On October 2nd, 1899 Emma Hardinge Britten died. On December 15th, a provisional committee was formed to provide a suitable memorial to her life and work. The proposed Memorial was decided upon to be a building known as “The Britten Memorial” to be used as the Head-quarters of the Spiritualists’ National Federation, later re-constituted as the Spiritualists’ National Union in 1901. It would not be until 1948 that the Britten Memorial finally achieved their goal with the purchase of 12 Tib Lane, Manchester as the SNU registered office aptly named “Britten House”. In 1971 the Union sold Tib Lane and purchased the Annex at Stansted Hall retaining its name “Britten House” – later the Union moved a few yards down the path to the old gardener’s cottage and is now called “Redwoods”.
Throughout the long years of Britten Memorial achieving its goal it actively rented rooms giving public meetings with the well-known mediums of the day, held an extensive library, reading/lending rooms, and a fine collection of papers and artefacts displayed in their museum at various locations in Manchester.
The museum and library was re-established at Clock Cottage, Stansted Hall albeit only for a few years before it was put into storage due to renovations, SNU President Duncan Gascoyne re-established the museum within Stansted Hall at its current location at the top of the grand staircase; this years ‘Open Week’ celebrating its twentieth year. The Britten Library was housed at “Redwoods”.
In the last few years the museum has undergone significant changes from a wonderful visual experience of the history of the Union and Spiritualism, and its early phases of physical and mental mediumship. In the summer of 2016 the Britten Memorial Library was once again reunited with the Britten Memorial Museum creating a unique and unrivalled study area at the Arthur Findlay College, such as the Union once held in Manchester. With the support of President David Bruton, Arthur Findlay College General Manager Tanya Smith, together with the NEC and AFC Committees, in August this goal was fulfilled.
Paul J. Gaunt is the Museum curator. Paul offers courses in the museum to study with him and the museum archives.