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News Update - March 2017

Items in this Update cover:
  • Dates for your diary
  • Events
  • Friends of Radstock Museum - Meeting 29 March
  • Non-User survey help requested
  • Exhibitions
  • Somerset Coalfield Life programme latest news
  • Talks
  • The Shop - Mothering Sunday 26 March
  • Work starts on the Clock Tower
  • News 
Full details are below or on our website.

Dates for your Diaries

Sunday 19 Mar  2:30 Mining Memories film Victoria Hall

Tuesday 21 Mar  7:30 Science in Radstock talk "The Solar System"

Wednesday 29 Mar  7:00  Friends Meeting at Museum

Saturday 1 Apr  12:00 - 3:00 "Putting Radstock on the Map"

Tuesday 18 Apr  7:30 Science in Radstock talk "The History and Mystery of Maps"

Details of all the events and exhibitions can be found on our website. 

The film “SOMERSET MINING MEMORIES” told by the men and women who lived and worked in the Somerset Coalfield will be shown on Sunday 19th March, 2:30pm at Victoria Hall in Radstock, tickets £5.
The film was produced by Radstock Museum in 2005 with funding from The Somerset District Miners Welfare Trust and The Local Heritage Initiative. It is received some wonderful reviews including this one from Barry Fowler Chairman of Reel People Film Society,  “Meticulously researched and beautifully staged. The interviews are warm, engaging and always fascinating. Anyone with even a vague interest in local history and community should see this”.
Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum is delighted to be working in partnership with Victoria Hall in Radstock to show this wonderful film. Tickets can be bought from Victoria Hall or online at 
Invitation from Chairman of the 

Friends of Radstock Museum
Dear Museum Supporter,
Friends of Radstock Museum
The Friends of Radstock Museum were formed a number of years ago by the Museum Society to raise funds to enable suitable artefacts to be bought. There is also a need for funds to support the Museum, particularly at this time as the major development programme is undertaken.
The number of Friends has dwindled over the years and it now requires an injection of new Friends to help with fund raising ideas and to support fund raising by the Friends of the Museum and by the Museum Company.
The next meeting of the Friends will be on Wednesday 29 March at 7:00pm, in the Museum. All museum volunteers and supporters are invited to attend this meeting and to consider joining the Friends. If you are interested but cannot make this meeting, please let me know by leaving a note for me at the Museum or by phoning me on 01761 452326. Or you can join the Friends online by clicking on this link
Thank you for your help for the Museum. I look forward to meeting you.
Yours sincerely,
Dennis Herbert
Friends of the Museum
Non-User Survey - Help Requested

As part of our push to get more visitors to the Museum we are conducting a survey of those who do not visit, or who haven't visited for years, to find out how we could get them to come.

If you know people who haven't visited at all or for many years then please can you ask them to participate in this very short and simple online survey which will take them about a minute to complete.

Here's a link to the survey, thanks for your help:

Working with Hand Tools …the traditional way
Until 31st May the museum is hosting an exhibition about trades that were carried out locally, covering edge-tool making, agriculture, wheelwrighting, coach and wagon making, coopering, millwrighting, bookbinding, plane making, sash window making, clock and watch making, harness and saddle making.

This exhibition covers the history of these trades, the way the trades were carried out and has displays of the tools that were used. It has been curated by Jane Rees who is President of the Tools and Trades History Society, an educational charity founded in 1983 to further the knowledge and understanding of hand tools and how they were used.
Know Your Place
Until 24th April the museum is hosting the Know Your Place project which has brought a  large interactive cube to the museum. There are touch screens to access extraordinary images from archives, museums and heritage collections across the West of England, to give a unique insight into the history of the places where we live, work and visit every day.

For the first time in one place, the touring exhibition tells the stories of the people who lived in the varied landscapes across the West of England – from Miners in Radstock to Peat-cutters in the Somerset levels, Moonrakers of Devizes, to Foresters in the Forest of Dean.

On 1 April from 12:00 - 3:00 we are Putting Radstock on the Map

Bring your memories and photos of Radstock to share with the teams from Know Your Place and Radstock Museum.

The friendly project team will be on hand to answer your questions, explore your area through time and, ultimately, aim to help you get to Know Your Place better…

Click here for more details

SCL Update

Work has continued on the Somerset Coalfield Life programme and visitors to the Museum will notice many minor changes already; the washing line outside the Cottage, the wheelwrights display outside the Forge, the James McMurtrie Parlour display improvements, the new Noticeboards at the front entrance, the list goes on. 

Now we have secured 2 significant grants (see below for details) we can implement some more major audio visual additions to the Mine and the Forge. In particular we are delighted that Bath College Creative Tech students are designing and building a Virtual Reality headset to compliment the Mine display.

If anyone has a children's mannequin that could be incorporated into the displays please contact the Development Co-ordinator, Miranda Litchfield (


Bygone Days talks are now over until the autumn.

The next Science in Radstock talk on Tuesday 21 Mar at 7:30 pm in the Working Men's club is an update on the changes in our understanding of the Solar System, given by Dr Roger Moses, a lecturer in Space Technology at the University of Bristol.

