History Detectives: The First World War
Kingswood Heritage Museum
Kingswood Heritage Museum is setting up a new kids’ club for the summer holidays. Called 'History Detectives', it will give local children in the 7-11 age range the chance to investigate the many aspects of local and national history exhibited in the Museum.
The sessions will be led by Nicola Mansfield, who graduated in archaeology from Bristol University. Nicola said: “I have always been fascinated by the story of the past in our area, and I am very excited at the chance to involve young people in that story.”
The two hour sessions will be held at the Museum every Thursday morning, starting on 4 August. The four periods covered will be Roman Britain, Mediaeval England, the Victorian era and the First World War.
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The Museum is located in the former Champion Brass Works, at Tower Lane, Warmley BS30 8XT, just off the A4174 Avon Ring Road (Cadbury Heath exit). Buses 17A, 19, 42 and 43 stop nearby.
Enjoy free parking, toilets, refreshments and a book and gift shop.
Kingswood Heritage Museum is open on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm to 5pm, April to November.
It also opens on Bank Holiday weekends (including Mondays) from 11am to 5pm.
The grotto and gardens are open at Bank Holiday weekends but only on the Sunday and Monday (ie not the Saturday).
The Museum is closed December to March inclusive.
We are always pleased to entertain group visits from schools and local societies, and refreshments can be provided.
Interested parties should make contact via email to or by telephone at 0117 960 5664.
Kingswood Heritage Museum is hosting a series of monthly talks about subjects of interest to local people.
These range from the wine and tobacco business to local tram services - and the delights of day trips to Severn Beach!
Keep an eye on the events calendar and this page for details of individual events.
August's talk is given by the expert on trams in the Bristol area, Peter Davey.
Peter tells the story of the tram service to Kingswood from the beginning in the late nineteenth century to its premature end as the result of German bombs.
The picture shows trams awaiting disposal at the Kingswood depot after the shutdown.
The latest Kingswood Heritage Museum exhibition, devoted to our local secondary schools and their history since World War II, was formally opened on 6 July.
Professor Colin Pillinger, formerly Professor of Physical Sciences at the Open University, and originator of the Beagle 2 mission to Mars, was one of the most notable local “old boys” and his life is featured in the exhibition.
It was therefore fitting that it was launched by Doreen Lindegaard, the professor’s sister, photographed with curator Alan Bryant.
The invited guests included local people who had loaned items from their schooldays for the exhibition.
The Museum has a number of relevant photos and artefacts collected over the years, covering the following schools:
Many visitors to this site will have been taught at these places of learning.
A group of American students recently visited Kingswood Heritage Museum under the auspices of the Fulbright Summer Institute.
The teenagers came from all over the USA, from California to New Jersey, and are seen with the statue of Neptune in the gardens at Warmley.
The 25th anniversary Douglas Rally and Cavalcade on 2016's May Bank Holiday proved as big a draw as usual, with big crowds lining the street for the start of the run.
This year there was the added attraction of the visit of members of the Vespa Club of Great Britain's South West section.
The world famous Douglas motorbikes were built in Kingswood from 1907 to 1957. Some 25000 were constructed for military use in the First World War.
Kingswood Heritage Museum has a major exhibit featuring the marque, including one of the machines designed for war time despatch riders. The bikes were regular winners of the Isle of Man TT races.
The Douglas Company saw the potential in the Italian scooter after World War II, and started making Vespas under licence in 1951. A sidecar was introduced in 1952.
By the time production ceased in 1962 126,230 had been built. The 125cc model was marketed at just under £150, including purchase tax.
Men in Sheds has set up a new branch at Kingswood Heritage Museum, and is looking to welcome new members.
The group provides an exciting opportunity for men (and women) to work in wood and other materials on their own projects, using the workshop and tools belonging to the Museum. Members can also create and repair mechanical items in the workshop.
The concept was initiated in the UK by the charity AgeUK, but is now an independently run organisation. It has some 250 branches in the UK, with 90 new groups in the process of forming. There are two established branches in the Bristol area.
Mervyn Bishop, one the new group's organisers, says: “What we seek to do is to provide a safe and friendly atmosphere where people can work - on their own or with others - on projects of their own choosing and at their own pace.”
The group meets at Kingswood Heritage Museum on Thursday mornings, starting at 9.30am. Other sessions will be added as more members join.
Mervyn adds: “For more information, contact me via , or leave a message for me at the Museum (phone 0117 960 5664) - or just come along. You'll be very welcome!”
A major historical feature in the care of Kingwood Heritage Museum is only open to the public at large for a few days each year, so do not miss the chance to visit.
Shaun Gibbs, one of the Museum's experts on the attraction, calls it "an eighteenth century theme park".
Shaun adds: "When William Champion's zinc making business in Warmley became successful in the late eighteenth century, he built himself an elegant and imposing new house at the heart of his works. The surrounding gardens he added were particularly impressive, laid out in the then popular Dutch style.
"A focal point was the large lake which was not only ornamental but also provided the water supply for the works. In the centre of the lake was a ten metre high stature of the god Neptune with his trident. This is still there, and is believed to be the largest garden statue now standing in the country.
"An essential feature of any large garden of that era was a grotto, and Champion's is thought to be the most extensive man-made grotto surviving. It was probably based on the example at Goldney House, in Clifton, Bristol, built by Champion's uncle, but - uniquely - was comprised mainly of the same black clinker waste from the factory that adorns Neptune."
See the events calendar for upcoming dates.
Kingswood Heritage Museum is based in the Brassworks built by William Champion, an 18th Century Quaker industrialist, with Warmley Historic Gardens alongside.
Come inside to...
Kingswood Heritage Museum welcomes friends and volunteers to support a wide range of activities.
Friends get free admission to all events and receive a newsletter with event details.
Meetings are held at the Museum on the second Thursday of February, April, June, August, October and December at 7.30pm to plan fundraising and work co-ordination.
If you would like to help with displays or events, or would like to join the Friends Scheme, please get in touch.