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A Katy tree for Clara’s Cottage

Visitors to the Weston Museum will be reminded of Somerset’s longstanding apple heritage thanks to a young Katy apple tree donated by The Thatchers Foundation.

The Katy apple tree, which will produce beautiful red, rosy eating apples, has been placed in the yard of Clara’s Cottage – a fully furnished Edwardian terraced house that is one of the Museum’s favourite exhibits.

The Weston Museum, located in Burlington Street, just off the aptly named Orchard Street, attracts well over 30,000 visitors a year. It re-opened its doors in 2017 after a two-year refurbishment, thanks to Weston-Super-Mare Town Council, a Heritage Lottery grant, and the very hard work of the Friends of Weston Museum.

The Museum has had the Grade II listed Victoria industrial building as its home for 40 years, and the recent redevelopment has opened up much of the building’s architectural heritage. The ever-popular Clara’s Cottage joins three gallery areas, that move through chronological order from the distant past right up to present day.

“Before the industrial buildings came to Burlington Street, this area used to be farm land and orchards,” says Heather Morrisey, Chair of the Friends of Weston Museum. “It seemed entirely appropriate therefore to have an apple tree in the garden of Clara’s Cottage – and whilst the yard is unfortunately not big enough to replant an orchard, we’re very appreciative to the Thatchers Foundation for the donation of a potted apple tree for our visitors to enjoy.

“As the tree grows, it will be fascinating and educational for our many school visits to follow the lifecycle of the apples – from the dormant period in winter, through the blossom and harvest in the autumn. We’re hoping to organise our own Wassail in winter to bring the Somerset tradition to life.

“We’d like to say a big Waes-Hael to the Thatchers Foundation for giving us the Katy tree which we will treasure.”

Chris Muntz-Torres, our Orchard Manager, and Tom Farron, one of our apprentice at Thatchers, both visited the Weston Museum to present the Katy tree to the Friends of the Museum.

“It’s a real pleasure to bring a touch of the orchard to Weston Museum with this young Katy tree,” says Chris. “Visitors to the Museum will be able to observe the lifecycle of the tree as the seasons change – from blossom through to harvest. It’s amazing to think that Clara was living in this cottage a century ago – about the same time that William Thatcher was starting to make cider at Myrtle Farm in Sandford.

“We’re really pleased to help the Friends of Weston Museum continue to bring this fantastic resource to life and showcase Somerset’s rich heritage.”

For more information about the Foundation, or if you’d like to make a request for a grant, please visit:

www.thatcherscider.co.uk/thatchers-charitable-foundation/

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