News Archive

Half-term fun in the museum

We have taken lots of photos in the museum of our exhibits from unusual angles. Can you use your detective skills to track down where they were taken? There will be mystery prize for one lucky winner. The competition runs from Saturday 25th May to Saturday 1st June 2024. Don’t forget that the museum is open on Thursday 30th May for Calderdale schools half-term in addition to our usual Saturday open days.

Lambs found in museum !

Here is Hamish Withers, the lucky winner of our Easter ‘Find the Missing Lambs’ competition. As you can see he was thrilled to be the winner (the egg is almost as big as he is!), and brought along a pet lamb for the occasion. Our next competition will run over half term week in May, so watch out for details…

Help Barbara to find her lambs!

Join us at the museum for some Easter fun. Our resident ewe, Barbara has lost her lambs, Cardi and Jumper! They are somewhere in the museum. Help us to find them for her by following the woolly clues. One lucky entrant will win a large Easter egg. The competition will run from Thursday 28th March to Saturday 6th April.
We are open every Saturday 10am to 4pm and also on Thursdays 28th March and 4th April for the Calderdale school holidays.

Our latest exhibition – “The Story of the Wainstall Waifs”

Our brand new exhibition in the museum is based upon research by Kim Pearson and tells the story of the Wainstalls Waifs and their journey from workhouse to independence. All of the around 250 waifs came from Liverpool to work in the mills of the Calverts at Wainstalls. They were not necessarily all orphans and most came from the the Brownlow Hill Workhouse, then Kirkdale Industrial School and then Calverts. The Calverts Mill at Wainstalls dates back to to the early 19th century and was a worsted spinning textile mill. Conditions of work were harsh but by the 1860s various Factory Acts now protected workers in respect to hours worked but, contrary to some opinions the Wainstalls Waifs were not slaves but most of the income they earned went towards their upkeep in the various cottages they lived in which were adjacent to their mill workplace.

Before being transported by train to Luddendenfoot the girls were given a medical for Tuberculosis which in those days was a rampant disease and a major killer. They would then be taken by cart from the station to the fresh moorland air of Wainstalls – another world from the squalid urban environment of Liverpool. Girls were preferred to boys as they were thought more reliable and were recruited from the age of 10.
It should be remembered that the Wainstalls Waifs, as they are now referred to, were employed under contract as apprentices, but in fact through their experiences in the mill they worked in, they in effect learnt a trade as worsted spinners. The skill they acquired was a form of female empowerment and although the girls were no longer under the guardianship of I&I at 17 or 18, and they were free to leave, many stayed, earned a wage and integrated into the local Wainstalls community. Some later married local men.
The graves of some of the Wainstalls girls can be seen in the Luddenden Dean graveyard (the chapel was destroyed by fire in the late1950s), on Heys Lane, Wainstalls. The road to Castle Carr is higher up.
Entry to the exhibition is included in the general admission charge to the museum of £5 adult, £4 concession, with free entry for children. The exhibition runs from Saturday 13th January to Saturday 6th April 2024. We are open every Saturday 10am to 4pm and most Thursdays in the school holidays.

Half-term competition winner announced!

We are very pleased to announce that the winner of our competition to guess the number of Quality Street sweets in the jar is Kit Hudson. His was the only correct guess out of 71 entries! He was thrilled to be the winner and was presented with his prize on Saturday. He was also given a personal tour of the Mackintosh area and had a chance to operate the toffee wrapping machine which he enjoyed very much. He also liked being shown how to make socks on his original visit. The family are planning to return with friends during the Easter holidays, when he intends to help Barbara locate her missing lambs in our next competition.
Calderdale Industrial Museum is open every Saturday 10am to 4pm, with last entry. Admission is £5 adult, £4 concession, with free entry for children.

Half-term fun

We will be open on Thursday 15th February 2024 for the Calderdale schools half-term. We will have all our usual activities for families running in the museum, including children’s trail, dressing-up, crawling through our mine and hands on activities with some of our machines. We also have a new competition that everyone can enter !

We open at 10am and close at 4pm every Saturday and also on Thursdays in the school holidays, with last admission at 3pm. Don’t forget that accompanied children have free entry to the museum.

Halifax Art Society exhibition
Our brand new exhibition in the Terry Sutton Gallery features artwork created by members of Halifax Art Society. Most of the work will be for sale with a commission going to the museum.
The work is as diverse as its members and will include paintings in watercolour, acrylics, pen, Lino prints and ceramic. Members will be on hand to answer your questions each Saturday. I’m sure you will find more than Bobbins at the exhibition!
Halifax Art Society formed in 1875 and is still going strong, with a current membership of around 40. They take inspiration from some of the very talented professional demonstrators that visit them once a month. As well as the professional demonstrators, their members take the lead on some of the workshops, thus providing new and innovative ideas, from which they gain and grow as a group. These workshops have become more and more popular over the last couple of years.
Along with their regular meetings they put on several exhibitions each year, giving all their members the opportunity of showing and selling their work. They regularly exhibit and sell works at the Macmillan Unit at the Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax Playhouse and the Hebden Bridge Visitor Centre.
In recent years they have made contributions to the Macmillan Unit, and Overgate Hospice, raising money from the sale of hand painted cards, original art works and local painted scenes for the Overgate Annual Calendar. See more about the group at https://halifaxartsociety.com/

Christmas in the museum

It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas at Calderdale Industrial Museum! Come along and follow our new elf trail around the building, buy unique Christmas presents in our lovely shop and try our Christmas specials in the cafe.

We will be open on Saturdays 9th and 16th December 2023 with our volunteers guiding visitors around our floor floors of fascinating exhibits and demonstrating our working looms and machines. We close then for Christmas and New Year and reopen on Saturday 6th January 2024.

CultureDale

Calderdale Industrial Museum is very happy to share this post from CultureDale highlighting their activation event at the museum on Monday 11th December 2023.

CULTUREDALE ACTIVATION EVENTS
Calling local creatives and community groups! Sign up to one of our CultureDale activation events
to find out how you can get involved in Calderdale’s Year of Culture 2024
What to expect:
– Meet the CultureDale Year of Culture team
– Networking and time to discuss your ideas
– A preview of the Year of Culture Programme
– Information about funding grants, eligibility criteria and how to apply
CALDERDALE INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM
5.30 – 7.30 pm Monday 11th December 2023
Events also confirmed for Brighouse, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden, Mytholmroyd and Elland .. Book now for free on Eventbrite!

Calderdale Industrial Museum Association Member Talk

The next talk in our series of CIMA member talks will be “Through the Eye of the Shuttle”.
Our weaving and loom expert Keith Ramsden will be talking about some of the pre production processes required prior to the weaving of moquette fabric, the differences between wire loom and plush weaving. He will also be recalling stories and his experiences of working at Shaw Lodge Mills.
Doors open at 7pm, with the talk starting at 7.30pm.
All are welcome.
Free entry to members of Calderdale Industrial Museum Association, £4 to visitors. Tea/coffee/biscuits will be available for a small donation.

