Horse powerThe origins of the Agricultural Museum at Brook lie in a collection of old Kentish agricultural implements begun in 1931 by N.P.Bagenal of the then East Malling Research Station and G.H.Garrad, Agricultural Organiser for the Kent Education Committee. Both of these had been on the staff of the then South Eastern Agricultural College at Wye, which later became Wye College (University of London).

The collection was initially housed in the Old Tithe Barn, Maidstone and was later transferred to East Malling for safe keeping during world War II. In 1948 the County Council accepted an offer from Wye College to take over the collection and house a museum.  Student members of the College Archaeological Society under the direction of a member of staff took responsibility for the transfer, setting out and labelling of the collection. A driving force at the time was Michael Nightingale, a student with a deep interest in the subject and who became in later years well known in Kent for his passionate defence of the rural environment and everything associated with it.

Initially housed at Coldharbour Farm on the College estate the collection increased rapidly and when the College purchased Court Lodge Farm, Brook in 1957 the magnificent 14th century Manorial Barn there became available for housing the museum.

Under the dedicated curatorship of Frank Thompson and later Bob Farrar, both members of the College staff, the collection grew and became well known to students of agricultural history in the south east.

In 1996 the College realised that it could no longer support the Museum in the way necessary for it to survive and develop and after discussions with interested individuals a charitable Trust, The Wye Rural Museum Trust, was formed under the direction of the same Michael Nightingale who had been so active in the origins of the project in the 1940s. Funds were raised from the Heritage Lottery Fund and from many corporate and individual donors and in the spring of 1997 the Trust bought the Barn and associated buildings from the College and the College gave the collections to the Trust. The Trust thus became  responsible for the  the future funding and running of the museum.

Michael Nightingale died in 1998, knowing that by then the Trust was well on the way with its program of restoration and development of the Museum, the long-term future of which was secure.  

Contact icon - telephone    Contact


For group bookings or general enquiries, please contact:


The Hon. Curator, Brian Wimsett

01304 824969

Location icon compass    Location


The Agricultural Museum Brook,
The Street,
Ashford, Kent.
TN25 5PF

View map

opeing times, clock    Opening Times


Between the beginning of June to mid-September, the museum is open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 14:00 to 17:00.

For further details, please see Opening Times and Prices