The Regal Room

Rayleigh, its People, Places and Heritage

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Local History Group 'Rayleigh Through the Looking Glass' have over time acquired a significant
number of Rayleigh related artefacts, such as postcards, maps, books, ephemera and much more.
These have been displayed at a number of regular exhibitions held in the town but they now have
a permanent home for all to see, enjoy, and learn about our Town’s history.


From Saturday 22nd January our exciting new exhibition begins.
Featuring a selection of photos from the Echo archive showing Rayleigh in 1971.
Share your memories of the time and revisit the past.

Echo Exhibition

East of England Tourism Awards

We are delighted to advise that the Rayleigh Town Museum has been chosen as one of the three finalists in the "Small visitor attraction of the year 2021" by VISIT East of England Tourism.
The other winners in our category are to be announced shortly.
There is an awards evening on the 24th February when we will find out whether we have won Bronze/Silver or Gold. Fingers crossed.
This is a wonderful achievement and is due to the hard work and dedication of all our volunteers. Well done and thanks to everyone.
Further details will be advised in due course.

Heritage notice board

Heritage Notice Boards

Next time you are visiting the High Street why not take a look at the 2 Heritage Notice boards; one outside the WORKS and one by the Millennium clock at Mann's corner).

These are regularly changed and show pictures of Bygone Rayleigh.

If there is a theme you would like to see displayed (Rayleigh Schools/clubs) just let us know and we can arrange.

The photos are normally changed every month so always an idea to have a look.

Heritage notice board
Heritage notice board

The wearing of masks / visors in the Museum will remain in place unless exempt.


Why not pop in and have a look in our Bow Window to find out about Christmas Customs.

Bow Window

Book Sale


Below is our latest acquistion, A laundry box from The Golden Lion Laundry.

Golden Lion Laundry Box

And here is a picture of the Laundry.

Golden Lion Laundry

We are looking to undertake some research into the  Rayleigh “Toc H” group, whose headquarters prior to WW2 were situated on Crown Hill.

This photo which dates to 1928 shows a group fundraising in Rayleigh High Street outside Woods the butchers, which is now Costa Coffee.

We think that the gentleman on the cart with the funny nose  may be Ernie lanes father, Joseph Charles Lane.

Do you have any information on the Rayleigh branch of Toc H? if so we would love to hear from you. Toc H High Street

We're Good To Go

Good To Go logo

The Museum is proud to have acquired the Visit England 'We're Good to Go' Industry Standard mark which reflects that we have followed government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, have a Risk Assessment in place and a process to maintain cleanliness and maintain social distancing.



Object of the Week

Warmen Courageous book

Trevor Cocks in uniform

The picture above is Trevor Cocks from the Hertfordshire Home Guard Living History Group who has been to the museum on a number of occasions, teaching us about the Home Guard.

Home Guard

We have a significant display and archive of the Rayleigh Home Guard from World War Two.

Most important is the definitive book on the history of the Home Guard in Essex entitled Warmen Courageous with a chapter on Rayleigh including many photos of the Rayleigh men who served. Also, on display in the Museum is a discharged shell case, dated 1942, from a Spitfire fighter aircraft, believed to have been fired in anger whilst flying over Castle Road, with the shell case later dug up in a back garden.

During World War 2, Rayleigh had its own Home Guard unit formed from the original LDV (Local Defence Volunteers) and their official name was “C” Company of the 1st Essex Battalion Home Guard. Command was initially under Major W.T. Wormington, a retired regular army officer who soon stood down, on account of his age, to be replaced by Major R.G. Garrod.

As part of the usual Home Guard duties, they would spend hours training, taking courses and entering competitions in rifle and pistol shooting.The Rayleigh Battalion was very successful and won a number of trophies, such as the Mapleson Cup. Many men gained an interest in shooting and after the war formed a “Rifle and Pistol” club, which continues to this day.

Spitfire Bullet


How do you spell Rayleigh? This is the Raley page from our copy of Morants History of Essex, which is regarded by many as the first definitive history of Essex. It was originally published in 1768, our edition is dated 1816.

Morants History of Essex

Another wonderful picture from the museum archives. What was Crown Lane, now Crown Hill. Taken from the mount, you can see the Dutch Cottage. I believe the footpath in this Google Streetview picture is the one to the right of the cottages which were known as Sweeps Row.

Crown Lane, Dutch Cottage and Sweeps Row

Here is a picture of Stock Car Racing at Rayleigh Stadium in May 1969.

Stock car racing

Can You Help?

Our picture today, Friday 3rd April 2020.
Whilst we know where some of our pictures have been taken, many contain locations and people that we need help identifying.
If you can identify anywhere or anyone in any of the pictures, please send us a message.
Today's photo is of Rayleigh Secondary School Football Team from 1938-39, (now FitzWimarc). We have a few of the names of the boys but most are unidentified.
If you can help, please send us a message with any names, making sure to include the number on the person in the photo.

Rayleigh Secondary School Football Team from 1938-39

We thought we would share some recently acquired pictures from our collection.
Whilst we know where some are taken, many contain locations and people that we need help identifying.
If you can identify anywhere or anyone in any of the pictures, please send us a message.

Today's photo is of The Crown pub and Lloyd's Bank, but where the Star Cafe is now located is a shop called Thomas Lebon and Sons, does anyone know what this shop sold and how long it was there for?"

Entry is Free

Tourist information sign

We are a Tourist Information Point
with local walk leaflets available as well.

heart shape

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We have a new range of merchandise, come in and take look. More pictures soon.
Spitfire merchandise

A selection of Wooden Toys
Wooden Toys



This is the result of a community coming together.

We are proud to have played a small part in this installation at Holy Trinity Church. Many thanks to those who spent hours knitting or crocheting the Poppies. Well done Rayleigh Town Council, Nicola and the team at Holy Trinity. What a fantastic community effort to remember the citizens of Rayleigh killed while serving their country.




Let us know what you think of your visit

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See some comments here What You Think

Two new unique postcards of Rayleigh Town & Rayleigh Town Museum
50p each

Pictures of Rayleigh Pictures of Rayleigh Town Museum

deeds documents

Please check back here regularly for updates on our progress and information on fundraising events.

For more information or feel you can help us in any way please contact Mike Davies

Join the Friends of Rayleigh Town Museum

Heritage Lottery Fund Logo

picture of rayleigh high street picture of dutch cottage and crown hill

Rayleigh Town Museum, 1st floor, 91, High Street, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 7EJ
Opening Hours: 10am to 4pm, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Museum Telephone 01268 773535 (answerphone when we are not open)

Charitable Incorporated Organisation 1159405