What we do

This map of 1908 shows the area covered by The Friends of Berwick & District Museum and Archives

The Friends of Berwick and District Museum and Archives was set up as a charitable society in 1994 to promote and support the work and services of the Museum & Art Gallery and of the Record Office.


Our principal aims are:

  • to preserve the Archives relating to the Town of Berwick-upon-Tweed and the whole of north Northumberland and to maintain their accessibility for historical, family and personal research;
  • to encourage the use of the Berwick-upon-Tweed Museum & Art Gallery and to stimulate the appreciation and understanding of its artefacts,
  • to engage in and to co-ordinate voluntary assistance for the Archives and Museum & Art Gallery services;  to publicise and to advertise their educational activities;  to raise funds for specific projects.

The Constitution of the Friends can be viewed by clicking here  (PDF file).




Special projects in which the Friends have been involved include:


Union of the Crowns


The 400th anniversary of the accession to the English throne of James VI of Scotland was celebrated in a year-long festival in Berwick in 2003/2004.  The Friends led a partnership comprising various local groups and organisations, supported by Berwick Borough Council and English Heritage, to create a programme of activities and events focusing on the themes of the Union of the Crowns, the bridging of the Border, the ending of centuries of Anglo-Scottish conflict, and the granting of the Borough Charter by King James.  As well as exhibitions and talks, there were pageants, processions and re-enactments, and educational events involving local schools.  A booklet was published to record the project’s achievements.


The Ports of Berwick


A Millennium project was undertaken as part of the Tomorrow’s History programme in the north-east to produce a leaflet  describing  the past present and future of the ten venues from St Abbs to Alnmouth, which come under the umbrella of the registration port of Berwick. An interesting set of photographs and information was also gathered, and the exercise brought together many groups and individuals who hold dear the past of North Northumberland.


BRO 30 (Berwick Record Office’s 30th anniversary)


A special boost to local history studies was given by a twelve-month programme of talks and exhibitions which was organised in 2010/2011 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Berwick Record Office.  These encompassed talks on genealogy and on whaling, workshops on the dating of old photographs and on computer-based research, and filmshows of some of the archival film showing Berwick and the Borders in years past. It also produced a permanent digital exhibition of highlights in the collections of the Museum and the Record Office:  A History of Berwick in Ten Subjects.






The Friends aim to present two lectures each year, one in the autumn, and the other coinciding with the Annual General Meeting in the spring.  Recently these have ranged over a wide variety of topics including:

  • The 18th century costumes at Paxton House;
  • The Alnwick Castle archives;
  • The 19th century Poor Law;
  • The contents of the 16th century Berwick Roll (which was acquired for the Record Office in 2008 with the assistance of fundraising by the Friends).



There are many other ongoing activities undertaken by Volunteers.





A Newsletter is distributed to Friends four times a year.