Stone carving workshops at the museum

We are delighted to announce that on Thursday 2nd and Saturday 4th November 2023 local stonemason Simon Lumb will be running “Come and have a go” stone carving workshops at Calderdale Industrial Museum. Learn to carve a letter/number of your choice in a take home stone cobble.
The workshops are suitable for those aged 8 and above. All tuition, tools, children size PPE and a safe place to carve will be provided. Parents are welcome, but must not interfere ! Please wear suitable outdoor, hardwearing clothes for the time of year.
The workshops are £5 each to cover the cost of the stone plus a donation to the museum.
The museum is open every Saturday and also on Thursdays in the school holidays 10am to 4pm. Admission is £5 adult, £4 concession and children are free.

Event postponed  – Film Premiere: Bread Not Bayonets

Friday 20th October, 6.30-7.30pm – new date to be announced shortly

Free tickets available: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/film-launch-bread-not-bayonets-tickets-732665100037?aff=oddtdtcreator

In the summer of 1842, a great strike swept the country. This was the first known general strike in history. The story of how important Halifax was to these events is too little known. Calderdale Trades Council have been working to change this. Ever since National Union of Journalists delegate Mark Metcalf read Catherine Howe’s book Halifax 1842, he has been determined to ensure that the events of that year are better known. In recent years, Calderdale Trades Council have collaborated with the Friends of Lister Lane Cemetery and Calderdale Industrial Museum on a series of events, including raising a plaque outside the museum for the 180th anniversary of 1842. A Great Strike commemorative beer was also brewed with Eagle’s Crag brewery.

Now, a 30 minute documentary seeks to ensure more people know about the struggles for economic and political justice that took place that year. It has been produced by Mark Metcalf’s Rough Jersey media company and is directed by Francesca Platt, with financial support from Calderdale Trades Council, Sheffield Hallam university and others. The film is dedicated to former Trades Council secretary Kevin Stannard, who passed away recently.

In August 1842, workers in Halifax and the Calder Valley joined others across the country in downing tools to join a nationwide general strike for better pay and extended voting rights, but found themselves ruthlessly suppressed with many killed and injured. This history, which takes place amidst a cost of living crisis and at a moment when people are questioning how well represented they are by the political system, speaks directly to the world of today. The film will be launched in Calderdale Industrial Museum on Friday 20th October from 6.30pm. Following the half hour showing there will be a chance for attendees to question some of those involved in the making of the film.

Of the film’s importance, Mark Metcalf says: “The courage of ordinary, brave men and women who helped change the course of history for the better often remains hidden for decades. I was keen to make sure Halifax 1842 was remembered and the film is suitable for all ages. I particularly want to thank the band Chumbawumba for allowing us to use their song The Chartist Anthem as part of the production.” Director Francesca Platt comments: “It was a privilege to create this film and be a part of bringing the events of Halifax 1842 and the lives of some of its people to a wider
audience. The solidarity and dedication shown by the workers in their struggle and the violent response of the establishment deserves to be more widely known.”

Calderdale Trades Council chair Dan Whittall says: “Too few folk in Calderdale know of the central place the people of our area have played in the struggle for democratic rights and economic justice. This is a history that has many lessons as we continue that struggle today. People should know of the momentous efforts made by Patience Kershaw, Ben Rushton and the brave unnamed women and children of Wrigley’s silk mill on the King Cross Road, as well as countless others, as they sought to build a better world. We’re extremely proud to have supported this film.”

Free tickets for the premiere can be acquired via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/film-launch-bread-not-bayonets-tickets-732665100037?aff=oddtdtcreator

Halifax Steampunk Market

Join us at Calderdale Industrial Museum for an exciting weekend of fun on Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October when we host the Halifax Steampunk Market. The museum will be filled with stalls and
there will be a flying displays in the museum from one of Amy Jo Lawrance​’s owls from her Flying Squadron on both days – Check out the times at https://www.facebook.com/TheFlyingSquadron  Coffee Jousting will take place on one day and Captain Cumberpatch’s Curious Creations will be donating medals for the prize winners (silver and gold) and one also for the Coffee Jousting Beanmaster (the host).

All events and activities are included in the normal admission charge to the museum of £5 adult, £4 concession, with free entry for children. The museum will have slightly different opening hours to usual. We will be open at 11am and close at 5pm for these two days only. Our cafe will also be serving a reduced menu, with sandwiches available between 12 -2pm and cakes throughout the day.

Special Museum Fun Day 
Join us on Saturday 16th September for our exciting “FUN DAY” at the museum. We have an exciting array of activities to keep you entertained. We have the “Hill Millies” coming to show us their morris dancing skills and Ziggy will be here playing his hurdy gurdy. In our entrance courtyard you will be able to see spinning and weaving, try your hand at peg loom weaving, experiment with our waterwheels and play children’s games from the past. All great ways to keep your family busy and entertained!
During your visit our café will be open selling a range of light bites. snacks and cakes along with hot and cold drinks. The shop will be open offering a selection of interesting and unusual items to purchase, many inspired by our collections.
We are open 10am to 4pm, with last admission at 3pm. Entry is £5 adult, £4 concession, with children free.

“Look, Draw, Display” extended until Saturday 2nd September

Our “Look, Draw, Display” activity has proved so popular over the summer school holidays that we have decided to extend it until Saturday 2nd September 2023. Please join us and create a lovely piece of art to display in our gallery. Thank you to all those who have already taken part so far.
Thursday 31st August is our last special holiday Thursday opening. Once the schools go back the following week, we will only be open on a Saturday, unless it is another school holiday.
We are open 10am to 4pm, with last admission at 3pm. Entry is £5 adult, £4 concession and children are free.
 

Children’s Summer Activities

Head down to Calderdale Industrial Museum in the summer holidays and join in with our fun activities ! Create a piece of art for our gallery as part of our “Look, Draw, Display” exhibition, dress up in our new dressing up area and take a selfie, and get a sticker in your Halifax Summer Passport. All activities are included in our normal admission charges of £5 adult, £4 concession, with free entry for children.
We are open every Saturday, and also on Thursdays for the school summer holidays 10am to 4pm. Don’t forget that our cafe serves a variety of light lunches, cakes and drinks and has a special children’s menu.

Look, Draw, Display !

Join us at Calderdale Industrial Museum from the 15th July to the 26th August 2023 and take part in our exciting new project in our temporary exhibition area. We are inviting all child visitors to have a look around the museum and decide what is their favourite part, or to pick an item that really interests them. They can then use the wide variety of art materials provided at the museum to create their own artworks which will be displayed in the exhibition area for the summer.
The museum every Saturday 10am to 4pm and also on Thursdays in the school holidays. Admission is £5 adult, £4 concession and children have free entry. All activities in the museum are included in the admission charge. After your visit, why not visit our friendly cafe which serves lights lunches and cakes. We have a special menu for children. Our shop also stocks a wide range of locally made gifts, toys and sweets !

