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

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Forge Mill Needle Museum, Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre
IN THE NEWS - 2015

November 2015: Get in the festive spirit - Victorian style

Petrina Muscroft.

Forge Mill will be decking the museum in traditional festive frivolity this week as it prepares for its annual Victorian Christmas Craft Fair.

The fair, which runs on November 28 and 29, will feature more than 20 craft stalls each day, displaying beautiful home-made gifts including candles, soaps, pottery, knitted items, jewellery, cakes, jams and wooden gifts.

Families will be able to don period headwear for a family photograph and there will be a Victorian era fashion display and popular optical illusions.

Councillor Pat Witherspoon, whose portfolio covers leisure services, said: "No one did Christmas quite like the Victorians, so the event will be a wonderful way to get into the festive spirit."

Youngsters will be able to visit to Father Christmas between 11am to 3pm.

The event runs from 11am to 4pm each day and entry is £1 for adults and children go free. There are additional charges to visit Father Christmas.

Redditch Advertiser, 25 November 2015

November 2015: Fans share tales of a rock legend

Ros Sidaway, from the John Bonham Memorial Fund, at the John Bonham Remembered event.

Memories of local lad and rock legend John Bonham were shared by those who knew him at a special event last week at Forge Mill Museum, Redditch.

Mr Bonham was born on Birchfield Road, Headless Cross, on May 31, 1948, and continued to live in Redditch until the late 1960s when his drumming career took off with Led Zeppelin.

Organised by the John Bonham Memorial Fund, John Bonham Remembered was held in conjunction with Forge Mill's famous faces exhibition, which features displays of people whose lives and achievements have influenced the growth or reputation of the town.

Ros Sidaway, from the John Bonham Memorial Fund, said: "It was fascinating to hear from John's former classmates at both Wilton House and Lodge Farm County Secondary School. According to Norman Cockings, who used to sit next to him at Wilton House school, John was generally well-behaved."

The group has raised more than 10 per cent of the £50,000 needed for the design and installation of a bronze memorial to the local legend who sadly died at just 32 on September 25, 1980.

Having achieved this amount through mostly local donations, the campaign group is now aiming to drum up the remaining money required through a crowdfunding initiative which will be officially launched this Sunday.

"The first 10 people to pledge via our crowdfunder page before Sunday will also receive a certificate confirming their contribution and a colour photo of the memorial signed by John's sister, singer-songwriter, Deborah Bonham," added Ms Sidaway.

It is hoped the memorial will be erected in the town next year, near to the bandstand on Church Green. For more information on the campaign or to donate, visit

Redditch Advertiser, 18 November 2015

November 2015: It's people power at exhibition

Forge Mill People Exhibition With Mayor of Redditch, Derek Coombes Chairman, and Madge Tillsley MBE.

Residents across Redditch, young and old alike, flocked to the opening of the Redditch People exhibition at Forge Mill on Thursday last week (October 29).

The Redditch Local History Society (RLHS) has joined forces with the borough council to host the exhibit which honours those who have made Redditch the town it is today.

Free drop-in sessions will be held every Wednesday where visitors can talk to local historians, authors and members of RLHS about these people and see some additional archive material.

Residents who would like to make a nomination for someone who is not already featured on the wall, can do so at the exhibition or by contacting RLHS.

The exhibition will run until November 22 and you can email or call RLHS on 01527 61434 or 404365 for more information.

Redditch Standard, 6 November 2015

November 2015: Famous faces in exhibition

People attending the opening of the exhibition, launched last week at Forge Mill Needle Museum.

An exhibition honouring Redditch's famous faces has just launched at Forge Mill Needle Museum.

Samuel Allcock, a fishing tackle manufacturer, Edwin Smallwood, a needle manufacturer and local benefactor, Gillian Knight, an opera singer, and of course John Bonham, Led Zeppelin drummer and rock legend all feature as well as many more.

From the arts to archaeology, from music to manufacturing, from the 18th to the 21st century, Redditch people have been at the forefront.

The aim is to show the impact of those in the town who have stimulated the local community and those who have promoted the town both nationally and internationally.

Organised by the Redditch Local History Society, it runs until November 22.

