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University Museum gets £50,000 Heritage Lottery win – University of Reading

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University Museum gets £50,000 Heritage Lottery win

Release Date 21 September 2006

The University of Reading's Museum of English Rural Life has been given a cash boost by the Heritage Lottery Fund. At a presentation yesterday (September 20 2006) at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) in London Road, Reading, MERL was awarded £50,000, which will be ploughed into a partnership with the Road Locomotive Society (RLS), a charitable trust. Both are currently guardians of a treasure trove of archive materials about steam and agricultural machinery manufacturers dating back through the centuries. Thanks to £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, MERL and RLS will work in partnership to bring their collections together, creating an online archive and a whole raft of opportunities for people to explore this part of Britain's rural history. A travelling exhibition will also be used at steam fairs and country shows. Examples include the inventions of Charles Burrell, who in the 1850s worked with James Boydell on developing self-moving steam engines. Their designs used the 'endless railway' system' for better handling of road surfaces but the engines proved to be unpopular so Burrell turned his attention to the very successful wheeled traction engines. The Heritage Lottery Fund supported the relocation of the museum back in 2001 with a grant of over £5million. The Museum of English Rural Life was founded by the University of Reading in 1951 tell the story of the changing face of farming and the countryside. The advent of steam and agricultural machinery played a key role in the changes. Further information For further information on MERL, contact Lucy Ferguson, Senior Press Officer, on 0118 378 7388, or email For more information on the Heritage Lottery Fund, please contact Sam Goody, HLF Press Office on tel: 020 7591 6033 mobile: 07973 613820

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