Forge Mill Needle Museum, Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre, Redditch, Worcestershire

skip to content | skip to navigation

Places to visit in Worcestershire. Places to visit in West Midlands. Museums in Worcestershire. Museums in West Midlands. Worcestershire Museums. West Midlands Museums. Tourist attractions in Worcestershire. Tourist attractions in West Midlands.

accessibility help | site map | graphics version | text version

Forge Mill Needle Museum, Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre
IN THE NEWS - 2011

August 2011: All aboard for museum treats


Forge Mill Museum's Keeper of Collections Jo-Ann Gloger gets to grips with sharks. Picture by Marcus Mingins.

Ahoy mateys and set sail for an adventure at Forge Mill Needle Museum this weekend.

The Needle Mill Lane museum is holding a special All at Sea event day on Sunday (August 7) where visitors will be able to learn a series of swashbuckling skills at pirate school including how to fire a cannon and wield a cutlass.

There will also be a pirate puppet show to enjoy and the chance to join the hunt for Bordesley Bill's treasure.

Redditch Chinese Association will also be offering kite-making and flying lessons. Face-painting, a galleon bouncy castle and balloon modelling are just some of the other activities on offer.

The even runs from 11am until 4pm and admission costs £4.45 for adults with children free.

The day is being held to coincide with the museum's Shark! exhibition which runs until September 11 and features facts about shark biology and behaviour, replica models and a sea monster interactive.

Redditch Standard, 5 August 2011

August 2011: Town blooms as the judges visit


Nicola Clarke and Mike Garwood from Heart of England in Bloom at Forge Mill.

Judges from Heart of England in Bloom have been to Redditch to see what has been done to enhance the town.

As part of the annual In Bloom competition, the judges received a presentation at the Palace Theatre and visited the town centre, Arrow Valley Park, Forge Mill Museum, Winyates Green allotments, Southcrest Woods, Beoley Road gardens and Where Next Association.

A Redditch Council spokesman said: "Although the judges remained quite tight-lipped about their findings, they did seem pleased to see what had been done to enhance the town. The competition used to be very competitive, where your flowers and hanging baskets were judged against other towns, but now it is more of an awards scheme where they mark you on what has been done to enhance the environment."

Last year Redditch entered the scheme for the first time in about 20 years and picked up a silver gilt award. The town will find out on Thursday, September 15 how it has done this year.

Redditch Advertiser, 3 August 2011

July 2011: One Show is back


One Show reporter Angellica Bell gets to grips with Redditch's needle history. Picture by Marcus Mingins.

The town's needle-making history is set to be in the spotlight after the team from the One Show visited Forge Mill Museum last Friday (July 22).

Angellica Bell from the BBC television show visited the heritage site as part of a series set to air in September focusing on towns across the UK and their 'claim to fame'.

In Redditch's case, the team were particularly interested in how needles were produced in the Victorian times, compared to modern production techniques.

It comes just two months after the One Show team, on that occasion with Phil Tufnell in front of the cameras, visited the Kingfisher Shopping Centre to see the Paolozzi Mosaics.

Museum curator Jo-Ann Gloger said: "It was nice from our point of view to show other people Redditch has a very interesting claim to fame. Although we do not know the exact date yet, the show should air in September so we will be able to show the rest of the country what Redditch is famous for."

Redditch Standard, 29 July 2011

June 2011: History on the doorstep


John Sullivan and Maryse Hunter from Sloe Gin will be playing at Forge Mill Needle Museum's Medieval Festival. Picture by Alex Bradbury.

Knights, maidens and peasants will take over Forge Mill Needle Museum this weekend to give visitors an insight into what life was like 100 years ago.

The Medieval Festival takes place at the Needle Mill Lane museum between 11am and 4pm Saturday and Sunday (June 4 and 5).

