, scales for weighing letters, sorting trays, an adjustable clock and a world globe to show where the letters are going. And if that’s not enough they can enjoy playing Postman Pat, climbing inside the big parcel or pretending to drive the Post Office van! The Post Office is available for play during museum opening hours but space is limited so, to prevent it from becoming too crowded, admission is on a "first come, first served" basis. Just ask for a key at the audio guide desk. Don’t just look at the exhibits – dress up and join in! Explore their dressing up tent and deck yourself up as a Victorian. As a previous visitor said “it’s like being on a film set!” And don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the results. Discover the authentic ticket office and a miniature railway based on the GWR Chesil Station in Winchester. In 1885 the GWR opened the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton line (DNSR) which initially terminated at Winchester Cheesehill (later Chesil) Station, until the line was extended to link with the Southern Railway line to Southampton. It closed in 1966. The Woolmer steam locomotive which is displayed opposite was originally built for the Longmoor Military Railway in 1910 and is on loan from the National Railway Museum.
Milestones is built on three levels with cobbled floor and tramlines in the Victorian/Edwardian part of the Museum. Therefore some difficulty may be experienced by wheelchair users in this area. The 1930s area is flat though some areas of the flooring are textured. Both of these areas have pavements with dropped kerbs. There are two lifts available, one either side of the main stairs down to the museum. The museum arena is on floor -2. Wheelchairs and motorised scooters can be hired for use during your visit; this is free but subject to availability and should be booked in advance. Audioguides are available on the floor below the entrance level (Level -2 in the lift); they are hand-held devices that give audio commentary on the exhibits. The audioguides have a wide-ranging volume control but, if required, they do have headphones that plug into the audioguides to make them easier to hear. For visitors with hearing aids,they have a portable induction loop, worn around the neck to improve access to the audioguides. Written transcripts of the audioguides are also available on request and all audiovisual presentations in the museum have subtitles. Assistance dogs are welcome in the museum.
In the main museum arena, there is an assortment of Edwardian shops, factories and houses that visitors can view or enter. If you are using a mobility scooter, some of these areas may not be easy to access fully as they are limited in space, for example the Woodworking tools gallery, the fire station, the back yard and the sweet shop. Toilets and accessible toilets can be found on the entrance level (Level 0 in the lift) and the museum floor level (Level -2 in the lift). The accessible toilet is not for the sole use of disabled people, it is 8 metres from the lift. The toilet door opens outwards and the door is locked by a twist lock. There is also an accessible changing place and toilet available on the entrance level floor (Level 0) for those with disability needs. This changing place and toilet is not for the sole purpose of disabled visitors, it can also be used as a baby changing facility. The toilet door opens inwards and the door is locked with a twist lock. Carers are admitted Free.
Location : Milestones Museum, Leisure Park, Churchill Way West, Basingstoke RG22 6PG
Transport : Basingstoke (National Rail) then bus (Shuttle). Bus Routes : Stagecoach Centre Shuttle (CS) stops outside
Opening Times : Tuesday to Friday, Bank Holidays and 24th October 10:00 to 16:45; Saturday, Sunday 11:00 to 16:45
Tickets : Adults £10.00; Concessions £9.00; Children (5 - 15) £6.30
Tel. : 01256 477766