Locally made clay tobacco pipes exhibition

Did you know that clay tobacco pipes were made in Chilcompton, Oakhill, Stratton-on-the-Fosse and Leigh-on-Mendip? Come and see some of these locally made pipes at Radstock Museum.

Clay pipe making in the Radstock, and north-east Mendips area is the subject of a new display at Radstock Museum. Remnants of clay tobacco pipes can be found almost anywhere, even in your garden. The industry started in Norton St Philip in around 1620, and the early apprentices subsequently started their own workshops in the Mendip parishes where they grew up. The display has been put together by Marek Lewcun, whose mother Daphne was descended from the pipe maker Thomas Whittock. There will be a display of pipes made in the area, and there will be information panels with copies of old documents to accompany them.

The area can also boast one of the most infamous pirates of the nineteenth century, a fact which was not known until just one year ago. Born in Shepton Mallet, William Watts served as an apprentice to a pipe maker in Ashwick, but his life quickly descended into a life of crime. His trial was an international sensation, and he was the last pirate to be hanged at Execution Dock in London in 1830. To find out the full story, come and visit the exhibition.

The History of Methodism In Our Local Area

Did you know that several local Methodist Chapels were built by coal miners, with their own money and their bare hands?

Deeply embedded in the mining and later, the railway community, Methodist spirituality sustained people through hard times, especially the 1908 Norton Hill mine disaster, and the First World War. Local residents recall Sunday School outings to the seaside and all the fun of the youth clubs and choirs. Several Chapels, such as the Westfield Primitive Methodist Church (1861), were built by the miners themselves, with their money, and their bare hands. The earliest foundation stone found so far, is in Combend, Radstock and dated 1810.

This exhibitiion will focus on: Central Methodist Church Fortescue Road, Clandown Wesley Chapel, The United Methodist Free Church Wells Hill, Westfield Wesleyan Chapel, Writhlington Methodist Chapel, Frome Road Methodist Chapel. Both exhbitions will run from August 23rd until November 30th 2020.