Wellingborough, like most Northamptonshire towns, was a centre for factory-based shoemaking from the mid-nineteenth century. It was also the staging point for coal trains between coalfields of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and London. There were extensive marshalling yards and its locomotive depot was one of the largest in England.
A local brewer, David Dulley, was responsible for the opening of a public bath house in 1892, and this building now houses the town museum which is operated by volunteers and owned by a charitable trust. In 1995 the baths became the shoe factory of George Cox, but in 1995 the company moved to larger premises. The museum in its present form opened in 2007, and includes a shop, a café and the Dulley Room, an auditorium seating 100 people, which is used by the Northamptonshire Film Archive for the showing of historical documentary films.
On the ground floor the museum tells the story of the town from prehistory to the nineteenth century, and outside the building there is a display illustrating the First World War which includes a replica trench. Upstairs the focus is on the twentieth century, with a living room and kitchen of a typical working class house of the 1950s, ironmongery and haberdashery shops, a working model railway, and a Royal Mail sorting office.