Panacea Museum celebrates cradle centenary

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On Saturday 25th May the Panacea Museum is celebrating the centenary of two important events for the Panacea Society, the arrival of Joanna Southcott’s Cradle and the sending of a petition of 10,000 names to the Archbishop of Canterbury demanding the opening of Joanna Southcott’s Box of Prophecies.

The Panacea Society was a Christian community based in Bedford, and led by Mabel ‘Octavia’ Barltrop; members of the Society followed the teachings of Joanna Southcott and brought together many items associated with Joanna including the cradle, clothing, embroidery and the Box of Prophecies.

In May 1924, the Society took possession of the cradle which was made specially for Joanna Southcott’s child, and sent a petition of 10,000 names to the Archbishop demanding the acceptance of Joanna Southcott’s prophecies and the opening of the Box by 24 bishops.

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When the last member of the Panacea Society died in 2012, the Society as a religious group came to an end; that same year the Museum first opened to the public. The Panacea Society was renamed to The Panacea Charitable Trust that year and operates the Panacea Museum as one of its core activities.

The Cradle on display at the Panacea MuseumThe Cradle on display at the Panacea Museum
The Cradle on display at the Panacea Museum

On Saturday 25th May, there will be a printing session on the Society’s Victorian press from 11am to 1.30pm, and at 2.30pm the Museum Director, Zara Matthews, will give a talk about Southcott, the importance of the cradle and the Box of Sealed Prophecies.

Visitors to the Museum are encouraged to enjoy the gardens and bring a picnic. The Tea Room will be open for drinks and snacks.

Entry to the events is free, with no need to book.

The Panacea Museum entrance is located close to Bedford town centre on the corner of Newnham Road and Castle Road, and is open Thursday to Sunday 11am to 5pm, last admission 4.30pm. Entry to the Museum is free. Further details on the Museum’s website and on

The Panacea Museum GardensThe Panacea Museum Gardens
The Panacea Museum Gardens


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The Panacea Charitable Trust is a UK charity (no. 227530) first registered with the Charity Commission as The Panacea Society in 1926. The Trust provides grants to the local community, supports academic research, seminars, conferences and activities and operates the Panacea Museum whilst maintaining the Charity’s Archive of books, manuscripts and papers. Since 2001 the charity has supported over 100 local good causes with more than £4million of funding and that work is continuing. To find out more check the website

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