Petersfield High Street South Side

Part of front cover designed by Edward Grainger for Petersfield Monographs No. 2 entitled ‘High Street Petersfield’.

Historical Society News

A dream fulfilled

For the two decades following the formation of the Society, the membership recorded the history of Petersfield and its environs producing superb publications.

Launch of Inns of Petersfield

Photo Don Eades ref DE1296 2942; (from left to right) Winifred Turner, William Whiteman, Dorothy Grainger and Mary Ray at the launch of the publication Petersfield Papers No. 3 ’Inns of Petersfield’ in September 1977
Copyright DE Collection Petersfield Museum

With equal enthusiasm, they collected photographs and historical objects in abundance. As the collections grew members offered their homes as a repository for the objects collected.

In his 1991 Historical Society chairman’s report, Wilf Burnham stated that 'he wished this precious archive assembled with such dedication over the years could find its rightful place in a museum and study centre for Petersfield.'

By 1993 the members’ home storage facilities were overflowing with objects so they turned to the new Petersfield town mayor, Teresa Jamieson, who showed a keen interest in the idea of forming a town museum to care for, store and display the items collected by the society.

A steering committee was formed, chaired by Teresa and included Mary Ray, Wilf Burnham and Jill Thompson-Lewis from the Historical Society and three local councillors. It was another four years before a museum trust was formed in 1997 and in May 1999 the museum opened two days a week in the recently vacated Petersfield Courthouse. It was manned by volunteers, many of whom were members of the Historical Society. Importantly the society transferred all its objects and archives to the museum.

1999 Opening of Museum

1999 opening of the Museum at the Courthouse; (left to right) Mary Ray, John Holt, Wilf Burnham ... Teresa Jamieson, ... Scurfield, Colin Mattingly, Jill Thompson-Lewis, Iris Holt

For the next twenty years the museum developed in leaps and bounds and now has five major collections stored and displayed in a new state of the art museum, which opened its doors in June 2021. One of the large stores holds mainly the objects, artefacts and photographs originally collected by the Historical Society.

The new aptly-named Burnham/Ray reading room provides the opportunity for visitors to carry out their own research into the history of our area, fulfilling the dream of 1991.

Social History store

Social History store, Petersfield Museum 2021

To commemorate the opening of the transformation of the museum, the Society continued the link with Chairman, Nick Swan, presenting a cheque for £6000 from the Society to the museum for the purchase of one of the new display cases in the Petersfield Gallery.

Nick Swann hands cheque to museum
Nick Swan hands cheque for £6000 to Petersfield Museum trustee Vaughan Clarke

How To Join

Contact us for an application form. Membership costs £15 per person or £20 per couple. This includes eight meetings per year with a speaker and five optional meetings of the Society’s Archaeological Group. You will also receive a copy of the Society’s twice-yearly bulletin.

Petersfield Museum and Art Gallery

Petersfield Museum

Visit Petersfield Museum and Art Gallery to see some of the archival work PAHS has undertaken.

Petersfield Musical Festival


Petersfield Musical Festival has entertained the town with choral music for over 100 years.

Petersfield Physic Garden

fritillaryThe Physic Garden is open daily except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s day. Check the website for times. Entrance is free.

People of Petersfield Heath

People of the HeathVisit People of the Heath for more on the excavation of the Petersfield Heath barrows.