Waiting for Wesley”  – 6th August 2023

The museum will be hosting a performance by The Brutish Multitude Theatre Company of a script in hand version of a new play by Michael Crowley on Sunday 6th August 2023. 

Waiting for Wesley is set in the Calder Valley in the summer of 1842 when a wave of strikes engulfed Lancashire and Yorkshire. As well as demanding a reversal of wage cuts, many workers demanded the government give way to the People’s Charter and introduce universal male suffrage. Supporters of ‘physical force’ Chartism were numerous in the area, Hebden Bridge Radical Association declared its belief in “the justice and right of the people to possess arms in their defence.” Thousands of troops confronted strikers, killing five and wounding many more. The play focuses on one family as tensions mount as a husband and wife are torn between allegiance to the church and organising the rebellion. Performance at 3pm, doors open at 2pm. 

There will be a Q and A after the performance. Tickets are £10 each and available from Eventbrite by following the link HERE.

“Not just a load of Grumpy Carvings”

We are very happy to reveal that the brand new exhibition at Calderdale Industrial Museum is “Not just a load of Grumpy Carvings” from Anthony Griffiths. These marvellous works of art will be on show from Saturday 27th May to Saturday 8th July. Tony will also be demonstrating his wood carving on most Saturday afternoons.
Tony says “I am delighted to be back at Calderdale Industrial Museum where I can show some of my recent carvings in the Terry Sutton Gallery. The museum is a wonderful source of ideas and inspiration and I am privileged to help support the story the museum has to tell through my carvings – hence the “wool processing” sequence, Barbara the sheep and lambs on the top floor and other pieces around the museum. I hope to be encouraging younger visitors to help make some simple pieces and thereby promote a love of enquiry and creativity.”
Anthony Griffiths is originally from Staffordshire. After University, he started designing and making wooden children’s toys in the 1970’s and then spent a year working for Essex Museums, where he was involved in both museum interpretation and exhibition development.
The museum is every Saturday 10am to 4pm and also on Thursdays in the school holidays, so we will be open on Thursday 1st June. Entry to the exhibition is included in admission charge of £5 adult, £4 concession, with free entry for children.

Easter competition winner !

Congratulations to Orion, the winner of our Easter name our lambs competition. The judges were very impressed with his choice of the names “Jumper” and “Cardi” for the lambs. We hope that he enjoys his Easter egg, and we look forward to seeing him and his parents on a regular basis as they make use of their free museum annual passes. Many thanks to volunteer Tony Griffiths too, for carving beautiful name plaques for our small flock.
If you would like to see our sheep, and the rest of the museum, we are open every Saturday and Thursdays in the school holidays, EXCEPT for Coronation day on Saturday 6th May, when we will be closed. We will however be open on Monday 8th instead.

Party time !

A fabulous time was had by all when one of our wonderful volunteer directors, Daryl Capper celebrated his special birthday at the museum. Amazing live music was provided by Aziz Ibrahim, the talent behind Longsight M13, much dancing was done to music played by Daryl’s DJ son and lots of food and drink was consumed ! We are always looking for new volunteers to join our jolly crew, so if you are interested, please contact the museum.

Coronation memorabilia

As Coronation fever sweeps the nation, it is interesting to see some of the items that were produced by our local confectionary manufacturer Mackintosh’s in Halifax for distribution throughout the country for previous coronations. If you would like to find out more about Mackintosh’s and Quality Street please visit the museum. We are usually open every Saturday and on Thursdays in the school holidays. However we will be CLOSED on Saturday 6th May for the Coronation, and will be open on the Bank Holiday 8th May instead. We are open 10am to 4pm.

Anne Lister Birthday Week highlights in the museum

One of the highlights of April 2023 in the museum was our involvement with the Anne Lister Birthday Week celebrations. We were delighted to host several events, including an Anne Lister Society Open Reception with founders Sally Wainwright, Pat Esgate, and Laurie Shannon, and also ALBW Live with Pat Esgate and Jill Liddington. We were also very pleased to have Helena Whitbread back in the building following her fantastic talk here last year, and also welcomed a visit from Barry Rutter.

We feel very privileged that Barry Rutter and Sally Wainwright are patrons of Calderdale Industrial Museum. Barry officially opened the museum in September 2017 when it was reopened by the volunteers from Calderdale Industrial Museum Association.
If you would like to visit the museum we are open every Saturday 10am to 4pm and Thursdays in the school holidays, EXCEPT for Coronation Saturday 6th May when we will be closed. We are however open on Bank Holiday Monday 8th May instead.

Coronation Weekend opening at the museum

We are looking forward to the special coronation weekend at the beginning of May, and have decided to change the days that the museum is open that weekend so that all our volunteers and visitors can watch the coronation. This means that we will be CLOSED on Saturday 6th May, but we will be open on the Bank Holiday Monday 8th May instead. We will be open from 10am to 4pm on the Monday.

As usual, our volunteers will show visitors around the museum and our cafe and shop will be open for when you need a cup of tea or a light lunch.

How to Make a Stained Glass Window

We are delighted to invite master stained glass craftsman Keith Kemp back to the museum after his very interesting sessions in January.

On Saturdays 13th and 20th May, he will be demonstrating How to Make a Stained Glass Window. Keith has been making stained glass panels for 39 years, mainly new commissions and repairs for private homes, but also for churches including the west window of York Minster. He has also been involved with some large projects in the Middle East. He will be showing how he cuts the glass and lead for a design, and how he pieces them together to make a complete panel.

 

 

Calderdale Industrial Museum Association members talk – Wednesday 10th May 2023

The next Calderdale Industrial Museum Association members is all about “Edward Crossley’s Two Very Famous Telescopes”. Edward Crossley took over the running of the family carpet business at only age 27. Edward though had been interested in astronomy from a very young age. It was a very serious hobby and so his new found position in Crossley Carpets allowed him the privilege to build observatories in Halifax and to purchase and use two telescopes that finished up at opposite ends of the globe in New Zealand and California. But how and why and when did all this come about? Find out at this interesting talk from Bryan Harkness.

