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“A Little Learing”

Cowper and Newton Museum
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Olney
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Relive Georgian life in the home of the poet William Cowper, where he used to meet his friend, the preacher and former slave trader John Newton, author of the hymn 'Amazing Grace' Find out about the life and works of both men, including their involvement in the campaign to abolish the slave trade. A visit to the Museum also includes the Gardens and Three Hares Art Gallery.
Reviewed 18 October 2012

I lived in the town at the time and wanted to know something about the towns history. Great but smallish museum. Worth a visit if you are in Olney.

1  Thank turveytortie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 August 2012

We carefully made sure this place would be open on 4 June, a Bank Holiday Monday, by checking the museum website, which at the time showed it was indeed open then. It was closed! I later emailed the museum House Manager, who seemed to think that we should have checked Facebook or Twitter for updates: what? (In fact I checked after her email, and there was no such update on the museum's Facebook page. And I also noticed that the original website entry had been very swiftly deleted.) After all that inconvenience, I wasn't even offered complimentary tickets for next time. But there certainly won't be a next time.

The parish church, by the way, has a number of Cowper/Newton related things, and we highly recommend this.

3  Thank tonyshaw14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2012

A hidden treasure and a must visit. Here is heritage that you may be uncomfortable with, regarding man's inhumanity to man !

Thank Mike H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2012

I'm ashamed to admit that I have lived within 10 miles of the Cowper & Newton Museum for 20 years without visiting. But having finally discovered it, I've been back three or more times since (which doesn't cost any more as the £4.50 admission buys an annual pass).
For me the main attraction was the Museum's very direct connection with the abolition of slavery. John Newton was the parish priest in Olney and his life story is told at the Museum, primarily in a very moving gallery dedicated to abolition. And then there is the connection with Amazing Grace, which Newton wrote with his friend William Cowper, as part of the Olney Hymns, and which has been adopted worldwide as an anthem of freedom and justice. It was fascinating to see just how many times the hymn has been recorded and by who.
I gather it is those historic links with abolition and Amazing Grace that bring in the majority of visitors, but the real bonus for me was learning about William Cowper - a name I'd heard but really knew nothing about. Yet in his time he was one of the favourite writers of literary luminaries such as Jane Austen and William Wordsworth. The Museum makes it clear why: Cowper was a wonderful observer of the world, a brilliant letter writer and diarist whose work offers a real window on the 18th century. And the Museum is full of his writing and objects that bring those Georgian times to life. I was genuinely enchanted not only by the Museum, but by the dedication of the volunteers who set up the Museum 100 years ago and continue to keep it going.
They deserve our support, just as Cowper and Newton deserve a little more attention than history has allowed them. I know I shall be back again, and recommend the Museum as a memorable part of a visit to Olney's antique, gift and coffee shops. The perfect day out actually!

2  Thank Jane M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2015 via mobile
Google Translation

Thank Steven V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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