Re-enactment group, Company Ecorcheur will be setting up a knights encampment and visitors will be able to wander among the tents to find out more about cooking and crafts as well as discovering what life was like in the military. There will also be falconry displays and, medieval music and dancing.

Coun Derek Taylor, responsible for leisure and tourism on the borough council, said: "The event promises to provide something a bit different for the weekend and should be a great day out for all the family. We want people to come along and get involved in the many activities that will be on offer and find out what life was really like in the Middle Ages."

Entry costs £2.50 for adults, £1 for children and £5 for a family ticket.

Redditch Standard, 3 June 2011

May 2011: Knight school lessons in time for medieval festival


Medieval Festival participants.

Forge Mill is preparing for its annual medieval festival by hosting a Knight School for budding knights during half-term week.

There will be four workshops, each lasting about an hour throughout the day on Thursday, June 2.

These workshops will enable children to find out about medieval weapons and armour, as well as practice their sword fighting skills. The workshops cost £4.50 and booking in advance is essential by contacting the museum.

Knights will be trained in time for the museum's medieval festival which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5.

Company Ecorcheur will be returning to show visitors what medieval life was like. Visitors will be able to wander among the knights' encampment finding out about cooking and crafts, as well as discovering about the drill and arming of military men. There will also be the chance to watch an authentic falconry display.

The event runs from 11am to 4pm each day and costs £2.50 for adults and £1 for children.

Redditch Advertiser, 25 May 2011

May 2011: Museum to host nature exhibition


David Miller is showcasing his work at Forge Mill Needle Museum.

The intricate beauty of nature will be on show at Forge Mill Museum until June 12.

An art exhibition by David Miller will also feature demonstrations of his techniques and talks on his work on the afternoon of Sunday May 29.

A spokeswoman for the museum said: "David has spent over 30 years studying and perfecting his technique of capturing the minutest detail of the intricate beauty of nature.

"From the fragility of a butterfly's wing to the dramatic colour bands of nature as seen in our native insects like wasps, bees and dragonflies."

Redditch Standard, 20 May 2011

April 2011: Chance to celebrate again


Don't panic! - Jones' van from Dad's Army, will be among the many 1940s vehicles on show at the end of the war celebration day at Forge Mill Needle Museum.

A chance to re-live the celebrations that marked the end of the Second World War is on offer on Sunday (May 1) at Forge Mill Needle Museum.

The event marks the end of the two month series of exhibitions highlighting the town's involvement in the war run by the Redditch Local History Society.

There will be re-enactments, displays such as fashion and wedding dresses from the period as well as an exhibition of 1940s cars including Corporal Jones butcher's van from the popular BBC series Dad's Army.

Visitors will also be able to chat to re-enactors about life in the 1940s while children can enjoy playing with traditional toys and games as well as being entertained by the 1940s Sunshine Show variety performance.

Indigo Arts Theatre group will be performing 1940s music and Needles Coffee Bar will be putting together an End of the War Party meal deal.

It will also be a last opportunity for people to visit the Redditch at War Exhibition which features pictures of Redditch street parties celebrating the end of the war.

Debbie Lakeman, education and events officer at the museum, said: "This should be a great day out for all the family with a chance to either reminisce or learn more about what it was like to live during a time of war and how people celebrated when the Second World War finally came to an end."

The day runs from 11am until 4pm and costs £2 for adults, £1 for children or £5 for families.

Redditch Standard, 29 April 2011

April 2011: Farm attractions prove popular


Charlie gets the chance to feed one of the lambs with Farms2Ewe's Jane Burkshire during Forge Mill Needle Museum's farm day. Picture by Alex Bradbury.

The glorious weather over the bank holiday weekend saw hundreds of people flock to the many events on offer, with many attractions reporting visitor numbers up on last year.

A farm day at Forge Mill Museum on Monday (April 25) attracted more than 1,700 visitors keen to get up close and personal with chicks, lambs and donkeys.

