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News Update - July 2016

If you have tried to phone us recently you will know that our phone line has been misbehaving but thanks to help from a local firm, Protel Communications, it is now back in action.

A few dates for your diary in this edition:
Until 17 July the Somerset & Dorset Railway 50th anniversary exhibition
9 July - S&D Railway book signing and talk at Museum
23 July - Organ Recital at St Peter's Camerton in aid of the Market Hall Clock
15 August - Children's event at the Museum
Until 1 September - Children's trail around Museum

Full details are below and on the website.


S & D Railway Trust Exhibition

From 17 June to 17 July the Museum is hosting a mobile exhibition compiled by the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust which is based in Washford. The exhibition is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and celebrates the 50th anniversary of the closure of the S&D Railway in March 1966. Some of the exhibits will remain in the Museum for the summer holidays.

The S&DRT held its AGM in the Museum and during the afternoon visitors enjoyed special informal events connected with the S&D Railway, including a talk by Mike Beale on the legacy of the S&D Railway and Kate McStraw presenting her  ‘Museum of Memory’ – a curious travelling exhibition / installation which contains an array of jars, each housing an object associated with a story.

On Saturday 9 July at 2 pm Steph Gillett will give an informal talk in the Museum (normal Museum entrance charges apply) and will then sign copies of his book The Somerset and Dorset Railway through time (£14.99) in the shop (free entry). The book is a wonderful collection of photographs of the S & D railway in operation, after abandonment and during the present day. 
It is available in the
Museum Shop together with Somerset and Dorset Swansong by Bob Bunyar (£14.95) and many other books about the history of railways in this area.

The Clock

The project to upgrade the Market Hall clock is starting work shortly on replacing the defective lighting system, thanks to the grant we received from Big Local Dragons' Den. 
Grant applications and fund raising continues to raise enough money for the next step which is to repair the strike mechanism, which will require scaffolding of the clock tower for access. At the same time we will also be able to do maintenance on the Museum roof in that area.
Fundraising Organ Recital
We are grateful to St Peter's Church in Camerton for its support to the Market Hall clock project. It is hosting a fundraising Organ Recital by Rory Moules on Saturday July 23rd at 7:30pm. 
Tickets are £5, which includes tea/coffee and cake, and are available in advance in the Museum during normal opening hours or on the door at the event.

The recital will include works by Sweelinck, Buxtehude, Bach, Mendelssohn, Widor and Bridge.

In addition to the recital there will be displays relating to the Church’s stained glass windows, local needlecraft and photos/pictures of Rectors of Camerton across the ages, including of course John Skinner.
Rory attended Downside School and is now an organ scholar at Keble College, Oxford, where he also holds an academic scholarship. Rory accompanies the chapel choir for services several times a week, playing on the renowned new Tickell organ, as well as in concerts and on tours. 

For more details see our website

Summer 2016 Family Activities

School holidays do not have to be boring and at Radstock Museum there is plenty to entertain the whole family from 19 July until 1 September. You can even pretend to be back at school if you miss it!.

Children's Event Monday 15 August

Between 2:00 and 4:30 pm we are running an activity and games afternoon themed on trains, with plenty to do for children aged 4 - 12. The tearoom and shop will be open and there is a small charge for materials per child, who must be accompanied by an adult for whom there is no charge. More details will be on the website.

Children's Trail

Have a look around the museum in the company of the imaginary Steggles Family. You can buy the booklet (£1.50) and let them take you around some of the exhibits explaining how life was when they lived in Radstock more than 100 years ago.

Upstairs enjoy some memorabilia from the days when steam trains passed through Radstock and two level crossings caused chaos.
Try on the dressing up clothes and take your photo against the market backdrop. 
We also have a new stock of pocket-money gifts and toys for sale in the shop.
Don’t forget to ask the steward for a sticker before you leave!


There are new pages on the Museum website for you to look at. We have recently organised the 200+ titles that we stock in the SHOP into seven categories – to make things easier for you to browse on-line.
The categories that we have listed are:
New in the Shop
Coalmines, Mining and Local Industries
Local People and Places
Railways and Canals
Walks and Maps
You can also search these pages (and the rest of the website) by using the Search tool in the top menu bar. Search on a word in the book title or by the author if you already know what you are looking for. You can use this Search tool to find articles of interest in the Special Issues and the Back Catalogue of Five Arches Journal.

The books are all available to buy from the Shop, during normal Museum opening hours, or we can arrange for Mail Order. Please see the shop page for full details.

Autistic Eye

We have just set up a partnership with Autistic Eye which is a local Radstock social enterprise ( that was set up to print, publicise and sell artwork by people with Autism. We have a selection of their greetings cards for sale at £1.50 each.


To coincide with the museum's current exhibition Gone but Not Forgotten S&D 50 we have a fresh supply of Somerset and Dorset Railway prints in the shop. It is well worth coming into the shop to see them and to choose your favourite.

Two well known pictures by the late David Fisher - "Wait for us!" (medium £40) and "Let the Battle Commence" (large £70) are for sale mounted but not framed with full infomation about the scenes depicted and about the artist. 

And a number of railway scenes by Roger Jones are available mounted but unframed at £39.00.


French Students Visit

The Museum has recently been visited by a group of 49 French year 8 students from the Collège le Réflessoir in Bléré who were spending a week with families in Westbury as part of their English studies. The students had a great time in the Museum experiencing what academic, domestic and industrial life was like in Somerset in Victorian times.  We hope to host similar visits over the coming years.
This picture shows the students, with some assistance from a Museum volunteer, using the infamous Guss and Crook which was used by young lads to drag coal from the coalface.

Peasedown Primary Visit


We were also visited by 25 Year 4 pupils from Peasedown St John Primary school as part of their Heritage Lottery Funded project about miners and the First World War undertaken in conjunction with Bath Philharmonia
They spent an afternoon in the Museum where they were able to look at the history of the local mining industry. The time spent in the simulated mine really brought home to them the dark and claustrophobic conditions that their ancestors had to endure. The pupils also looked at WW1 artefacts and used all the ideas these generated in their songwriting.
Their composition reflecting on Peasedown during WW1 was performed in the School Hall in front of  members of the village community and a representative from the Museum's education team.

Gas Lamp Banner

The Museum's gas lamp in the Memorial Garden opposite the Market Hall is now displaying a banner which advertises the Museum's presence.
Museum Society New Acquisitions

The Museum Society has recently acquired another brass polehead for its growing Friendly Society collection. This new one is from Paulton and dates back to the mid nineteenth century. It would have been mounted on the top of a slim pole about six feet long and each member of the Village Club would have carried one at the annual Club Walk when the society paraded through the village, usually on Whit Monday each year. The club held its annual Club Day dinner at the Winterfield Inn.
The Paulton Club, known locally as "The Old Revel Club" was finally dissolved in the 1880s. Many villages had such clubs which were designed to support their members in times of sickness and unemployment, and each member would contribute a small sum each week for this purpose. Last year the Society also acquired a polehead of similar age from Stratton-on-the-Fosse, and it is hoped that the Friendly Society display in the museum will soon be revamped to incorporate these latest acquisitions.


5 Arches Journal 

The summer issue of Five Arches should be available by late July. We'll be marking the centenary of the Somme and looking at some things from new angles, including Dunkerton Colliery and one of the items on display in the museum.
Copyright © 2016 Radstock Museum, All rights reserved.

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