CHAMPAGNE glasses were raised at the weekend to toast a landmark anniversary for Marlow Museum.

The volunteer-run museum has overcome the threat of closure to reach the five-year mark, with Marlow Mayor Suzanne Brown cutting the birthday cake at the Higginson Park centre.

She joined volunteers and friends in drinking a toast to the future of the museum, staying for an hour peruse the museum’s exhibtion and chat to visitors enjoying the free cakes and drinks.

Secretary Della Fitzgerald said: "It is just the start really. We would like to build it up in future and move to a larger building but you have to start somewhere.

"At first we were at risk of closing but we feel more secure now and we’ve reached the five year mark and hopefully we can keep going until the next five and the five after that!"

History enthusiasts, including influential chairman Mike Hyde, tried for 15 years to establish a museum in Marlow before finally securing the premises and opening in 2009.

Marlow Town Council gives a grant each year towards operating costs, but the bulk of the costs, including rent to Wycombe District Council, are raised by volunteers.

Dspite funding fears while the group found their feet, the museum has balanced its books and continues to build on its successful exhibits.

Its Higginson Park home holds artefacts including the old town stocks, General Higginson’s drum and relics of Marlow’s old brewing and lace making trades.

In the long term, volunteers hope to display much grander objects such as an old Marlow fire engine.

The current exhibition delves into the history of many of the famous people who have lived in Marlow over the years.

Notable Marlovians include those commemorated by blue plaques on the town’s buildings, including poets Percy-Bysshe Shelley and TS Eliot and jazz legend Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson.

The museum also holds an annual photography competition for young people aged between four and 19.

Entries for ‘Memories of Marlow’, the current competition, close tomorrow. For more information contact or visit

Summer opening times are weekends and bank holidays from 1pm until 5pm