Find out more about the New Forest coast, an area with a rich maritime heritage where smugglers made profit on the shores, and where boat-builders and salt-makers developed their trades.
In the Napoleonic period and during both world wars the influxes of soldiers helped shape the villages and towns while today holiday-makers still visit to enjoy the landscape and coast.
Our collections relate to the area between the Solent Coast and the New Forest; no other museum covers this specific and unique area. The contrasting stories of Lymington and New Milton offer insights into local and national history. Lymington was founded by charter over 800 years ago and New Milton is a good example of a late Victorian railway town. The museum also holds significant collections of most of the surrounding villages and large estates, including Ashley, Bashley, Boldre, Downton, East End, Everton, Keyhaven, Pennington, Pilley, South Baddesley and Tiptoe.
Our collecting area is the coastal strip to the south of the New Forest and centres on the towns of Lymington and New Milton, Barton-on-Sea and the parishes Boldre, Hordle, Milford and Sway. This also includes the villages of Ashley, Bashley, Dowton, East End, Everton, Keyhaven, Pennington, Pilley, South Baddesley and Tiptoe.
The collections and the stories that they tell reflect many aspects of life in the area from prehistory to the present day including home life, industry, shops, trades, farming, leisure, sport, war, holidays and the local environment.
Our extensive photographic archive covers Lymington, New Milton and the villages, and includes digital format images.
One of the most recent acquisitions is The Boldre Hoard, a collection of more than 1600 third century Roman coins, unearthed in a field near Lymington in 2014. The hoard was declared 'treasure' by a coroner and kept at the British Museum. An intensive community appeal, spearheaded by Historian Dan Snow, raised £30,000 to bring the collection of coins back to St Barbe Museum.
To enhance our educational work with schools, pre-schools, families, the elderly and special interest groups, we often use objects for handling, and are keen to acquire more.
If you have something which you think might be of interest to the museum please contact us.
The Museum also offers a free enquiry service relating to the Museum’s collections and local history, run by a small team of staff and volunteers. In addition to our free enquiry service, we often receive requests for image reproductions and licences for material held by the Museum. If you would like to make an enquiry, or find out more about reproduction costs or licences then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the Contact form on our website. We will aim to respond to all enquiries within 4 weeks.
The museum displays provide a colourful, hands on introduction to the New Forest coast.
As well as cases of artefacts there are objects to handle, costume to try on and a range of activities to try including a replica pilot boat wheelhouse.