11am: Kingswood Heritage Museum Bank Holiday Opening
Kingswood Heritage Museum
The Museum is open from 11.00am to 5.00pm on Easter, May and August Bank Holiday weekends; in 2017 the remaining dates are:
- Saturday 29th, Sunday 30th April and Monday 1st May (May Day)
- Saturday 26th, Sunday 27th and Monday 28th August (Late Summer Bank Holiday)
Look around one of the most extensive man-made grottoes in England, not normally open to the public, during one of these special open weekends (please note that the Grottoes are not open for the Easter Bank Holiday or on any of the Bank Holiday Saturdays).
Admission £3.50 (includes entrance to the Warmley grottoes).
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 19, 19a , 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.
Fifty years ago a major part of the local business community closed its doors for the last time, after over a hundred years. That was the end of the Haskins Pottery, made in Warmley on a site only a stone's throw from Kingswood Heritage Museum.
But you won't be likely to drink your tea from any of the factory's products, because the business made pipes and other items for commercial and industrial uses. The clay was fired in huge furnaces, and the best known, built in 1912 and shown in the attached photo, was named “Titanic”, after as the famous liner.
Kingswood Heritage Museum is privileged to open its new season with a display about the Haskins firm. The exhibition features not only the products of the business, including its very last pipe of millions (pictured in the attached photo), but also memories of the people who worked there.
The Museum opened for its 2017 season on 1 April, and you can visit on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays until 28 November from 2.00pm until 5.00pm, and on Bank Holidays between 11.00am and 5.00pm.
Kingswood Heritage Museum's volunteers have been at work creating new exhibits for 2017, and refurbishing last year's displays.
As well as the feature on Haskins Pottery of Warmley, new subjects for this season include a commemoration of the opening of Cossham Hospital one hundred and ten years ago, in June 1907, and a special exhibition centred on Staple Hill.
At the same time, many of the regular attractions, like the successful display celebrating the local corsetmaking business, are being revised and updated for the new year. The picture shows Alan Chillcott, assisted by Alan Bryant, fixing a new ceiling for the 1950s room.
Alan Bryant, Joint Museum Curator, said: “We are very much looking forward to the 2017 season, and as usual we welcome contributions from local people to add to our knowledge of the area. Anyone with a story to tell, or artefacts for display, is encouraged to contact us at .”
A regular feature of the Spring (end of May) Bank Holiday is the Douglas Motorbike Rally and Cavalcade, attracting Douglas motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the country.
Come along to see dozens of vintage motorcycles, talk to their riders/owners and watch as they move off on the Sunday to ride the old factory test route.
The world famous Douglas bikes were built in Kingswood from 1907 to 1957. Some 25,000 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.
Bill Douglas, great grandson of the founders of the firm, said: “It is always a stirring sight to see the bikes in action, and we expect a big turnout around the area to watch the cavalcade”.
The line up opens at 11am, and the run - along one of the former bike testing circuits via the Chew Valley - begins at noon.
Men in Sheds has set up a 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.