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News Update - December 2016

Items in this Update cover:
  • Museum developments
  • Dates for your diary
  • The Christmas Fayre
  • The Shop and Christmas gift ideas
  • Five Arches
  • Events, Exhibitions and Talks
  • The Friends of Radstock Museum
  • Donation opportunities
  • Talks (Science in Radstock and Bygone Days)
  • The Research Room
  • News  (Dick's 90th, Quiz Night, Victorian Christmas event)
Full details are below or on the website.

And finally a very happy Christmas and New Year to all our readers and thank you for your support of our wonderful Museum.

Museum Developments

Thanks to Julie Poll, B&NES Business Connector, the Museum was fortunate in being offered pro bono the expertise and advice of a Marketing Consultant, Mark Baines, as a result of which the Trustees have accepted that two major changes should be put into effect to increase our admissions (and hence income).

The first is to change the name of the Museum to provide a better description of what we offer and the second is to enhance the visitor experience through “re-imagining” the main permanent displays on the ground floor ‘street’ (mine, forge, cottage, Co-op shop and printing shop) and improving the range of visitor attractions on the first floor. 

The intention is to provide more opportunities for visitors to experience the sights, sounds and even the smells of life in Victorian Radstock.

We have been granted an Association of Independent Museums (AIM) Hallmarks Award to fund a programme co-ordinator to undertake this work and the Friends have provided a budget to pay for some of the improvements we shall be making.


We are delighted to announce that Miranda Litchfield has joined the Museum team, working alongside the Curator/Manager Nick Turner, with special responsibilities for the Museum's Development Programme.

There will be more news of this exciting programme of change in the New Year.

Dates for your Diaries

The museum is shut until 1 February apart from the 2 final events in the lead up to Christmas, which we hope you will support or will encourage others to support. Details can be found on our website. 

Sat 10 Dec 10:00 to 4:00  Christmas Fayre. Shop/Tearoom open 

Sat 17 Dec  11:00 to 3:00   Shop open.  

Wed 1 Feb  2:00 Museum re-opens with 2 new exhibitions

Tuesday 7 Feb  7:30 Bygone Days talk 

Tuesday 21 Feb  7:30 Science in Radstock talk  

The Christmas Fayre

The Friends of the Museum's ever popular Annual Christmas Fayre will take place on 10th December from 10:00 until 4:00, in aid of the Museum, 

The Tearoom and Book Shop, with its extensive range of local history books, DVDs, toys and gifts, will be open all day and entry is FREE.

The Fayre is a great seasonal festive event and an opportunity to buy those special Christmas gifts. Stalls throughout the museum will be selling an exciting range of goods. There will be a raffle, tombola and bric-a-brac stalls: something on offer for everyone.

Enjoy live festive music too with Ian Piff on his electric keyboard in the morning and Farrington Gurney School in the afternoon.

Sue Gearing and Les Davies will be present to sign copies of their new book "Miles More Mendip" which is on sale in our Shop.
The Shop
Gift Annual Entrance Tickets
How about a gift that will last a whole year? Why not buy someone a gift entry ticket, which for 2017 costs £6 for adults, £5 for concessions and £13 for a family of 2 adults and up to 3 children.  Amazing value! And on sale in the Shop now.
Christmas Presents

Are you stuck for what to buy someone for Christmas? The Museum Shop offers you a huge stock of books at a wide range of prices. The books are mainly connected to the Somerset coalfields, including railways, canals, mining, local life, history and walks to mention just a few!

Or buy a year's subscription to Five Arches, the Society's Journal.

Museum Christmas cards with a snow scene of Lower Writhlington Colliery and railway in the early 1900s are now on sale. The profit from the cards will go to support the Museum.

We also have just introduced nostalgic items from a Bath company, Half Moon Bay, some of which can be seen in the picture below.


We have some great books for children's presents too. 

You Wouldn't Want to Be... books are just the right mixture of facts and fun. They feature full-colour illustrations which combine humour and accurate technical detail.

You wouldn't want to be a Victorian Schoolchild (£6.99)
This book reveals that growing up in Britain in the 1880s wasn't easy. 

You wouldn't want to be a Victorian miner (£6.99)
As a man brought up a British coal-mining village in the 1860s, you have to endure the dangers and difficulties of working underground in a Victorian mine.

You wouldn't want to a Victorian servant (£6.99) 
This book warns young readers to get ready... as a 12-year-old girl living in Britain in the 1880s, you are about to start work for a wealthy family. 

Five Arches

The next edition of Five Arches, the Museum Society's Journal, will be available from 10 December. It includes items on William Peacock's memory of the Great War, stories from Radstock Baptist Manse, the impact of the 1895 Timsbury mining disaster on one High Littleton family, a closer look at another item from the collection and a ramble to Holcombe. 

A subscription to Five Arches (£13:00 for 3 issues including p+p to UK addresses) makes an enduring Christmas present.


More details of events next year will be in the next News Update and details of the exhibitions will be on our website in the New Year.


The Museum re-opens at the beginning of February with an exhibition entitled "Working with Hand Tools- the traditional way" which will be on until the end of May.