Redditch Advertiser, 4 November 2015

September 2015: Enjoy a free day of our heritage

Volunteers have organised the Heritage Open Day at Forge Mill Needle Museum. Photo by Marcus Mingins.

History buffs can enjoy a celebration of architecture and culture at Forge Mill Needle Museum this weekend.

A free Heritage Open Day on Sunday (September 13) will run between 11am and 4pm and include tours of the museum and Bordesley Abbey site, live entertainment by Indigo Arts and craft activities for children.

The celebration, which has been running since 2011, will be the first of its kind to be organised in the name of the Friends of Forge Mill - a group of volunteers who will conduct the tours during the event.

"We aim to make this a true community event for all the family," said spokesman Tony Green. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a family heritage trail and view Redditch History in Print - an exhibition by the Redditch Local History Society which uses historic newspaper archives.

A motor display is also scheduled, weather permitting, by members of the Midland Centre of the Morgan Sports Car Club whilst visitors will be granted free entry to 'Shape of Nature', a quilt exhibition by two of the country's leading exponents of textile art - Hillary Beattie and Jenny Rolf.

Redditch Standard, 11 September 2015

August 2015: Stuffed with surprises

Scary day: a child aged seven with her scarecrow Fleur. Photo by Marcus Mingins.

Forge Mill will be a no-fly zone for local crows this weekend at Redditch borough council's Scarecrow Day.

Visitors have this week been making their own scarecrows for the festival this Sunday (August 30).

The prizes for the best scarecrows include £25, £50 and £75 worth of Kingfisher Centre vouchers.

Scarecrow Day also has other activities on offer, including children's activities, pony rides, face painting, animal mania and an array of gift, food and craft stalls.

There will also be live music by Captain Swing - a five piece English Ceilidh band promising dynamic barn-style dances.

Admission is £2 for adults and £1 for children, and also includes entry into the museum's Alien Invasion exhibition.

Redditch Standard, 28 August 2015

August 2015: Scare off the crows

Petrina Muscroft from Forge Mill with a couple of friends.

Redditch residents are being invited to get involved in making some interesting characters, or just enjoy a fun day out as Scarecrow Day returns to Forge Mill.

As part of the event, organised by Redditch Borough Council, a competition will be held for the best scarecrow character, and scarecrow-making days have been arranged for today and tomorrow.

To take part visitors just need to turn up with some old clothes and pay £3 for the 'ingredients' to bring a scarecrow to life.

Prizes up for grabs include £25, £50 and £75 worth of Kingfisher Shopping Centre vouchers.

The crazy characters will be judged on Sunday at the Scarecrow Day, which will also play host to children's activities, pony rides, face painting, animal mania and an array of gift, food and craft stalls.

Musical entertainment will be provided by Captain Swing – a dynamic five-piece English ceilidh band.

Councillor Pat Witherspoon, whose portfolio covers leisure services, said: "What better way is there to spend the bank holiday weekend than enjoying scarecrow-making, pony rides with the children, a barn dance with your partner or perusing the many stalls on offer? This is just another one of our brilliant and popular events designed to keep boredom at bay over the summer, so pop along and enjoy a fun day out for all the family."

The scarecrow-making days will run from 11am until 3pm and Scarecrow Day runs from 11am until 5pm. Admission to Scarecrow Day is £2 for adults and £1 for children, which includes entry into the museum's Alien Invasion exhibition.

Redditch Advertiser, 26 August 2015

August 2015: Exterminate holiday boredom

Watch out there's Daleks about at Forge Mill.

Forge Mill is preparing itself for an invasion which is due to crash-land at the Museum this Sunday (August 9).

The Day of the Daleks is dawning with staff making arrangements to accommodate the Charity Dalek Squad between 11am and 4pm.

Visitors will be able to meet and interact with the hostile alien machines and the squad will stage an 'Audience with the Daleks' where people will be able to quiz them whilst trying to avoid being exterminated.

To add to the sci-fi fun, Barry Noble, an original Cyberman from the classic 1960s Dr Who series, will be a guest.

There will also be a fancy dress com petition for both children and adults with a special Dalek prize on offer plots lots of other events.