The talk is free for members of Calderdale Industrial Society Association (CIMA), and £4 for visitors. Tea/coffee/biscuits will be available for a donation. It only costs £15 a year for single membership and £23 for joint membership if you would like to join CIMA. Benefits include unlimited free entry to the museum, free monthly talks, members newsletter, invitations to special member events and regular museum updates. To join please visit https://calderdaleindustrial.co.uk/supporting-the-museum/

Laura Annie Willson MBE – Suffragette, Builder, Engineer

One our current exhibitions portrays the life of Laura Annie Willson, an extraordinary Halifax woman who rose from obscurity in the early twentieth century and then disappeared from view after her death in the 1940s.  Before WW1 she became a prominent suffragette in Halifax, and was imprisoned twice. During the war, she was instrumental in getting women into factories to help the war effort. She set up one of the first works canteens in the engineering firm she ran with her husband [Willson Lathes], which became a model for others. She was awarded the MBE for her efforts. After the war she was a founder member of the Women’s Engineering Society, later its President, and later set up an electrical engineering company to get the new power source into more rural areas. If that was not enough, she decided something needed to be done about the poor housing stock available for working people, so she became a house builder.  There are still four housing estates dotted across Halifax which she designed and built.

“Stories Told”

Our new exhibition in the Terry Sutton Gallery at the museum is “Stories Told”, and features artist’s books created by first year students from Calderdale College Level 3 Art and Design course after they interviewed some of the museum’s volunteers. It runs until the 8th May, and entry is included in your museum admission ticket.

Easter in the museum

Calderdale Industrial Museum has lots happening over the next couple of weeks. To start with, we have a special open day on Thursday 30th March as part of the Anne Lister Birthday Festival in Halifax. We are then open on Thursdays 6th and 13th April for the school Easter holidays in addition to our regular Saturdays open days.
We have a special Easter “name our lambs” competition, in addition to our fun children’s sheep trail. Our cafe and shop will be open on all the open days, and our volunteers are ready to show you around and demonstrate our working exhibits.

Some Gay Kings and Queens

As part of the Anne Lister Birthday celebrations that taking place in Calderdale from 27th March to 3rd April 2023, David Glover will be giving a fascinating illustrated talk at Calderdale Industrial Museum titled – SOME GAY KINGS, QUEENS AND PRINCES – tales of Edward the Second, Queen Christina of Sweden, Queen Anne, Ludwig II of Bavaria, a cross-dressing archduke, an uncle of our late queen, an uncle of Prince Philip and others !!
The talk is on Wednesday 29th March and starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are available HERE
The museum will also be open for the festival on Thursday 30th March, in addition to our usual Saturday open days. We will also be open on Thursdays 6th and 13th April for the Calderdale Easter school holidays.

Calderdale Industrial Museum Association members talk – Wednesday 5th April 2023

The next talk at the museum will be given Dr RW Clarke and is titled “3D Printing – How it fits in with manufacturing, ancient and modern”. There will be a practical demonstration of the process during the talk.

The talk is free for members of Calderdale Industrial Society Association (CIMA), and £4 for visitors. Tea/coffee/biscuits will be available for a donation. It only costs £15 a year for single membership and £23 for joint membership if you would like to join CIMA. Benefits include unlimited free entry to the museum, free monthly talks, members newsletter, invitations to special member events and regular museum updates. To join please visit https://calderdaleindustrial.co.uk/supporting-the-museum/

 

Ghosts – an exhibition of paintings by Howard Priestley

Calderdale Industrial Museum’s brand new exhibition will be opening on Saturday 28th January and runs until Saturday 15th April 2023. It is an exhibition of paintings and drawing by Howard Priestley.
Howard says about his work “ghosts aren’t people, they are memories. Granted, most are thought to be just people but Halifax is haunted by buildings as much as anything. Those buildings belong to our past but are still around us even though nature has taken home in many which reminds us that we share the world with things much greater than us humans and if we no longer need them, nature will happily reclaim them. In doing so it reminds us what we once had and also how there is a new found beauty that haunts us and reminds of the path we once trod”.
Entry to the exhibition is included in the standard admission charge to the museum, of £5 adult, £4 concession and free entry for children. The museum is open every Saturday 10am to 4pm, and also Thursdays in the school holidays. Don’t forget to visit into our cafe and shop whilst at the museum.

Half-term opening 16th February

 

Wondering what to do at half term ?

Don’t forget that Calderdale Industrial Museum will be open on Thursday 16th February for the Calderdale schools half term. We are family friendly with volunteers happy to demonstrate and explain our four floors of exhibits and displays.

We have a children’s quiz and a special children’s menu our cafe in addition to our regular menu.

Entry is free for children and only £5 per adult, £4 per concession. We are open from 10am to 4pm. If you can’t make it this week, remember that we are also open every Saturday throughout the year.

Wainstall Waifs Talk – Wednesday 15th February

The next talk at the museum will be given by Kim Pearson and will tell the story of the  Wainstall Waifs and their journey from workhouse to independence.  Most of the around 250 waifs some came from Liverpool to work in the mills of the Calverts at Wainstalls. They were not necessarily all orphans and most came from the Kirkdale workhouse. The Calvert Mill at Wainstall dates back to to the early 19th century and was a cotton spinning textile mill. Conditions of work were harsh but by the 1860s various Factory Acts now protected workers in respect to hours worked but contrary to some opinions the Wainstall Waifs were not slaves but most of the income they earned went towards their upkeep in the various cottages they lived in which were adjacent to their mill workplace.

Before being transported by train to Luddenden Foot the girls were given a medical for Tuberculosis which in those days was a rampant disease and a major killer. They would then be taken by horse and carriage to the fresh moorland air of Wainstalls – another world from the squalor urban environment of Liverpool. Girls were preferred to boys as they were thought more reliable and were recruited from the age of 10.

It should be remembered that the Wainstall Waifs as they are now referred to, were recruited not as apprentices, but in fact through their experiences in the mill they worked in, they in effect learnt a trade as worsted spinners. The skill they acquired was a form of female empowerment and although at 16 they were free to leave, many stayed, earned a wage and integrated into the local Wainstalls community. Some later married local men.
The graves of some of the Wainstall girls can be seen in the Luddenden Dean graveyard (the chapel was destroyed by fire in the late1950s), adjacent to the road to the gates of Castle Carr.

The talk is free for members of Calderdale Industrial Society Association (CIMA), and £4 for visitors. Tea/coffee/biscuits will be available for a donation. It only costs £15 a year for single membership and £23 for joint membership if you would like to join CIMA. Benefits include unlimited free entry to the museum, free monthly talks, members newsletter, invitations to special member events and regular museum updates. To join please visit https://calderdaleindustrial.co.uk/supporting-the-museum/

How to Make a Stained Glass Window

On Saturdays 14th and 21st January, Keith Kempe will be demonstrating How to Make a Stained Glass Window. Keith has been making stained glass panels for 39 years, mainly new commissions and repairs for private homes, but also for churches including the west window of York Minster. He has also been involved with some large projects in the Middle East. He will be showing how he cuts the glass and lead for a design, and how he pieces them together to make a complete panel.

