Kelham Hall to Host Museum To Commemorate American Oil Riggers’ Contribution to Britain Winning World War II.March 29, 2017 2:47 pm
Kelham Hall, near Newark is regarded by many as Nottinghamshire’s last undiscovered stately home. Designed by world-renowned architect George Gilbert Scott it was built in the Gothic Style.
Once the home of the monks of the Sacred Mission, the country house has an interesting past enduring fires, wars and extensive remodelling. Originally commissioned as a private house by the Manners-Sutton Family and latterly the headquarters of Newark & Sherwood District Council it is being restored and developed by local entrepreneur Jonathan Pass.
Fascinated by local history and engineering, Jonathan discovered that during World War II 43 American oil riggers were billeted in the Hall with a mission to develop the rich oil deposits in Sherwood Forest. War-torn Britain’s imported oil reserves were running low and something urgently needed to be done.
Intrigued by the American story of ‘derring-do’, secret meetings with Winston Churchill and hidden oil fields, Jonathan arranged to meet Kevin Topham – curator and co-founder of Dukes Wood Oil Museum, only to find that they were looking for a new home for the museum.
Jonathan offered to host the museum at Kelham Hall and again open it up to the public. Kevin and the Trustees were delighted to accept and a dedicated area of the Hall has been assigned to the museum.
The contents have gradually moved across and the exhibits have been joined by the eponymous ‘Nodding Donkey’ which has been fully restored.
In addition it is hoped that a seven foot bronze statue of the ‘Oil Patch Warrior’ created to celebrate the oil riggers will be relocated from Rufford Abbey to join the rest of the collection at Kelham Hall and Gardens.
The Dukes Wood Oil collection includes a wealth of materials - film, photography, models and other ephemera.
An old pound note signed by the 43 members of American drilling team has recently been discovered and is being presented to the museum on the 4th April at 11am to mark the opening.