What's on



  • July 27 - January 30, 2022
  • Museum opening hours
  • Free



  • October 1 - January 31, 2022
  • Museum opening hours
  • Free


Events and workshops;

  • October 23 - November 30
  • Normal opening times
  • £4

Did you know

...city families used to pick hops on holiday?

Hop picking holidays allowed city families to earn money. Pickers were paid with tokens, which were used in local shops or exchanged for wages.

Did you know

...Elizabethan mattresses were used for both childbirth and corpses?

Mattresses, plaited from sedges, were made to support a mother during childbirth or a corpse after death. After use it would have been burned.

Did you know

...farmers used to sow seeds by fiddle?

Sowing by hand can be slow and inaccurate. Seed drills were developed in the 1800s to sow seeds quickly in a straight line at regular intervals.

Did you know

...Lady Eve Balfour (1898-1990) was one of the earliest organic farmers and co-founded the Soil Association?

Women continue to play a key role in this movement, with organic farms employing significantly more women than chemical farming.

Did you know

...Suttons Seeds invented the seed packet?

The local Reading firm, founded in 1806, popularised paper packets of seeds for gardeners.

Did you know

...villages often used to run their own fire services?

The National Fire Service was only created in 1941.

Did you know


Our Country Lives - Latest Blog Posts

Our blog explores the people, places and issues of the historic and contemporary English countryside and rural life, uncovering and exploring our collections, the exciting activity around the MERL and the people we with.

Suhctup Hülle Kompatibel mit Huawei Mate 20 Pro Hülle 9H Gehärte

Join MERL collections researcher Tim Jerrome as he shares four seemingly-villainous objects from our collection, and explores the rural history they actually represent.

51 Voices: A very special collaboration

Learn about the creative collaborations made for 51 Voices, our 70th anniversary exhibition.

51 Voices: Work, work, work

Discover the four newest Voices to arrive in our anniversary exhibition.

Join Our Community

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 at 11:51am
On the FIELD project website, the project team have created stories about their work.

This one explores the Town Moor, and local people's memories of the cows that graze there: from seeing them up close, to watching them hear music.

It's a lovely read!

  • The Museum of English Rural Life

    University of Reading

    Redlands Road


    RG1 5EX

    Need directions?