 

Christmas at the museum
We’re getting ready for Christmas at Calderdale Industrial Museum. Visit us on Saturdays 3rd, 10th and 17th  before the big day to buy unique gifts for your loved ones and to find out what the volunteers have been getting up to recently. An annual pass for the museum would be an ideal gift too, it gives unlimited access to the museum when we are open to the public for 12 months and is only £12. Our lovely cafe will be also be serving Christmas specials.
All takings at the museum from admission charges, shop, cafe, annual passes and membership payments go directly towards supporting and developing the museum. We are almost entirely run by volunteers for you, and rely on you to keep up going !
We are open on Saturdays 10am to 4pm. 

Connections

Here at Calderdale Industrial Museum, we are very pleased to be hosting a special pop up exhibition called Connections, by the L3 2nd year Art and Design Students at Calderdale College.
The Students on the 2nd Year L3 Art and Design Course are currently exploring and developing their own styles and specialisms in Art and Design. They are all at the exciting and also daunting point of deciding what is next in terms of education, career pathways. This exhibition is an opportunity for each student to make personal connections between themselves, their interests, feelings, dreams, aspirations, and career paths, specialisms. During the second year of the L3 BTEC students work accross many disciplines, and they can select their own specialist techniques, materials, and processes. In this exhibition, you will see a range of techniques from Screen printing, Collographs, Painting, and 3D to book binding and graphic design.
Each project is unique, students have made their own associations with the theme ‘Connections’. Short explanations are written in the exhibition guidebook.
The exhibition is only showing at the museum on Saturdays 10th,17th December and 7th January. Admission to the exhibition is included in the standard museum entry charge. Admission also includes a family friendly drop in creative craft workshop that the students will be running on Saturday 10th December between 11am and 2pm.
The museum is open 10am to 4pm, and admission is £5 adult, £4 concession with free entry for children.

 

 

An evening with traditional folk singer – Jennifer Reid

Jennifer performs broadside ballads so audiences can reconnect with their heritage. Think rousing songs and passionate oratory. She believes that folk music has lost it’s way, and people have lost track of their geographical heritage. The working classes made music as a provocation and this is a tradition Jennifer continues. She is a performer of nineteenth century Lancashire dialect and Victorian broadside ballads.
Tickets £10 and are available from Calderdale Industrial Museum. Email: manager@calderdaleindustial.co.uk

Calderdale Industrial Museum Talk – Wednesday 23rd November 2022

Chris Bateman will be giving an interesting insight into “The Life and Times of a Couple of Bricks – Leeds Fireclay, their precursors and associates” on Wednesday 23rd November this week when he gives the latest in the series of talks at Calderdale Industrial Museum. The talk starts at 7.30pm, and everyone is welcome. The talks are free to members of Calderdale Industrial Museum Association and are only £4 to non-members. Tea, coffee, biscuits are also available for a small donation.

The museum holds a wide range of interesting talks throughout the year for members of Calderdale Industrial Museum Association. If you are interested in any of the talks and would like further details, please email the museum at manager@calderdaleindustrial.co.uk

New winter menu launched !

Now that the days are growing shorter and the temperature is falling we have decided it’s time to introduce our new autumn/winter menu in the cafe. Homemade soup is back, together with a new range of sandwiches and children’s lunches. We are also offering exciting specials every week, including paninis and warm cake with ice-cream !
We also have some exciting new stock in the museum shop, Moquette bags from Shed Number 2 and beautiful pottery from Barbara Miskin of Rodmer Clough Pottery in Colden, Hebden Bridge.
The museum is open every Saturday 10am to 4pm, and we will also be open on Thursday 27th October as it is the Calderdale school half term holiday. Our current exhibition “Astounding Inventions” is showing until the 26th November and our weavers cottage on our top floor will be open.
Admission to the museum is £5 adult, £4 concession and children are free. We also offer an annual pass for £12.
Don’t forget that there is no entry charge for the cafe and shop.

Astounding Inventions

Our new exhibition will be opening on Saturday 10th September. It celebrates a rich history of invention, industry and innovation in Calderdale and features a range of inventions including the Arab printing press, the sewing machine, the pen, photography and 3-d printing.

The exhibition will run until the 26th November 2022. Entry to the exhibition is included in the general entrance fee to the museum.

One of the inventions featured in the exhibition is the sewing machine.  The first patent for a chain stitch sewing machine was awarded to Yorkshireman Thomas Saint in 1790, and was designed for sewing leather. Several further attempts were made over the next four decades until, in 1830, Barthelemy Thimonnier, a French tailor, patented a treadle powered machine that used a single thread and a hooked needle to make a chain stitch. Soon he had thirty machines in a Paris workshop making uniforms for the French army, but all were destroyed by a mob of French tailors fearful of losing work.
John Fisher and James Gibbons of Nottingham combined many of the innovations of the previous fifty years, obtaining a patent in 1844 for a shuttle machine designed to make decorative stitches, but not for sewing seams. The first practical sewing machine was invented by Elias Howe of Massachusetts shortly afterwards. This used a lock stitch rather than a chain stitch and sewed more quickly than five needle workers. The second machine was an improvement and was the first machine to be brought to England from America in that year. By the 1850s there was great competition to design, patent, manufacture and sell sewing machines on both sides of the Atlantic. Of these, the Singer Manufacturing Company soon became the most well known. The Derby sewing machine on show in the exhibition is part of this movement!

Eliza Raine comes to town…..

Renowned author Helena Whitbread’s spoke to a capacity audience at Calderdale Industrial Museum on Saturday 24th September.

Helena Whitbread, one of the earlier transcribers of Anne Lister’s diaries, gave an fascinating and unexpectedly humorous talk titled “Eliza Raine comes to Town… “. Helena focused the spotlight on the fascinating Eliza Raine, Anne’s first girlfriend, having met when they were teenagers. She looked at Eliza’s time in Halifax, and shared some previously unknown facts with us from her many years of research.

If you enjoyed the talk, please have a look at the upcoming talks in the museum scheduled for November and 2023.

 

 

Heritage Open Days Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September

 

We are delighted to announce that as part of the national Heritage Open Days programme, we are offering free admission to Calderdale Industrial Museum on two special open days. These are Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September 2022. Everyone is welcome, there is no need to book in advance. We will be open on both days from 10am to 4pm.

The theme for 2022 is “Astounding Inventions”, and to celebrate this, our brand new exhibition will be opening on Saturday 10th September. Join us in celebrating a rich history of invention, industry and innovation in Calderdale.

The inventions featured include the Arab printing press, the sewing machine, the pen, photography and 3-d printing.

The exhibition will run until the 26th November 2022.

Whilst in the museum don’t forget to visit our cafe and shop. We will be serving a range of drinks, cakes, light lunches and children’s menu.

 

 

 

200 years of Holdsworths – Moquette manufacturers to the world

We are delighted to announce that our new exhibition opens on Saturday 16th July 2022.

