Although Morpeth sorely lacks a social history museum, much of its civic history can be traced through the “Town Treasures” kept in the Town Hall under the auspices of the Town Council.
The Town Council took over responsibility for the Morpeth civic regalia and mayoralty in 2009 when Castle Morpeth Borough Council was abolished, but the Borough Council had in turn inherited or otherwise annexed the treasures and heritage of previous councils back to and including the old Corporation. It had also been the repository of many miscellaneous donations and longterm loans. In 1987, under one of the multiple mayoralties of Isobel Smail, the Council produced a “Civic Regalia” booklet. Then in 2014, the tercentenary year of the Town Hall, the Town Council commissioned an updated and expanded “Town Treasures” booklet, co-published by the Town Council and the Morpeth Antiquarian Society. This booklet, sponsored by Pharma Nord, edited by Kim Bibby Wilson and with new photography by Trevor Walker, gives both descriptions and brief histories of most of the “Town Treasures” and also a short history of the Town Hall itself.
The most spectacular of the “Town Treasures” are on display in the Council Chamber and the Mayor’s Parlour – and are open to the public with guided tours during the Gathering just after Easter and as part of the regular Morpeth Heritage Open Days programme in September. The public may also view the Council Chamber by attending the Town Council committee meetings which are open to the public. However, access to the Mayor’s Parlour is at the Mayor’s discretion – but if you write nicely to the Town Council, the Mayor does frequently entertain visiting organisations ranging from Brownies to the U3A in the Parlour.
We hope to include, with appropriate permissions, brief extracts from the 2014 “Town Treasures” booklet in future articles of this blog – but copies may be bought from the Antiquarian Society or the Town Council, cost £5 (ISBN 0 9533818 5 4)
 Most of the civic regalia from the old Castle Ward went to Ponteland Town Council
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The book is not only available from Morpeth Antiquarian Society but is also a co-publication by that organisation and Morpeth Town Council, being identified by the MASociety’s International Standard Book Number. When the Covid-19 situation eases, copies can be bought from the Chantry TIC and the Town Hall, and at MAS meetings, but meanwhile purchasers may enquire about details via the MAS website and Facebook pages.