Buckingham Museum | Buckingham Tourist Information Centre | Find Us

Buckingham Old Gaol Logo

Buckingham Old Gaol Museum
Home of Flora Thompson

  • The Flora Thompson room is included as part of the Buckingham Old Gaol Museum entry ticket price. See the museum page for more details.

    Flora Thompson

    Flora ThompsonFlora Thompson, the writer of the semi-autobiographical trilogy, 'Lark Rise to Candleford', died in Brixham, Devon, aged 70, in May 1947. Although the book for which she is best remembered, her evocation of life as a child growing up in the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire countryside in the late nineteenth century, was written and published only in the last ten years of her life, she wrote prodigiously for most of her adult life and published many hundreds of stories, articles and poems.

    She has risen in popularity with the dramatisation of her characters in the BBC 1 adaptation of Lark Rise to Candleford with an all-star cast, including Dawn French, Olivia Hallinan, Julia Sawalha, Brendan Coyle and Liz Smith, which is soon to start its fourth series.

    In the book she chronicles the daily lives of farm workers and craftsmen, friends and relations alike and is a precise and enduring portrayal of country life long since vanished. She used real life villages and communities as her inspiration and freely admitted that 'Candleford' was based on Buckingham, Brackley and Banbury and, of course, 'Lark Rise' and 'Fordlow' are Juniper Hill and Cottisford. She clearly enjoyed her numerous trips to Buckingham visiting her father's relatives, the Timms family, who have been continuously associated with the town for hundreds of years.

    Flora Thompson at Buckingham Old Gaol Museum

    It is fitting, therefore, that the Buckingham Old Gaol Museum should curate an exhibition of her life and works. The exhibition, which the Museum Development Service called, 'of national importance', was formally opened in 2007 to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of her death. The exhibition, which is the only permanent, viewable exhibition of Flora Thompson memorabilia in the world, comprises photographs, pamphlets, early and first edition books, letters written by Flora, together with a number of personal items.

    Flora Thompson Collection at Buckingham Old GaolThe display features two life-sized display dioramas, one showing Flora at home in Dartmouth, in her office, in front of her typewriter and books, where she wrote most of her best known works whilst the other portrays a scene from her early life as a child in the poor rural hamlet of Juniper Hill (the 'Lark Rise' of the book) illustrating, with agricultural artefacts and model animals, what life was like for a poor country family in Oxfordshire in the late eighteen hundreds, with particular emphasis on accessibility to the artefacts, and 'touchability', especially for children.

    Also on display is an extremely fine collection of books (including audio books, music, records, magazines, plays, articles, etc.) and other ephemera by, about and connected with Flora from the 1920s to present day, comprising to date of over one hundred and eighty items, which is acknowledged to be the largest collection of Flora Thompson memorabilia on permanent display in the world.

    Contact us

    The museum would be very pleased to hear from anyone who has any 'Flora Thompson' or associated items they would be willing to add to this collection, especially if they are connected with Buckingham. See our visit us page for details.

    Additional Flora Thompson resources can be found here.

    A selection of Flora Thompson related titles

    Lark Rise to Candleford Books

    Flora Thompson/Larkrise to Candeleford BBC DVDs

    © 2013 Buckingham Old Gaol Trust - registered charity no. 292807
    BuckinghamOldGaol.org.uk | BuckinghamTourism.org.uk | BuckinghamMuseum.org.uk

    Website edited by whytedesign.co.uk