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News Update - September 2018

Items in this Update cover:
  • Dates for your diary
  • Exhibitions
  • Events
  • Theatre in the Museum
  • Talks
  • Shop
  • News
Full details are below or on our website.
Dates for your Diaries

Oct 2nd       Bygone Days talk

Oct 16th      Science in Radstock talk

Oct 27th      "Trash or Treasure" Event

Oct 29th      Annual Fossil Hunt

Oct 29th      Extended Museum opening hours
- Nov 3rd

Nov 1st       Autumn-Fest Children's activity morning

Nov 4th       Museum SHUT
- 12th

Nov 8th       Play "At the going down of the sun" 
- 11th 

Details of all the events and exhibitions are here

New Exhibition

WORLD WAR I …how it changed us 1914-24

The aim of the exhibition is to bring into focus the changes that were brought by the advent of a World War; these were both social and industrial.

We demonstrate the changes by highlighting the developments that took place in the Somerset Coalfield villages.  The changes were obviously very subtle and took place gradually over the years, proving a shock for the men when they returned from the war and found that women were doing the jobs once considered only a male province.

Buckland Dinham is able to give an agricultural view whereas Paulton and Clutton have an industrial flavour, and Camerton and Shoscombe border both spheres.

The exhibition has an interesting display of postcards; a form of rapid communication that came to the fore in this period. And medals and memorial plaques with a variety of war memorabilia and village history artefacts are also on show.

Included is the story of the Beauchamp Girls of Welton; presented by Museum Trustee and Local Historian, Tom Randall.

WI Village Models

We are also grateful to three local WIs (Timsbury, Radstock and Farrington Gurney) who have lent us the prize-winning models of their towns or villages (shown above) which they made for a competition celebrating the 80th year of the Camdyke WI Group . 

Trash or Treasure Fundraising Event
27 October
Last year the Museum and Killens (Mendip Auction Rooms) ran a very successful "Trash or Treasure" fund-raising event where people could bring items for valuation by experts at a cost of £1 per item or set of items. 

Killens very generously also donated their commission on any items which were subsequently sold in their Mendip Auction Rooms. The Museum was able to put this money towards installation of images on the shop windows, which should be completed very shortly.

We are repeating the event this year with the aim of helping to pay for installation of photographs on the schoolroom windows.

Sort through your lofts and garages, and come along on Saturday 27 October from 10am - 4pm at the Somer Centre, Midsomer Norton. Refreshments available and no charge for entry.

Full details on
our website.
Half Term Events 29 Oct - 4 Nov
Extended Opening Hours

We hope to be able to get enough volunteers to cover all the necessary roles during extended Museum opening hours during the half term week. 

This would mean the Museum being open every day, including Monday 29 Oct, from 11 am - 5 pm, except for Thursday 1 Nov when there is the Autumn-Fest event between 10 am and 12 pm followed by normal opening from 2 - 5 pm.

Please consult with our website nearer the time to check when we are open in addition to our normal hours.

Halloween VR Ride
We have a special Halloween edition of the VR Mine experience which will be available in late October and early November.

Are you brave enough to go down the mine at Halloween?
Annual Fossil Hunt - Monday 29 October
The Fossil Hunt on a local coal batch will take place on Monday October 29 between 2 and 4 pm. Please meet at the Wheel opposite the Museum promptly, to sign up and join the walk to the batch.

Safety goggles will be provided but please bring a small hammer. Outdoor clothing, including strong shoes or wellies are essential for children and adults. 

Please note that this activity is not suitable for under fives or buggies/wheelchairs. All other children must be accompanied by an adult who is responsible for their safety.

As part of BANES Museums Week the event is free to Discovery Card holders and their children, any donations towards our costs would be much appreciated.

The event may be cancelled in bad weather - see Website or Facebook on the day if in doubt.

Autumn-Fest Children's Event

Thursday 1 November 10 am - 12 pm
An activity morning for children with lots of games, arts and crafts including apple bobbing, throwing the beanbag through the pumpkin's mouth, making lanterns, corn dolls and bird feeder fat balls and loads more.

Some of our volunteers will be dressed as scarecrows, so if you can too that would add to the atmosphere!

It's harvest time so PLEASE, if you can, bring a donation of dried or tinned food which the museum is collecting for the local food bank.

Full details on Facebook and our website
Children's Halloween Treasure Hunt

27 October - 3 November
Come and find all 10 of our spooky Halloween pictures hidden around the Museum, colour in the Halloween scene on your picture sheet and then claim your free prize from the cauldron in the Tearoom.
Theatre in the Museum

At the Going Down of the Sun

Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum and Black Hound Productions  (a local youth theatre group) proudly present  "At The Going Down Of The Sun" , a play to commemorate the centenary of the end of WWI.  

This is a novel event for the Museum and this production fits totally with our current exhibition and with the centenary of the end of the First World War. 

There are performances in the Museum at 7:30 pm on 8 and 9 Nov, at 2:30 and 7:30 pm on 10 Nov and a matinee at 4:00 pm on 11 Nov after the Remembrance Sunday ceremonies at the memorial outside the Museum. Doors open 1 hour before curtain up and there will be a bar before and after the production.

Tickets are £10 and will be available from the museum admissions desk shortly, or you can book online (which will incur a small booking charge) using this link where you can also find out more details about the play and Black Hound Productions.

We are delighted to be able to give space for a talented band of local young people to show their skills and we hope that you can all support this venture.

