Welcome to Radstock Museum News Update
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News Update - February 2018

Items in this Update cover:
  • Dates for your diary
  • Current Exhibitions
  • Forthcoming RADCO Exhibition - information needed
  • Somerset Coalfield Life programme latest news
  • Shop
  • Tearoom
  • Talks programme
  • News
Full details are below or on our website.
Dates for your Diaries

March  6th    Bygone Days Talk:  "Beauchamp Family History"

March 20th   Science in Radstock Talk:  "Driverless Cars"

Details of all the events and exhibitions are here

"From Douai to Downside: a story in words and objects"

Compiled by the archivists at Downside Abbey, the exhibition includes objects, photographs and letters from significant moments in Downside’s history, such as a 17th century map, a portable altar used by one of the monks in the Boer War, and original photographs of the building of Downside.
Concurrent Mini Exhibitions

Alongside the main exhibition there are 2 smaller exhibitions running.
The first in a single cabinet shows some medical memorabilia including a textbook published in 1800 showing the detailed, hand coloured, anatomical drawings used by medical students and surgeons in the 19th Century .

We will be turning the pages of this book to reveal a new image week by week.

The second is a small display of examples of the work of local artist, the late Christopher Marshall, shown in the photo below. 
His widow Chris and her sons Keith and James have generously given Radstock Museum the copyright to Christopher’s drawings as a lasting tribute to his memory by helping raise funds for the Museum.
Christopher’s beautiful and detailed drawings have also been carefully reproduced onto good quality mugs, coasters, jotters and fridge magnets on sale in the shop.  

Forthcoming RADCO Exhibition

Information and Artefacts  Required 
We are hoping you can help us and Radco celebrate 150 years since they opened their first shop in Radstock. We will be holding an exhibition on the History of Radstock Co-op in the summer of 2018 and would love to hear from you if you have any documents or artefacts. Or if you worked there in the past and can tell us about your job and how it differed from the jobs staff carry out today.

We are especially interested in the Co-op shops in the surrounding villages which are part of the Radco group. Old photos and any memories and artefacts from these shops would be really appreciated.

Please contact Nalda Morrissey from RADCO on 01761 430219 or e mail 

Somerset Coalfield Life Update
Virtual Reality Ride

The new Virtual Reality Ride is now available at weekends to visitors at no additional charge, following its official launch on 7th February.

The guests at the launch included the Chairman and representatives of the Somerset District Miners' Welfare Trust, and Roz Bonnet from the SW Museum Development Programme both of which helped with grants. 

Patrick Withey and other members of Black Hound Productions and students from Peasedown St John Primary School were also on hand to add to the occasion. 

Group photo below courtesy of Mark Sadler Mendip Times
We were very fortunate that Catherine Allen, a BAFTA winning immersive media specialist, was able to attend and sample the new ride herself.  She praised the work of Georgina Hill and Barry Lewis from Bath College / Bath University who collaborated to develop and implement the ride for the final project of their course, gaining them both a Foundation Degree in Applied Computing.

The Museum is very grateful for all the hard work which Georgina and Barry have put into making this ride such a great success with our visitors.

Volunteering Opportunity on the Virtual Reality Ride

The ride is open between 11 am and 5 pm on Saturdays and between 2 and 5 pm on Sundays.
If you would like to help with managing this ride from time to time and ensuring that the visitors get the most out of the experience, then please get in touch with the Museum by emailing:
The Bread Van
Thanks to the expertise, historical knowledge, generosity and hard work of two of our volunteers, Martin Horler and Tom Randall, the Co-op Breadvan and its horse (Trigger) are now resplendent with two restored lamps, the right length of reins hooked up under the canopy so they are now in the correct 'parked' position and finally a harness maker's brass (Emm of Paulton) which is fixed to the noseband of the bridle.

The Albion Press
We are grateful to Peter Leach of JFDi Print Services Ltd who has given the Albion Press a major service, so that it is now capable of printing again, although having had a hard working life it is not capable of the quality it could achieve when new!

The photo shows 6 year old Jonah who visited the Museum with his granddad. He was lucky enough to meet Peter Leach, who helped him print this lovely Valentine's day message. 

Our next aim is to refurbish other presses which are in the Museum, so that we can offer  printing events from time to time.
The Shop
Mail Order

The new mail order process, fully described on the website, is working well. We would like to emphasise that although orders can be paid for through Paypal, you do not have to sign up for a Paypal account, you just have to use a credit or debit card.
Memorabilia Packs

The shop now stocks a range of these packs costing £5.95, which each contain replicas of items associated with its theme. Of particular resonance at this time are packs about the Suffragettes and about Winston Churchill.

Each pack contains a selection of approx. 15-18 high quality reproduced paper memorabilia items. Typical contents include booklets, leaflets, newspapers, postcards, letters, trade cards and so on. The process of reproduction is complex, involving careful scanning, folding, stitching and paper sourcing.


For children who enjoy our ammonite trail, we now sell ammonites for them to decorate in their own style.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel

New into the shop is Robin Jones' book  "Brunel - Engineer Extraordinaire" priced at £4.99.

The Tearoom
The Tearoom transformation into Southern Region Railway livery is now complete.

To go with the new decor we have enhanced the range of cakes on sale and the new items have been very well received, particularly the home baked flapjacks.

 Full details are on the website.

Bygone Days
The next Bygone Days Talk is on Tuesday 6th March at 7:30 pm in Midsomer Norton Town Hall (NB the change of venue for this talk) when Councillor Paul Myers, Midsomer Norton's Mayor, will talk about the history of the Beauchamp Family who owned many of the local collieries.
Science in Radstock

Driverless cars are on their way. Will they revolutionise our lives or just be a bump in the road that no-one notices?

Join Jonathan Flower on Tuesday 20th March at 7:30 pm in the Radstock Working Men's Club to hear his talk  "Driverless Cars - All change or no change?" which is all about the latest research on how driverless cars may, or may not, change the way we travel. 

Somer Valley Radio Programme

The Museum's weekly hour long radio show "The Yesterday Programme" presented by Lucy Tudor and Miranda Litchfield is broadcast on Somer Valley Radio 97.5FM, DAB and online at 10 am every Wednesday and Friday, with occasional gaps for holidays! It is also available as a podcast so you can catch up with any programme which you might have missed or listen to some of the interviews you enjoyed over again. 

The new show is complete with local history stories, what’s on at the museum and music. Although neither Miranda nor Lucy are experts on history, they are both building a good knowledge and will also gather material from the museum’s volunteer research team and the Five Arches team who produce the museum’s tri-annual publication packed with local history.

They have also had a steep learning curve with radio studio technology and interviewing techniques, but thanks to the help of Dom Chambers they  are now confident to produce and edit the programmes.

If you have anything to add to any local story you hear on the programme, or you have any artefacts which connect to it then please get in touch with the Museum by e mail, .
We are very grateful that we have just received news of 3 generous grants.

The grants from the Museum Friends and from the Ralph and Irma Sperring Trust will help to provide a new CCTV system for the safety and security of visitors and volunteers in the Museum.

The grant from Radstock Town Council will go towards the design, production and distribution of new publicity leaflets for the Museum, which we hope will attract more visitors to the Museum and to Radstock Town.

Pancake Pandemonium
Over the half-term week the Museum opened its doors for a children's event entitled Pancake Pandemonium which was enjoyed by nearly 100 visitors.

Although the pancakes were cardboard, the real thing was available in the Tearoom!

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