The exhibition celebrates the 200th anniversary of the family textile firm John Holdsworth & Co., of Shaw Lodge Mills in Halifax. The Holdsworth story is one of six generations, during which time the firm has seen success, stagnation, near collapse and renaissance, as its fortunes have followed the rise and decline of the British textile industry.
John Holdsworth and Company was established in 1822 by John Holdsworth, aged 25, when he set up his own worsted spinning mill at Bottoms or Waterside in Siddal. He had been brought up in the family textile trading business, his grandfather John Holdsworth being one of the original tenants when Halifax Piece Hall opened for business in 1779, and John himself was in business with his father George at Shibden Mill, before setting up on his own. He made his home at Shaw Lodge in Skircoat, which sustained around £225 damage in the aftermath of the 1835 window breaking election. John quickly recognised the need to expand and in 1825 he began purchasing and developing land in the Shaw Hill area of Skircoat. His final purchase was in 1844. This was to become the Shaw Lodge Mills complex.
The business prospered to such an extent that John was joined in partnership by his four sons. He had retired two years before his death in 1857, leaving his sons in charge, and it was during their management of the firm in the 1850’s that most of the buildings, which still exist, were erected. The main weaving shed, which is 240 yards long, bears the date 1852. His eldest son, William, regarded as the business brain of the family, served as Lord Mayor of Halifax in the 1860s.

New summer cafe menu launched

Calderdale Industrial Museum is pleased to announce, that now the warmer days are here, we are serving our new summer menu. This will include a Ploughman’s Lunch, quiche and salad, as well as our usual locally sourced scones, teacakes and special homemade cakes. We are also pleased to be selling locally made “Just Jenny’s” ice cream.
Whenever the weather allows our new outside seating area will be open. Although dogs are not permitted in the museum itself, they are very welcome in our courtyard cafe area. The museum, it’s cafe and shop are open every Saturday 10am to 4pm, with last admissions at 3pm. We are also open on Thursdays in the school holidays.

Calderdale Museum Talk on J. Blakeborough & Sons of Brighouse

A fascinating talk by Bob Canham about J. Blakeborough and Sons of Brighouse. Blakeborough Valves was a large engineering company which started trading in 1828. As the company grew, it moved to Woodhouse Works on Birds Royd Lane / River Street, Rastrick and at it’s peak, employed over 1,200 people.
Entry is free for members of Calderdale Industrial Museum, and guests are welcome for a charge of £4. Tea/coffee/biscuits will be available for donations.

Public meeting: The Great Strike of 1842: Halifax’s Peterloo?

Sunday 17th July 2022 11am – 1.30pm

To mark the 180th anniversary of the Great Strike of 1842, when the people of Halifax and beyond took strike action and protested for improved wages, shorter working hours and better democratic rights. Learn about and discuss the history of 1842 at a public meeting taking place at Calderdale Industrial Museum.

Speakers include: • Catherine Howe, author of the book Halifax, 1842 • James Dean, author of a recent study of the Great Strike of 1842 in the West Riding • Matthew Roberts, historian of 19th Century Britain and author, most recently, of the book Chartism, Commemoration and the Cult of the National Hero • Katrina Navickas, author of the book Protest and the Politics of Space and Place, 1789-1848 • Neil Pye, author of the book The Home Office and the Chartists, 1838-1848: Protest and Repression in the West Riding of Yorkshire

Tickets available from: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-great-strike-of-1842-halifaxs-peterloo-tickets-372927675717

Event jointly organised by Calderdale trades council and Calderdale Industrial Museum, with thanks to the support provided by the Society for the Study of Labour History.

Celebrate the Queens Platinum Jubilee at the museum

To celebrate the Queens Platinum Jubilee, and because it is Calderdale school holidays next week, the museum will be open on Thursday 2nd June in addition to our regular Saturday opening on 4th June. We are open 10am to 4pm, with last entry at 3pm.

  • The volunteers will show you around the museum and discuss how Halifax has changed over the 70 years that the Queen has been on the throne.
  • Enjoy a delicious cream tea and a traditional ploughman’s lunch in our cafe.

This lovely picture by Terry Sutton features on a card in our shop and shows girls working in a Yorkshire textile mill taking time to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

 

Weaving workshop

The Halifax Square Route Weavers, whose exhibition of contemporary tapestry weaving finished on Saturday, held a very successful ‘Taste of Tapestry’ open day at the Industrial Museum on Monday. Participants enjoyed trying their hand at weaving using a simple cardboard loom and left with the skills and knowledge to continue at home.
The weaving group has also raised £260 for Calderdale Industrial Museum from the sale of their “mini-weavings” in the museum shop. There are still plenty for sale, so please come and have a look. Don’t forget that you can have a look at the museum shop and and use the cafe without visiting the rest of the museum.

New exhibition opens on Saturday 30th April

Join us this Saturday for the launch of our brand new weaving exhibition. Please visit our “Current Exhibitions” page for further information.

Easter Fun at the Museum

Pop into the museum this Easter and follow our Easter Trail. You will get a certificate and prize if you can complete it ! All our volunteers will be here to help you.

After your visit, have a break in our cosy cafe, now serving a range of lunches, snack and cakes.

The museum will be open on Thursday 14th and Thursday 21st April in addition to our normal Saturday opening. Children are free, and there is a £5 charge for adults, £4 for concessions.

 

Our fantastic wood carving exhibition by Anthony Griffiths will also come to an end this Saturday, on the 23rd April, so it is your last chance to see it. Tony has added several new pieces to the exhibition and can usually be found carving here when the museum is open to the public.

Here are a few of the new pieces that are on show now. They tell part of the story of how fleece from sheep is turned into cloth.

 

 

Anne Lister Birthday Festival

Sunday 3rd April marks the 231st birthday of  Anne Lister – local scholar, business woman, landowner, lesbian and traveller, and to celebrate this, Calderdale are holding the inaugural Anne Lister Birthday Festival.

Anne was born in Halifax 3rd April 1791 and the detailed coded diaries that she wrote have given us an amazing insight into her life. Since the Sally Wainwright series about her “Gentleman Jack” aired, she has become an international icon. To celebrate the Anne Lister Birthday Festival in Halifax, we have extended our opening hours for the special week, and have revamped our mine to reflect Anne’s involvement in the local mining industry.

We will be open on Sunday 3rd, Tuesday 5th, Wednesday 6th, Thursday 7th, Friday 8th, Saturday 9th April 2022, 10am to 4pm, with last admissions at 3pm.

Our cafe will be open on all the above days, except for Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th and will be serving homemade soup, sweet and savoury scones with jam and clotted cream , toasted muffins and home made cakes. Gluten-free and vegan options are available.

In addition on Sunday morning 10am-12pm, while stocks last, breakfast rolls including bacon, sausage, vegetarian sausage, mushroom and tomato will be available, as well as a vegan option.

