Bourne Civic Society
It was founded in 1977 at a time of a rapid expansion of the town. Its aim is to carry the good features of the town from the past into the future, while improving the existing structures.
The society arranges talks and visits but its most visible work has gone into its heritage centre in Baldock's Mill.
Bourne Heritage Centre (Baldock's Mill)
In the early years of the society's existence, it set up short-term exhibitions in places like the Red Hall, to draw attention to what the town had achieved in the past and to date. A notable one, in 1984, commemorated the town's accommodating Parachute Regiment men, in the months before they flew to Arnhem in 1944.
However it was seen as important that the society should have a base of its own in which a permanent exhibition could be developed for townspeople and visitors. For this purpose, a lease was negotiated with Bourne United Charities, allowing use of Baldock's Mill the former tenant of which, the Red Cross, had moved to new premises. The building was renovated and converted by voluntary work and youth training schemes, under the guidance of a chartered surveyor member of the society. The mill is a grade II Listed building in its own right.
Since 1988, the displays have been developed, at first with temporary exhibitions such as one commemorating the 850th anniversary of Bourne Abbey's charter. Since then numerous small collections have been put together. The three largest features are now:
- the Raymond Mays room, dealing with the life in motor racing, of a man who lived all his life in the town. It features his key rôle in developing the ERA and BRM marques.
- The Charles Worth Room, which uses replica dresses to draw attention to the work of the man who established the Haute Couture trade in Paris, having been born and started his working life in Bourne, then moved to London and on to Paris.
- The installation of a water wheel replacing that which failed in around 1920. The present one is of Poncelet's design and drives an electricity generator.
- Notable among the later temporary exhibitions was one of wedding dresses and accessories. It ran from 16 April to 8 May 2011, to mark the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.