William Cowle

The Cowle Trust

A local businessman and landowner, William Cowle included a bequest of £4000 in his will of 1897 to provide a museum for the town. Shortly after his death in 1899 the Cowle Museum Trust was established to provide a museum for the people of Stroud and the surrounding district, within the School of Science and Art in Lansdown.

The Objects of the Charity as defined in the Charity Commission Scheme (1983) are:

(a) The provision and maintenance on the premises specified [...] for the exhibition to the public of a collection of objects and speciments of antiquity, natural history, art, archaeology or science (including pictures, books and documents of educational or scientific interest); and

(b) The extension, enhancement, conservation and maintenance of the objects and specimens comprised in the said collection.


The Cowle Trust continues today as the legal guardians of the Stroud District (Cowle) Museum Trust Collection and makes this collection available through a partnership agreement with Stroud District Council. The Council providing the premises, staff and funding for the Museum Service.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Cowle Trust please use the Contact Us page.

Colour-coded object boxes in one of the stores


Did you know?

The museum collections are stored in approximately 3000 boxes like those pictured above. In addition we have many objects which are too big to be boxed and so are protected with tissue paper and Tyvek sheeting. We monitor the light, temperature and relative humidity in all of our stores and galleries to protect the objects in our care.


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