In a quiet corner of Clay Lake, a few minutes’ drive away from the hustle and bustle of Spalding High Street sits Gordon Boswell’s Romany Museum, founded and run by Mr Boswell and his family. The museum houses what is said to be the largest public display of traditional Romany Gypsy vardos (wagons), photographs and memorabilia in the world so, naturally, I called and made an appointment to visit the museum the second I found out about it.
It was on a blustery grey Thursday that I pulled into the yard of the museum and got out to find the front doors to the building locked. I was almost an hour early for my meeting with Mr Boswell so was unsurprised when my knocking went unanswered. Undeterred in my rudeness, I went and called at the front door of the house next to the museum (I had been reliably informed that this was where Mr Boswell lived), and was received by Mrs Boswell who kindly took me through to the back of the museum where we found Mr Boswell in the middle of his previous meeting. I (finally) felt bad. Especially when Mrs Boswell accused her husband of forgetting about his meeting with me. “No, no! I’m early, I’m very early.” I bleated, guiltily. Mr Boswell graciously ignored my bad manners and said that I was welcome to have a wander around the museum whilst he finished up his current engagement.
The Romany Museum, I discovered, is a difficult place through which to wander casually (or, indeed, quietly). There are so many vibrant and fascinating displays to see and read about that one ends up dashing from thing to thing, gasping audibly at the excitement of seeing so many beautiful objects in one place. Large vardos of every colour line the walls, making the entire space look like something from a fairy-tale. Ten minutes into my exploration, I was nosily poking my head around the inside a reconstruction of a fortune-teller’s tent (complete with mannequin dressed in traditional Romany fortune-teller’s garb) when I heard Mr Boswell calling me from the other side of the museum. As we went to sit down in the museum café, I apologised for my early arrival, and for intruding on the previous appointment.
“No, it’s fine. We’ve had lots of people coming and going recently.”
“Oh?” I enquired, “I thought you didn’t formally reopen for the new season until March?”
“We don’t!” He replied. “But we’ve had the ghost-hunters in several times over the past few weeks.”
“Ghost-hunters?!” Ever the sceptic, I stifled a chuckle. “Don’t tell me this place is haunted?”
Mr Boswell didn’t return my light-hearted expression. The corners of his mouth turning down, I realised that he was quite serious.
I hesitated for a moment but, curiosity piqued, asked to hear more…
Read on, in The Ghost of Gordon Boswell’s Romany Museum Part II.