Welcome to Axminster Heritage

We tell the Axminster story

Discover the history of the town • Celebrate its carpets, crafts and skills • Meet and join with today’s community

Access to the Axminster Heritage Centre is completely free of charge for everyone

Just dropping in or passing by?

Visit our Heritage Centre Entry is Free
Get a flavour of our Local History, check out our Events, take a Town Trail or find things to do at Tourist Information

Want to dig a little deeper?

If you want more in-depth information explore our extensive local history pages find surviving early Axminster carpets or browse our photographic gallery

Like to take part in local activities?

Come along and join us for a friendly programme of events to inspire and enjoy

Want to get involved?

Join our team, meet interesting people, make new friends or learn new skills. Become a Member, leave us a legacy in your will or nominate us for a donation when you shop online

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Upcoming Events

Call us

01297 639884

Walk through the history and heritage of Axminster

The town has origins in the Bronze and Stone Ages, later becoming a crossroads on the Roman Fosse Way. It became a busy agricultural market town post its 1210 charter and an important brush making centre, notably for toothbrushes.  Axminster’s world famous quality carpet making business is at the heart of our story. A local man, Thomas Whitty, set up his manufactory in 1755 and it ran until 1835.  We regularly add new displays relating to different community interests, these complement our permanent exhibitions.

In addition to the displays in the Gallery we regularly present talks, films, craft courses and social events, see the  ‘What’s On’ for details. Fittingly all this is housed on the site of the factory Whitty built for his family business and which subsequently served the town as a court-house and a hospital.

Can You Help Us?

Be a part of writing our history

We are always interested in new information, photographs and material about Axminster and the surrounding villages, and keen to receive comments, corrections and suggestions from people who know the town well, and have views on events which have shaped it. From time to time we have questions about projects with which you may be able to help.

A new vision for Axminster Heritage becomes a reality

The final phase of the restoration to Thomas Whitty House and the creation of a modern interactive display exhibition is now underway, thanks to a National Lottery grant awarded by The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This work will considerably enlarge the Gallery display area and create a modern interactive attraction with wider appeal. The existing displays will be reinterpreted in order to do justice to both the heritage collection and the rich history of Axminster. In addition, the entrance carriageway and old Drill Hall will be restored, including the addition of a mezzanine floor for conservation and research work, storage and a new office. A new reception area will include a small shop and the visitor information point.

During 2018 the Heritage Centre will be open from 26th March until the end of October but with a smaller display whilst the work is underway. The new visitor displays will then be installed by February 2019 in time for the Centre to open at the end of March for the 2019 season.

Contact Us

Please feel free to send us your message or inquiry and we'll do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.

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