Redditch Standard, 7 August 2015

August 2015: Museum's extra-terrestrial exhibition

Jo Gloger from Forge Mill Needle Museum with aliens from the film Mars Attacks.

Residents are being invited to have a real encounter with some of the biggest and scariest aliens of all time – at Forge Mill Needle Museum.

As part of an Alien Invasion exhibition, Hollywood' s biggest blockbuster aliens have landed, and people can get up close and personal with them.

See how scary Ridley Scott's original Alien creature and the Alien Queen are close up... as well as others from the Alien franchise.

Meet the iconic life size characters from Star Wars: Chewbacca, Yoda and not forgetting the Dark Lord himself, Darth Vader.

People can also see movie props from the Chronicles of Riddick and Star Trek, with costumes from the Planet of the Apes, Stargate Atlantis, Thunderbirds and many more.

A spokesman said: “This is a great exhibition for all the family as well as all film fans.” The exhibition runs until September 6.

Redditch Standard, 5 August 2015

August 2015: Getting ready to be exterminated!

Daleks will be invading Forge Mill Museum at the weekend.

Doctor Who's most notorious villains, the Daleks, are set to invade Forge Mill Museum this weekend.

The Charity Dalek Squad will be taking over the museum on Sunday, August 9 between 11am and 4pm and visitors will be able meet and interact with the Daleks whilst trying to avoid being exterminated.

The Daleks will be getting together twice during the day for their 'Audience with the Daleks' forum where members of the public will be able to quiz the alien mutants.

There will also be a fancy dress competition for both children and adults with a special prize and children can enjoy free face painting and balloon modelling.

To add to the sci-fi fun, Barry Noble, an original cyberman from the classic 60s Dr Who series, will be a guest at the event.

Atmospheric music will be provided by Tiffany Lunn and a chance to visit the 'Alien Invasion' exhibition will be available.

Museum officer Debbie Lakeman said: “The event was great fun last year with six different Daleks roaming around the site and interacting with the public so we are really looking forward to the Charity Dalek Squad taking over the museum again.”

Redditch Standard, 5 August 2015

June 2015: Wraps come off mill's historic quilts exhibition

Petrina Muscroft, operations supervisor at Forge Mill, showcases some of the quilts on display. Photo by Marcus Mingins.

An exhibition showcasing rare and beautiful quilts is on show at Forge Mill Museum.

Decorative Quilts from the Victorian era to Today lasts until Sunday, July 12.

The quilts are English and American and are made using a variety of fabrics including cotton to velvet and silks.

Each has its own unique story and has been collected, researched and restored by Jane and Peterson Cobbett.

There is no additional charge to enter the exhibitions as the cost is included in normal admission rates.

Redditch Standard, 19 June 2015

June 2015: Exhibition showing sharp needlework

Joanne Gloger with some of the work on display at the Crazy about Quilts.

Redditch residents are being invited to view a display of rare and beautiful quilts, some of which date back to the Victorian era.

The exhibition, entitled Crazy about Quilts, will be at the Forge Mill Needle Museum until Saturday, July 12.

Each quilt has its unique story to share and has been painstakingly collected, researched and restored by Jane and Peterson Cobbett.

English and American quilts will be displayed and the materials range from everyday cottons to luxury velvet and silks.

There are also four workshops to accompany the exhibition, which look at some of the techniques on show.

Redditch Advertiser, 17 June 2015

June 2015: A 'solid' present for Father's Day

Gargoyle carving. Photo by Marcus Mingins.

This Father's Day why not treat Dad to a 'rock solid' gift he will be sure never to forget?

Thanks to an upcoming workshop at Forge Mill Needle Museum, Fathers - and anyone else - can enjoy turning their hand to stone carving in the unique setting of Bordesley Abbey this September.

International public artist, Andy DeComyn will lead a two day workshop and help participants to create their own medieval style gargoyle or grotesque.

Debbie Lakeman, museum officer, said: "If you are looking to buy a totally unique present in advance for Father's Day, a birthday or a surprise, you won't get much better than this. Work away at Bordesley Abbey, the same as the stone masons would have done hundreds of years ago and take a step into the past as well as learning a new and interesting skill."

The workshops, suitable for people aged 16 years and over, will run on September 19 and 20 from 10.30am to 4.30pm and all tools and stone will be provided.