In order to accommodate the play the Museum will be SHUT from 4 Nov until 12 Nov (inclusive).

Bygone Days

The Kilmersdon Gravity Incline and Colliery,

by Norman Andrew.

7:30 pm Tuesday October 2nd
Somer Centre, Midsomer Norton

Bygone Days talks are on the first Tuesday of the month and the first talk, in October, is all about the Kilmersdon Gravity Incline and Colliery.

It is a “then and now” talk, based around Norman’s childhood memories and his recent re-visit to the area, with illustrations 
about the operation of the coal wagon incline and the basic workings of the pit taken in the context of the Somerset coalfields back in the day.

As a train spotting youth in the sixties Norman spent every summer holiday with his grandma Marshall in Radstock. His uncle Bill worked down Kilmersdon pit at Haydon and Norman played on the railway!

Full details are on our website.

Science in Radstock

“Using other minds: Should robots become our new best friends?”
by Rob Wortham, University of Bath.

7:30pm Tuesday October 16th
Radstock Working Men’s Club
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all around us: from Siri to Google to Facebook, we interact with AI every day. AI powers the new generation of sophisticated autonomous robots which soon might drive our cars and trucks, teach our children at school and help our elderly to live more independent lives.

In this talk Rob Wortham will explain how and why we mis-understand robots when we encounter them, why AI can be a very powerful tool for manipulation and deception and why we need international standards to regulate AI for the benefit of all.

Rob Wortham is currently a Teaching Fellow in Robotics at the University of Bath and is particularly interested in robots within domestic or near-domestic environments.

Admission: £3.00. Under 18 years FREE. 
Full details are on our website.

Mendip Engineering and the Mendip Car has been re-printed and is now in the Museum shop in time to be bought for that all important Christmas gift!  It includes a CD recording of Bill Curtis, steam wagon driver, talking about his work at Cutler’s Green before WW1.

The book was reviewed in The Automobile magazine, which said,

”The book contains many previously unseen images, including Mendip catalogues for commercials and steamers, and is in every way a model of what a one-make history should be.”
We have a new book in the Museum shop's Somerset section - Pioneers in Practice: the Vets of Garston House by Lorraine Johnson priced at £18.00.

The story that emerges from this book is one that both inspires and astounds, for the Garston Vets were truly revolutionary. From the ground-breaking work caring for the exotic animals at the Chipperfield family inspired Longleat Safari Park to innovative research and study of early vaccines for farm animals, the vets were true pioneers.

Whether performing a Caesarean section on a camel, stitching a lion’s wounds in an enclosure surrounded by the rest of the pride, undertaking a post mortem on a budgie, or treating a sick tapir – such tasks were all in a day’s work for the vets of Garston House. The life of a country vet in this practice was not for the faint-hearted but it was most certainly never dull.


New Addition to the Collection
The latest addition to the Museum collection is a Mells Friendly Society brass pole head (approximately 30cm high), acquired for the Society in a recent auction sale.

The Mells Friendly Society was founded in 1844 and was still in existence in 1930. Their meetings were held in the school in New Street and, in common with many other similar societies, their feast day was Whit Monday, when the membership, dressed in their finery and carrying their brasses mounted on 6-foot poles, would parade through the village before enjoying a lunch and a variety of entertainment which often included games and dancing.

Records are virtually non-existent, but do survive for a period between 1863 and 1873, during which time the average membership was about 70 and, in 1873, the society’s capital amounted to the incredible sum of £1662, equivalent to £190,000 today! 

The Kilmersdon Time Clock
The Time Clock from the Kilmersdon Colliery is now in place at the entrance to the mine. The clock mechanism is being re-furbished by Timsbury Clocks and we hope to have it back soon.

The Summer Square Draw
The Summer Squares draw has taken place with Francis Hillier (Chairman of the Somerset District Miner's Welfare Trust) drawing the 3 winners from the cap held by Museum Volunteer Janette Stock, organiser of the Museum's stalls at local village events.

Thank you to all who bought tickets helping to raise vital funds for the Museum. 

The Annual Miners' Re-union
On 3 September Volunteers once again opened the Museum doors to welcome former mine employees to the annual reunion. The first reunion was back in 1989 at the original museum site at Barton Mead, when ex miners gathered over tea and cake. 

The event is supported by the Somerset Miners Welfare Trust and the Radstock Cooperative Society, which means that those attending enjoy a ploughman's lunch and glass of beer, as well as the more traditional tea and cake. This year, new sponsor Lye Cross Farm supplied the organic cheddar.

And to mark the 30th reunion, Museum stalwart Dennis Chedgy offered an additional treat in the form of a special slide show. Starting with a brief history of the coalfield, Dennis took the gathered men back to their days in the last of Somerset’s coal mines and shared a few memories from previous reunions. 
With each passing year there are fewer men who remember what it was like to work in the local coal industry. Sadly some have passed on in the last twelve months and others, including Bill Morris, John Denning and Robert Bailey were prevented from joining this gathering due to ill-health.

Event organiser Julie Dexter paid tribute to the team of volunteers who make the event possible: to former mine workers Bryn Hawkins and Mo Dury who helped with the table and chairs; to Robyn Dexter-Attwood who helps with the set up on the Sunday; to Sylvia Chedgy, Carole Cocks and Sue Sullivan who help with the lunch; and to Dave Cocks, Mike Dexter, Nick Hall and Dennis Chedgy who fill in the gaps wherever needed.  
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