Full details are on the website 

Mothering Sunday Gifts 
It's the 26th March, in case you didn't know!  How about a gift that will last a whole year? Why not buy her 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.


We have a selection of books which are linked to our latest exhibition "Working with Hand Tools...the traditional way". 
We also have a new book for sale called Prams in the Garden: a pictorial history of the British perambulator, priced at £12.00. It is written by Jan and Geoff Swift who have been collecting, researching and restoring perambulators for twenty years. Illustrated with three hundred photographs of prams from their collection plus sixty five period photos and three hundred advert/catalogue images, 
We also have a new DVD for sale, price £10,  " A History of Somerset Coal Mining" narrated by the Museum's own Dennis Chedgy which has received excellent comments on Facebook:

I have just spent a brilliant hour watching the DVD A history of Somerset Coal Mining presented by Dennis Chedgy. I bought it for a tenner in the museum and cannot rcommend it highjly enough. It’s a must buy. You can even pop into the shop free of charge to buy a copy and visit the tearoom and try their wonderful cakes.

Work starts on the Clock Tower

Work will start on 23 March to scaffold the Clock Tower to enable the bell strike to be repaired and the clock dials and hands to be cleaned. 

In addition the source of the leak into the Research Room will be investigated and rectified, which will then enable the Research Room upgrade to be finished and the public to be given full access to the new PC based research tools.
Grant from Somerset Miners' Welfare Trust
(L to R, Clive Norman, (Treasurer SDMWT), Dr Nick Hall (Chair Radstock Museum), Francis Hiilier (Chair SDMWT), Bill Morris (Secretary SDMWT), Miranda Litchfield (Radstock Museum Development Coordinator)

Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum is delighted to receive the generous donation of £1000 from Somerset District Miners Welfare Trust (SDMWT)
The museum received the donation from Francis Hillier, Chair of the SMDWT. Francis, a former employee of the local coal mining industry, said the decision among the trustees of SDMWT was unanimous after they had read about the improvements planned for the museum.
Chair of the Museum, Dr Nick Hall, has explained that the donation will be used to remodel the museum’s coalmine attraction; the plan is for the mine to be extended and made more realistic and informative. One of the ideas is to have a mannequin of an “air door boy” sitting by the doorway into the mine. Boys as young as 5 years old worked down in the mines opening and closing doors to ventilate the mine creating a draft to keep the air flowing through the tunnels and prevent the buildup or poisonous gas. 
The Trustees, Curator, Development Officer and Volunteers of the Museum would like to thank the Somerset District Miners Welfare Trust for this wonderful donation.
Midsomer Norton Council Community Grant
A generous donation will help to complete the transformation of the forge at Radstock Museum, as part of the Somerset Coalfield Life programme.  The Volunteers, Curator and Trustees of the Museum are delighted to receive this Community Grant from Midsomer Norton Town Council, which will benefit the local economy and community by giving pleasure to local visiting schools, community groups and individual local visitors, many of whom live in Midsomer Norton. The Council regards the award of Community Grants as an important element in its portfolio of measures to improve the well-being  (economic, social and environmental) of the community of Midsomer Norton.
The grant will help to pay for a realistic glowing fire in the forge, a projector that will show images of a blacksmith working on the white washed walls of the forge, high quality information boards and improved labeling, and the introduction of sound effects and smells. Work has already begun on the transformation with the help of Richard Hoecker, a blacksmith and swordsmith from the Forge of Avalon; Richard helped Miranda Litchfield, Museum Development Coordinator, and a group of volunteers to set up the forge exactly as a blacksmith would use it.
The forge is now looking authentic and ready for the exciting audio, visual and sensory additions which the grant will enable.
Bygone Days S&D Talk and Film 

The first Bygone Days talk and film on the S&D Railway by Andrew Linham was hugely oversubscribed and so a repeat event was staged in the Somer Centre in Midsomer Norton last month. As you can see from the photo above, there was a very large audience who all enjoyed Andrew's repeat performance. Many thanks to Andrew for supporting the Bygone Days talks so magnificently.
French Students Visit

80 students from France aged around 15 visited the Museum on Thurs 23rd Feb. Kit Hall, a french speaker,  co-ordinated the event on the day aided linguistically by 2 of her former french speaking colleagues.  The students  enjoyed the full Victorian experience with the strict school lesson including learning the alphabet and times tables and an English song, They went down the mine where they learnt about the hard daily life of a miner and carting boy, witnessed the tough lives of the Victorian housewife and mother in the cottage and saw the way we used to shop in the Co-op. 

BANES Community Award Nomination

The hard work and dedication of Julie Dexter, the Five Arches Editor for 25 year and organiser of the annual Miners' Re-union, was recognised by her nomination for a BANES Council Chairman's Community Award in the category Volunteer Leader. The nomination was championed by Catherine Whybrow and was put forward by Brian Perret, the Chair of the Radstock Residents Association.
Cleaner School Visits
Trustee Tom Randall has cleaned up one of his 3 tin baths (the one cleaned for the museum was used for mixing plaster and carrying things around the garden!) for the education team to use. children on school visits can now take turns to sit in the bath - which will be used just outside the cottage on the tiled floor. You will be glad to know that real water is not involved!
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