Beck Isle Museum is an independent charity, staffed mainly by volunteers which collects, preserves and exhibits items of local historical interest to inspire, educate and entertain visitors.
The Museum is housed in a grade II* listed building. It was inherited by William Marshall, a leading agriculturalist, from his brother John in 1816. William set about converting the building with the intention of creating England’s first agricultural college, but he died in 1818 before its completion.
The building then passed to his sister Elizabeth Wells, after whom the nearby Wells Walk is named, and became a home for Elizabeth and her husband, William.
For the remainder of the 19th century the building became the residence for a number of practising doctors; this continued into the 20th century with the last being Doctor Murphy MC who lived and worked in the building between 1916 and 1966.
The History of the Museum
In 1967 a group of local people interested in preserving the history of Pickering decided to set up a small museum and art gallery. The ground floor of the house previously belonging to Dr Murphy was transferred into a Museum and Arts Centre.
The museum proved popular and quickly gained support and charitable statues, enabling the purchase of the whole Beck Isle Museum building which, in turn, enabled the collection to grow further.
Over the last 50 years, the museum has continued to grow in popularity and size with the help of an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team of local volunteers. The collection now numbers some 50 thousand objects and catalogues Pickering’s rich history as a rural market town.