Terry Sutton Gallery Opening

On Friday 4th March the Terry Sutton Gallery at Calderdale Industrial Museum was officially opened and dedicated to the memory of Terry.

Here is a summary of the tribute that Tim Kirker paid to Terry at the opening.

Terry was involved in the museum from when it opened in 2017. He designed leaflets for the museum in 2018 and worked closely with the Collections team to develop a house style for the information panels around the the building. He was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in July 2018, and provided regular updates from his sickbed, always apologising that he couldn’t do more. He gave Calderdale Industrial Museum Association the rights to use all his “industrial” material for the benefit of the museum, cards, posters, signed books…

Terry died in June 2019, and a  “temporary” exhibition of Terry’s work opened in the museum in September 2019. Looking back over those four years, Terry was ill for much of that time. It is amazing how much he achieved, and how much of a mark he has left on the museum. He just never stopped. Scanning back through our correspondence that he was writing from his bed in Pinderfields, from his bed at home (when he could get anywhere near his computer) “I’m still here, he would say, keeping on keeping on…I’ll be in next week.” The temporary exhibition has proved so popular, it is now permanent.

He was a great guy, a pleasure to work with,  he never had a bad word about anybody. He always seemed so pleased to be supporting this crazy project, but in truth, it was the other way around – we were just so grateful that he thought we worth supporting. And we are so grateful that Terry’s family let him out to play, when I’m sure they would rather have had him at home, especial thanks to Matthew for the taxi service.

So when ideas for our new exhibition space came together, it was a unanimous decision to call it the Terry Sutton Gallery. Our second exhibition is now installed in the gallery, showing the amazing wood carving skills of Tony Griffiths. To mark the occasion today, Tony has kindly carved a wooden plaque to be hung permanently in the gallery, in memory of Terry.

Thanks were expressed to Terry’s wife Susan for unveiling the plaque and to our friends at Museum development Yorkshire who have funded most of the external costs of creating the exhibition space. We should also like to acknowledge the wonderful support we get from Falconer Print who have provided all the prints of Terry’s work free of charge. The influence of their designer, Katie Kershaw is evident in the plaque that Tony has carved.

It’s wash day at Calderdale Industrial Museum !

Join us on a Saturday to find out about the fascinating history of the washing machine. Halifax was once a major manufacturer of washing machines. Ajax Machine Tools was formed in 1939, and named after the battle cruiser “Ajax” . The ship was adopted by the town of Halifax in World War 2. The company made industrial drilling and milling machines in their Halifax factory, but after the war, started to manufacture washing machines and other domestic appliances branded “ADA”. In 1950, a new public company was formed “AJAX Domestic Appliances – ADA”. ADA was acquired by the Dutch company Philips in 1960, and in 1970 the company built a new factory in Lightcliffe to make domestic appliances.
This factory was due to close in 1985, and Philips were not prepared to sell their washing machine business to allow production to continue, however they were happy to buy tumble dryers if made under licence by another manufacturer. So in 1986 the new company of Crosslee was founded as a management buyout by David Ross and Derek Lee. They continued to manufacture “White Knight” tumble dryers until 2019. The factory was demolished in 2020 and there are now plans to build 91 houses on the site.
Calderdale Industrial Museum is open every Saturday 10am to 4pm, last admission 3pm and also on Thursdays in the school holidays.

Britain’s Novel Landscapes – with Mariella Frostrup

If you are wondering what to watch on tv, why not turn on More 4 and watch the latest episode of their new series “Britain’s Novel Landscapes – with Mariella Frostrup”. This episode features the Bronte’s Yorkshire and filming took place here in the museum last year. Mariella had a lovely time trying her hand at various skills and we are hoping that the sections filmed here will feature in the final programme.

 

Exciting New Exhibition Launched – New carvings added !

Please visit our “current exhibitions” page for further information about our new exhibition. Anthony has just replaced nine of the original carvings that were in the exhibition with new ones.

Happy Christmas !

Calderdale Industrial Museum would like to wish all our volunteers, members and visitors a very Happy Christmas and New Year !
We will be open to the public again on Saturday 8th January 2022 from 10am.

Volunteer Christmas Dinner

There was great food and conversation at the Calderdale Industrial Museum volunteers Christmas dinner last week at Julio’s Restaurant in Halifax.

If you would like to become a volunteer at the museum, please email manager@calderdaleindustrial.co.uk. We are looking for a wide variety of volunteers, but our current focus is on volunteers who would like to interact with the public on our Saturday open days. We need volunteers guides, and volunteers to help in our cafe, shop and at our reception/ticket desk.

Christmas at the Museum

Calderdale Industrial Museum is only open for the next two Saturdays before Christmas, the 11th and 18th December. We are then closed until Saturday 8th January 2022, so this is your last chance to come into the museum to have a look at our Christmas decorations and lights and follow our Elf Trail. Our cafe is open to all, regardless of whether you have a ticket for the museum, and will be serving seasonal specials including homemade mincemeat shortbread, orange and lemon cake and delicious hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows and cream ! Don’t forget that we have a lovely selection of locally produced gifts in our shop too.

 

Spotlight on our shop and cafe

If you are looking for an interesting, unique, locally made gift this Christmas why not pop into Calderdale Industrial Museum to visit our shop and cafe. They are open to all 10am to 4pm every Saturday. You don’t need a ticket for the museum to come in. Our cafe serves delicious soup, snacks and homemade cake in a cosy and quirky environment.

If you do decide to extend your visit by touring the museum, tickets are only £5 per adult, £4 per concession with children having free entry. We also offer an annual pass for £12, which can be sent out as an unusual gift. The knowledgeable volunteers will show you around, demonstrating our working exhibits and explaining how Halifax developed into the town it is today.

Armistice Day

 

If you are in Halifax, please come into Calderdale Industrial Museum to donate to the Royal British Legion and take a poppy. We currently have our war memorial on display for the upcoming Armistice Day on November 11th. The memorial was donated to the museum by W and RK Lee Ltd mill in Sowerby Bridge when the building was redeveloped.
We are open every Saturday 10am to 4pm, with last admissions at 3pm. We are also open on Thursdays in the school holidays.

Calderdale Industrial Museum welcomes school visits back !

It was wonderful to welcome the lovely children from St William of York Primary School, Bolton to Calderdale Industrial Museum to restart our school visits program last week. It looked like all the children, their teachers and the volunteers at the museum had a fabulous time. Highlights were definitely the “doffing” competition and mine !
If you are interested in arranging any visits for your school please take a look at the relevant pages on our website at https://calderdaleindustrial.co.uk/learnin…/school-visits/ to see what we can offer, and contact the museum at manager@calderdaleindustrial.co.uk.
Don’t forget that we are also open to the public every Saturday and Thursdays in the schools holidays, 10am to 4pm with the last admissions at 3pm.