Also, until the end of February only, we have an exhibition by Paulton School on its recent project "Trade Roots" which was postponed from earlier this year.


Bygone Days talks will start again on the Tuesday 7 Feb at 7:30 with a repeat of Andrew Linham's popular talk on the Somerset and Dorset Railway which many people missed earlier this year as our venue was full to capacity. This time we are in the much larger Somer Centre in MSN.

Science in Radstock talks restart on Tuesday 14 Feb at 7:30 in the Working Men's club with a talk entitled "
Inkjet Printing - Past, Present and Future" by Nigel Caiger, Director Global Digital Technology at Sunjet, formerly Coates Electrographics. 

Full details of these 2 talks are on the website 

The Friends of Radstock Museum


At a joint meeting between the Museum Company Trustees, the Museum Society Trustees and the Friends of Radstock Museum group it was agreed to develop a community-based fund-raising group for the Museum, to be called the Friends of Radstock Museum. The current Friends, augmented by a small number of the Museum's volunteers, would form the initial committee of the new group.

The aim of the Friends will be to raise funds for the Museum by organising or helping to organise fund-raising events, by acting as volunteers to support those events and by promoting the Museum and what it offers at every opportunity. 

If you would like to support the Museum in this way, please join the new Friends organisation. It’s FREE, you aren't expected to be on the committee and your membership and support will help the Museum to remain open and to preserve the social and industrial heritage of the former Somerset Coalfield.

To join please click here to enrol. Alternatively you can e mail your details as on the flyer to or drop your details into the museum by hand or by post.

Donations Opportunities

Raise Money While Christmas Shopping

If you are buying any Christmas shopping online please consider signing up to Easyfundraising, so that for everything you buy the Museum will get a donation of between 1 and 3%  of what you spend at no cost to you.

Full details are on our website or go direct to Easyfundraising by clicking here.

Research Room Improvements

The Museum has been awarded a grant of £1000 by Westfield Parish Council towards its new Research Room and reference library. Geoff Fuller, Chair of Westfield Parish Council and Westfield Councillor Eleanor Jackson presented Simon Carter, the head of the Museum’s Documentation and Archiving team, with the cheque in the soon to be completed room.
The grant will go towards a new computer on which the Museum’s archives can be viewed, additional shelving, window blinds, and museum grade archiving materials to transform the room into a new community asset providing visitors with access to electronically stored local, historical photographs along with books and folders on the history of the local area. In addition, subject to a small charge, they will be able to print copies of items for their personal use.
The Trustees would like to thank the volunteers who have worked hard to store over 15,000 images; prepare 200 topic based research folders and put together a library of over 1000 books.
The Research Room project is an element of the Museum’s Forward Plan approved by the Arts Council for England, which has already paid £500, from its South West Museum Development Programme: “Small Grant Big Improvement”, towards new desks, chairs, and folders. A further grant for a second new computer has been given by the Friends and a grant in 2014 from Midsomer Norton Town Council, paid for the library book cases.


Dick's 90th Birthday

Dick Graham, a stalwart of Radstock Museum, celebrated his 90th birthday in November and some of the volunteers enjoyed tea and cake in the museum with Dick and presented him with a gift and card, kindly organised by Anny Northcote.

Dick was evacuated to the area during WW2 he later joined the RAF, and then settled back in the area and became a printer. 
He collected lots of local postcards and photos and was involved in many local, temporary exhibitions and gave talks to raise money and interest in the idea of a museum in the Somerset Coalfield.

Local knowledge and printing knowledge combined in his being a founding member of the Museum's publication: "Five Arches" and he served for many years on the Museum Society committee.

He has written 4 books on Peasedown and is working on his fifth whilst continuing to volunteer at the museum every Tuesday morning. Happy 90th Birthday Dick!

The Quiz Night

On 25 November a quiz night was run in the Radstock Hotel, in aid of the Market Hall Clock project, organised by Museum volunteers. It was a sell out event and one contestant even had to sit under a table!

A total of just over £360 was raised thanks to the sterling work of the many volunteers who helped to set up the event, and the generosity of all of you who provided raffle prizes or food for the sumptuous buffet.

We are also indebted to Ben and Natalie of the Radstock Hotel who provided the venue free of charge.

The Clock fund now stands at about £2800 which means we have enough to erect the scaffolding and work on the strike mechanism and the leaky roof. Ding Dong!


 A Victorian Christmas Experience

The Museum was fortunate to be given a grant of £500 by Big Local towards running a Victorian Christmas event on 3rd December with the Museum open from 11:00 until 4:30 with free entry.   

The Education team, building on its successful Victorian event during museum open week in October, put on a tremendous range of displays and activities mainly aimed at children (of all ages!).

The event was a great success with about 300 visitors and a grand total of over £550 in profit.

Yet again a huge thank you to all the many volunteers who worked so hard to make this go so well and to all the visitors who came in during the day.

The comments of the visitors were very heartening; hopefully quite a few will come back to visit the Museum in 2017 and will also sing our praises to all their friends.
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