The Radstock, Midsomer Norton and District Museum Society would like to warmly thank Dennis Herbert, its retiring Chairman, and warmly welcome Stephen Clews, newly elected Chairman, to the role.

The Radstock, Midsomer Norton and District Museum Society is the organisation which owns the collection of over 45,000

artefacts on display or stored at Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum.

Many of the artefacts were donated to the Museum by local people, including former coal miners and some were, and continue to be, purchased by the Museum Society when they come to light and are considered to be of local historical importance.

The Museum Society is run by a team of dedicated volunteers and for the last eight years, Dennis Herbert has been at the helm as Chairman. But now he has taken the decision to step down.

Dennis said: “It has been a privilege to be Chairman and to represent the Museum Society. Together with others, I have helped to keep the Society going through the dark days of the pandemic which has posed particular problems for museum collections across the country. As Radstock Museum fully reopens to the public and starts to provide new opportunities for people again, I wish my successor the very best and hope he finds this new role as interesting as I have done.”

Dennis is succeeded by Stephen Clews, who until recently, was the Manager of the Roman Baths & Pump Room in Bath and has been involved with the Museum Society as an advisor and subsequently Trustee since 1990.

Stephen said: “Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum is a fantastic small museum with great local collections lovingly cared for by its volunteer team. When Radstock Museum relocated to the Old Market Hall in central Radstock, it filled a huge gap in the cultural life of the area and at some point, has touched the lives of most local people.

“As Chairman, I will be representing the Museum Society at all kinds of events, meeting local people to tell them about the Museum, what it is and what it has to offer. Looking to the future, the Museum Society is keen to work to maintain the relevance of the collection to local people, encouraging imaginative and interactive displays, unearthing new stories, and finding new ways to encourage local people to participate in their heritage.”

Stephen has wide experience in the heritage field. He is currently Chairman of the Museums Association Benevolent Fund and locally of the Friends of Foxcote Church. He is also Treasurer of the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics and a Trustee of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. An archaeologist by training, he has worked on excavations in the UK and overseas and has always had a keen interest in local history, writing articles on a wide range of subjects.

The Museum Society is a charity which owns the collection and publishes the Five Arches local history journal. Its funds for looking after and adding to the collection come from its membership subscriptions and from bequests from generous members of the public such as former coal miners and history enthusiasts.

If you would like to become a member of the Museum Society just email: [email protected]. Members receive various benefits such as free entrance to the Museum, 10% discount in the Museum shop, free access to the Museum archive (by appointment) and discounts on legal services provided by Thatcher and Hallam.

The Museum Society is not to be confused with the separate charitable company, Radstock Museum Company. The company is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Museum, along with its running costs and maintenance of its building, with a separate board of Trustee Directors. Its Chairman is Simon Carter, who has recently stepped up to the role after the sad loss of the late Dr Nick Hall last year. The Radstock Museum Company also has a part time Manager and its own large team of volunteers. The income of the Museum Company comes from entrance fees, shop and tearoom profits, occasional grants, fundraising events and bequests, but it receives no regular Government funding.

If you would like to volunteer at Radstock Museum, email: [email protected] or go to: and follow the link to the volunteering page to see what roles are available.

Whilst emailing is the best way to get in touch initially, you are also welcome to call in to the Museum or ring: 01761 437722 to enquire about membership or volunteering.