May Day barn and stable at the Weald & Downland Living Museum

May Day barn & stable opens

On Monday 27 August, our latest exhibit – the barn and stable building from May Day Farm in Kent – was formally opened to the public.

Originally built in the late 18th to early 19th centuries, this is a three bay threshing barn with rear lean-tos and its accompanying stable. These buildings now form part of a 19th century farmstead exhibit at the Museum.

The buildings formed part of a tenanted farm on the Summerhill Estate, south of Tonbridge. The buildings came to the Museum as the were in the path of a road widening scheme, on the Tonbridge-Pembury section of the A21 in Kent. In January 2015, the Museum embarked on the dismantling of the barn and stable. The dismantling and re-erection project was funded by Highways England, and overseen by Balfour Beatty.

After careful dismantling, the timbers were conserved and stored at the Museum, before re-erection in early 2018. Visitors in 2018 will have seen the frame raised early in the year, then cladding of the building with weatherboarding and tiling of the buildings, with a Museum blacksmith making latches missing for the stable doors. The images below chart the progress of the project.