Debbie Lakeman, education and events officer at the museum, said: "Lots of people enjoyed the day and they were able to use the sandpit for the first time. They all enjoyed meeting the animals and some of the children got to bottle feed the lambs. It was a very high turnout and we definitely had more people than normal for an event day."

Redditch Standard, 29 April 2011

April 2011: It's time to celebrate!


Picture courtesy of Forge Mill.

Visitors to Forge Mill Needle Museum can find out more about what it was like to celebrate the end of the Second World War as part of a special event being held on May 1.

The museum, which is run by Redditch Council, will be marking the last in its series of Second World War events with the End of War Celebration Day.

The event will include re-enactments as well as displays such as fashion and wedding dresses from the period and an exhibition of 1940s cars, including J. Jones the Butcher's van from the popular BBC series Dad's Army.

Visitors will also be able to chat to re-enactors about life in the 1940s while children will be able to get into the street party spirit by playing with traditional toys and games as well as being entertained by the 1940s Sunshine Show variety performance. Indigo Arts Theatre group will be performing 1940s music and Needles Coffee Bar will be putting together an End of the War Party Meal Deal.

Visitors will also be able to take a last opportunity to visit the Redditch at War exhibition, which has been put together by Redditch Local History Society and currently features pictures of Redditch street parties celebrating the end of the war.

Debbie Lakeman, education and events Officer, said: "This should be a great day out for all the family with a chance to either reminisce or learn more about what it was like to live during a time of war and how people celebrated when the war finally came to an end."

The event runs from 11am-4pm and costs £2 for adults, £1 for children or £5 for families.

Redditch Advertiser, 27 April 2011

March 2011: Stepping back to wartime


Chance to see a Second World War military jeep.

Forge Mill Needle Museum will be helping people find out about life during the Second World War with its first event day of 2011, on Saturday.

The museum, which is run by Redditch Council, is hosting re-enactments and displays from Forever Forties, the Second World World War RAF Group and the South Midlands Military Vehicles Trust.

Visitors of all ages will be able to experience the Battle of Britain through an RAF Fighter Command Emergency Operations Room. They will also be able to meet some war veterans as well as look at an ATS recruitment base, USAAF and ARP displays, while singer Kevin Mack will be providing 1940s music for the day and there will be a selection of military vehicles to view on site.

Alongside the event day, visitors will also be able to visit the Redditch at War exhibition in the museum which has been assembled by Redditch Local History Society. It runs until Tuesday, May 3.

The event, on Saturday, runs from 11am until 4pm and costs £3 for adults, £1 for children and £6 for families.

Redditch Advertiser, 23 March 2011

March 2011: From gas masks to recipe books


Derek Coombes, society secretary, and Tony Green, society chairman, at the opening of Redditch in Wartime.

The Redditch in Wartime exhibition at Forge Mill, organised by Redditch Local History Society (RLHS), has been opened to the public by town council leader Carole Gandy. The occasion in the gallery exhibition area was attended by RLHS members, local historians and members of the public, many of them lifelong Redditch people for which the words and photographs brought back memories.

The theme of the first two weeks of the eight-week exhibition is the Home Front, which focuses on everyday life in Redditch during the war.

The society has been keen to highlight people's memories,with accounts of life being taken from previously published work by historian Anne Bradford, as well as stories from residents interviewed.

Derek Coombes, of RLHS, said: "We've had many new accounts of life during the war given to us. Some have come from the Woodlands home, Studley, where recalling memories is used as part of dementia therapy. Others have resulted from appeals in the local press."

As well as input from residents, the exhibition brings together research from local archive data. The Redditch Indicator from 1940- 45 was extensively reviewed for stories and events, particularly reports of bombing raids in the area.

The exhibition pieces together reports on the raid on Redditch as well as on Birmingham and Coventry where local residents had friends and relatives. Visitors are also able to see a wide range of artefacts and official documents.

