Winchester’s long-serving Head of Museums retires

Geoff Denford at gallery opening 1997

Geoff Denford at gallery opening 1997

Dr Geoff Denford has retired as Winchester City Council’s Head of Museums after more than 30 years spent caring for the city’s historic collections.

Geoff’s retirement marks the end of an era for Winchester Museums – although his colleagues are well-used to marking historical eras, with collections spanning the prehistoric through to the contemporary life of the Winchester District.

With his team, Geoff was responsible for safeguarding around a million artefacts, as well as the operation of City Museum, The Westgate and City Space.

He was particularly proud of his work on the four-year, Heritage Lottery-funded refurbishment of City Museum, one of Winchester’s most-visited attractions which tells the story of the city.

During his time at the Council, Geoff introduced and wrote the series of beautifully presented guidebooks available from the museums and he was responsible for first securing national accreditation for the museums.

More recently, he curated the exceptionally popular Treasures of Hyde Abbey exhibition in 2010, celebrating the 900th anniversary of the founding of Hyde Abbey.

He has also been a driving force in creating the website which ensures that the fascinating objects in the care of the City Council can be shared with audiences around the world.

Geoff’s colleagues kept him hard at work until the last minute, accessioning a middle Bronze Age gold torc (or neck ring) between 3,100 and 3,600 years old. The torc was acquired by Winchester Museums last week from a local metal detectorist.

Geoff’s academic interests lay in other periods of history: his doctorate – also completed during his time in Winchester – was on Prehistoric and Romano-British Kimmeridge Shale.

Now Geoff is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Fiona, and – once his son finishes college next year – travelling to more historic sites around the world.