Last weekend we visited the Corinium Museum in Cirencester (or if you are an ancient Roman…Corinium). I thought it was just a Roman museum with a few artifacts but in fact it is a museum of Cirencester through the ages from prehistoric onwards. I also understood it that there were remains of a fort but again I was wrong though there are remains of an ampitheater (not in the museum though of course). I think the kids liked the day out but the highlight I believe was the little independent bookshop, Octavia Bookshop, around the corner.
The first section was about the pre – Roman Britains. It was a really small section as you can imagine which mostly involved lots of reading. Since there was less to see and more reading I only managed to drag back one child to get a picture.
About half the museum was dedicated to the Roman era of 1600-1900 years ago. Corinium was the second largest Roman city in Britain in its day. It was originally a fort but grew into a town quite quickly and at its height it had a population of 15-20,000 people which is very similar to today’s population of about 18,000. This really isn’t surprising when you consider that this region has a considerable Roman presence in places like Bath (with its baths), Gloucester, Cheltenham, and the Chedworth Roman Villa. Clearly the Romans loved the Cotswolds as much as I do.
There was more of the museum but by the time we got through the Roman section I was tuckered out. The Anglo-Saxon section looked of significant interest to me as did the middle ages but those will have to wait for our next visit in the spring or summer along with the ampitheater.
I recommend a visit for anyone really but for the Roman era it was more detailed then any other museum I have visited so far. Cirencester is also a lovely little town with a magnificent church, lots of little shops and an arts centre which we will visit on another trip.