Typical domestic items found in the 1940s kitchen are shown alongside Government-issued recipe books, sewing and knitting kits and civil defence propaganda posters alongside gas masks, firefighting and other defence items. Hands-on displays include a typewriter from the local civil defence offices, ARP helmets to try on, and a baby-doll to fit inside a baby's gas mask.

The exhibition runs until May 2 and can be seen during normal Forge Mill opening times.

In two weeks the theme will change to the Defence of Redditch, then Redditch Industry at War from April 5, culminating in the End of the War celebrations from April 19.

Redditch Advertiser, 16 March 2011

March 2011: Spotlight on the Home Guard


Derek Coombes, secretary of the Redditch Local Historical Society, and chairman Tony Green at the opening of the exhibition. Picture by Nick Hands.

Redditch's battle on the Home Front is the focus for the start of a new two month exhibition which opened its doors at Forge Mill Needle Museum on Wednesday (March 9).

Unfortunately illness prevented Mayor Kath Banks from opening the event but borough council leader Carole Gandy was present and enjoyed a tour of the exhibition which includes local stories and artefacts, including a photo album belonging to her father-in-law and memories from the late Albert Wharrad, a long serving councillor and former council leader who was a member of the Headless Cross Home Guard.

Later on the exhibition, organised by Redditch Local History Society, will cover Redditch Industry in Wartime and Victory in Redditch.

There will also be a series of talks and other activities starting on Saturday, March 12 at 11.30am with a talk by Dr Bob Bushaway on the Home Front.

It costs £3 and includes a two for one entry voucher to Forge Mill and the exhibition. The exhibition can be viewed during normal opening hours and at usual admission prices. Visit www.worldwar2.redditchhistory.org.uk for full details.

Redditch Standard, 11 March 2011

March 2011: Museum to display wartime memories


The Erie Press at HDA. At the time the largest in the world. Redditch industry was crucial during the war effort.

A major new exhibition will transport Redditch back into wartime when it opens at Forge Mill Needle Museum next week.

Redditch Local History Society is staging the three month event which has been described as the group's most ambitious project to date.

Mayor of Redditch Kath Banks will officially open the event at 11.30am on Wednesday (March 9) before being given a tour by society members.

The first two weeks of the exhibition, which runs until May 2, will be along the theme of the Home Front detailing the impact of the war on Redditch residents with the following weeks focusing on The Home Guard and the Defence of Redditch, Redditch Industry in Wartime and finally Victory in Redditch.

Many items on display have been loaned by residents, including a photo album belonging to council leader Carole Gandy's father-in-law who was involved in the Battle of the River Plate, and memories have been gathered from a number of local people including residents at the Woodlands Nursing Home in Studley.

Local history graduate Dan Hume has also helped produce a time-line showing how events in Redditch unfolded and fitted in with the overall progress of the war.

As well as the exhibition events will take place most weekends to bring the experience to life including stories from guest presenters, music and poetry. There will also be two family days with an RAF operations room, ARP displays and military vehicles including Corporal Jones' butcher's van from BBC series Dad's Army.

Derek Coombes, the society's secretary, said: "This has been a real voyage of discovery for the members as we have prepared for the events. From the outset the society did not want to be another society that relied on guest speakers, but wanted to be 'hands-on' and preparation for this exhibition has certainly been that. We've set out to put on an exhibition for Redditch people about Redditch people and most of the input has come from Redditch people. The great thing for us is that the society members have learned a lot as we have collected material and we have some very interesting tales to tell. All we need now is for the people of Redditch to come along, support the events and share this learning process."

Normal opening times and admission charges apply. Visit www.worldwar2.redditchhistory.org.uk for more details.

Redditch Standard, 4 March 2011

MORE INFO

Forge Mill and Bordesley Abbey are frequently featured in newspaper and magazine articles, both locally and nationally.

With the permission of the publishers, we hope to include interesting articles and photographs on this page, which will grow as time goes by.