To book a place, at £150 per person, contact Forge Mill at or on 01527 62509.

Redditch Standard, 12 June 2015

June 2015: Enlist for a Knight's Tale

Stan Timbrell (Quintains and Coronals) will be at Forge Mill Museum. Photo by Marcus Mingins.

Visitors can embrace their inner soldier this weekend at Forge Mill Museum and brandish an ancient sword as they travel back in time to the Medieval ages.

'A Knight's Tale' invites guests to brush up on their jousting skills in a Knight's School, which will run on Saturday and Sunday (June 13 and 14) and youngsters will have the chance to dress up as little Lords and Ladies in a junior academy.

An authentic knight's encampment, set up by re-enactment group, 'Company Ecorcheur', will allow visitors to inspect weapons and armour whilst exploring how everyday life would have been hundreds of years ago.

The event will run from 11am to 4pm on both days and an admission fee of £3 for adults and £1 for children will include entry into the museum.

Redditch Standard, 12 June 2015

June 2015: A knight to remember at Forge Mill Museum

Are you ready for a battle: Get a real knight's tale experience at Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch.

Brave visitors can brush up on their jousting skills at Forge Mill Museum by joining a knight's school.

There will be A Knight's Tale style event on Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14 which includes a junior knight school, medieval storytelling and a medieval knight's encampment.

Company Ecorcheur will set up the authentic medieval knight's encampment for the weekend for the public to wander around, inspect soldier's weapons and armour and find out what everyday life would have been like hundreds of years ago.

Younger visitors can attend a knight school to learn the art of the joust and also dress up as little lords and ladies.

The yarnsmith of Norwich will also be on hand to entertain visitors throughout the day, telling fantastic tales and stories.

The event runs from 11am to 4pm both days and cost £3 for adults, £1 for children.

Redditch Advertiser, 10 June 2015

March 2015: Marvel at comic artist's exhibition

Lee Bradley, one of the top comic book artists in the country.

Residents are being offered a fantastic opportunity to see the work of one of the top comic book artists in the country - Lee Bradley.

This is the first time Lee, who has worked on a variety of properties including Spider-Man, The Transformers How-to-Draw Guide and Transformers Animated, has put together a large collection of his work in a one-man show.

An exhibition, which includes the chance to meet Lee, runs from now until April 12 at the Forge Mill Needle Museum.

A spokesman from Forge Mill said: "This is a great opportunity to see Lee's powerful and vibrant work close up, it really is superb artwork – the detail is amazing. It is an exhibition not to be missed."

The freelance illustrator has worked on the most iconic superheroes and characters of our time such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars and Mars Attacks.

His work is influenced by the classic Marvel and DC artwork from his childhood and fused with a love for the characters and creations from popular 80s and 90s TV and film.

Redditch Advertiser, 18 March 2015

March 2015: You'll marvel at Lee's comic artwork

Comic book artist Lee Bradley has an exhibition a Forge Mill Needle Museum. Picture by Marcus Mingins.

Work from a top comic book artist has gone on display at the town's Forge Mill Needle Museum.

Retro Marvel Now, an exhibition of the art of Lee Bradley, will be on offer at the venue until April 12.

Lee has worked on many of the iconic superheroes and characters of the generation including Spider Man, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Wars.

He was influenced by classic Marvel and DC artwork from his childhood as well as a love for characters and creations from popular 1980s and 1990s television and film.

Visitors will be able to buy some of Lee's original artwork during the exhibition, run in association with The Birmingham Comics Festival.

Redditch Standard, 13 March 2015

February 2015: Museum exhibits get straight to the point

Forge Mill Needle Museum, in Redditch, is holding its first exhibition of the year.

Residents are being invited to the first exhibition of the year at Forge Mill Needle Museum.

The museum opened earlier this month with its first exhibition - Redditch Needle Companies.

Running until March 1, the exhibition looks at some of the famous and not-so-famous needle-making companies from Redditch and elsewhere through the items that they produced, including some of the needle cases, records, photos and ephemera they left behind.

There will also be some unusual items not normally associated with the needle companies on display.

Redditch Advertiser, 18 February 2015


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.