 

Southowram company Avena is keeping the tradition of carpet manufacturing alive in Halifax

Avena Carpets has been featured recently in the Yorkshire Post Magazine and Halifax Courier with articles about their aim of restoring Halifax’ reputation for producing the worlds finest narrow loom carpets.
There are only 3 narrow-loom carpet manufacturers in England. Avena are using looms which date back to the 1850’s and originally belonged to John Crossley and Sons Carpets. Crossleys was the largest carpet manufacturer in the world in the 1860’s employing over 5,000 workers at its factory in Dean Clough producing luxurious Wilton and Brussels carpets. The company ceased carpet production in 1975. A new company, Avena, bought six of the looms and continued to produce carpets at Denholme and then Bankfield Mill in Halifax. When the original directors of this company retired the company was acquired by a relative of John Crossley, and did continue to produce small amounts of carpet until last year when Richard Hughes acquired the assets of the company and relaunched Avena Carpets with the aim of producing the original high quality Crossley carpets again.
Five of the original looms have been moved to Southowram and the company now employs six full-time staff and two part-time staff, and is hoping to start an apprenticeship scheme and work with local charities to offer work experience.
The companies archive contains 5,000 designs dating back to the 1850’s and has details of every order that the company wove. The volunteers here at Calderdale Industrial Museum are helping to catalogue these archives, and it is hope that they can become a valuable resource for designers and curators worldwide. Avena have also been advising Calderdale Industrial Museum on getting another one of our looms working again, and we hope to collaborate on exciting projects in the future.
If you would like to know more about weaving why not visit Calderdale Industrial Museum and see our moquette loom in operation and find out more about carpet manufacture in Halifax. We are open every Saturday 10am to 4pm (last entry 3pm) and also Thursdays in the school holidays.

Thankyou to the Halifax Courier for the above photographs.

New map of Sowerby Bridge launched

We are pleased to launch a new trail of the industrial heritage of Sowerby Bridge for sale in our shop. The trail has been created by local author Christopher Goddard in conjunction with Mike Gray, the Education Director at the museum. The beautifully hand-drawn map features a wealth of information about the history of the area that it covers, and is a great introduction to this often overlooked part of the Calder Valley. The walk is six miles long and starts at Sowerby bridge railway station. The map is available from Calderdale Industrial Museum shop for only £5.99.

 

 

Official Presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

 

The Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Ed Anderson officially presented the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to the volunteers of Calderdale Industrial Museum on Saturday 24th August 2021 in the presence of the Mayor of Calderdale. The Lord Lieutenant stated that “It was a pleasure to present the Queens’s Award to Calderdale Industrial Museum. It was fitting recognition for all the many years’ dedicated work of volunteers promoting the rich industrial heritage of the area.” 
The presentation of the award was followed by a celebration of the museum and it’s volunteers. If you would like to join the volunteers at the museum please email manager@calderdaleindustrial.co.uk or phone us on 01422 384721.

 

Yorkshire Hat Throwing Championships

Volunteers from Calderdale Industrial Museum had great fun helping to run the “Yorkshire Hat Throwing Championships” in the Piece Hall on August 1st 2021 to celebrate Yorkshire Day.

Calderdale Industrial Museum receives Royal recognition

 

The blood, sweat and tears put into rescuing one of Yorkshire’s premier attractions has earned Calderdale Industrial Museum Association the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

The museum beside Halifax’s iconic Piece Hall, was boarded-up in 2000 and reopened officially in 2017, thanks to the strenuous efforts of local volunteers.
They now have an additional cause for celebration, the association having agreed to lease the building from Calderdale Council until at least 2027.
“This national award and local agreement recognises the hard work put in by our members and supporters over many years, for which we are immensely grateful,” said association chairman, Tim Kirker.
“Apart from the security which the lease provides, it will open up more opportunities for fund raising,” he said.

Roger Swift and the recently restored water wheel.

The museum aims to record, preserve and display the story of how Calderdale has developed from the industry of its past.

The museum wishes to thank Roger Harvey, Chairman of Harvey’s of Halifax, for his continuing support and nomination for the award.
It had been on course to attract more than 10,000 visitors annually but during the COVID lockdown volunteers have continued to beaver away behind the scenes.
Calderdale Industrial Museum Association was short-listed for the Museum and Heritage Volunteer Team of 2019 and named a 2020 Traveller’s Choice Winner by Tripadviser, having maintained for 18 months its position as the best rated attraction in Halifax.
It is now among Tripadviser’s top 10% of attractions worldwide!
According to the Queen’s Award Team: “The work your group does for the community was very much admired by the independent National Assessment Committee, chaired by Sir Martyn Lewis CBE. The Award in 2021 represents a tremendous achievement for your organisation and we hope that everyone involved, and particularly your volunteers, will feel immensely proud.
Calderdale Council leader, Cllr Tim Swift said the energy, commitment and enthusiasm of the volunteers had been exemplary. “They have worked tirelessly to raise funds, secure support and donations in both cash and direct help, and promote the case for the museum and its wider importance to Calderdale as a visitor attraction and as an important record of the area’s industrial heritage,” he said.
“We handed over the running of the museum to Calderdale Industrial Museum Association in 2016 and we continue to provide support to assist its plans and ambitions, and the museum’s operation. The industrial museum, along with other local cultural organisations, will play a major role in Calderdale’s revitalisation as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Another of the museum’s key backers, Christine Harris, Deputy Lieutenant West Yorkshire said “The museum is led by volunteers with an amazing range of skills who have engaged widely at community level across all age groups. Their stoic determination to rise above adversity is phenomenal complimented by passion, enthusiasm and a determination to succeed.”

The award will be presented at a date to be confirmed.

Bernard Wadsworth with the old knitting machines.

The museum in Square Road and the association which runs it provides a safe haven for many retired and often lonely or vulnerable people. Social services and charities refer clients including asylum seekers to help them integrate.
It includes a cafe and a meeting room where lectures are held on industrial history. A growing number of education modules have been tailored to the National Curriculum.
Sophie Shaw, science leader at Woodhouse Primary School, said: “We feel lucky to have such a fantastic museum in our area. We have been able to use our visits to inspire children, educate them and develop their ‘culture capital.’ The museum has since offered us the use of various resources and discussed the idea of volunteers visiting school to hold workshops such as science experiments.”
Among the machines and artefacts spread over four floors in the museum are some of the only surviving examples in the country
Bernard Wadsworth has been a volunteer at the museum since he attended an open day in 2013. He can now be seen repairing and restoring machinery on two or three days every week.
The former Halifax hosiery worker said he had always been interested in machinery and had become increasingly involved with other museum activities.
“I want visitors to see how these things made Halifax into a wealthy town where, in my life time, you could leave a job one day and start a new one the next,” he said.
Roger Swift and his wife, Pauline, have been actively involved for six years.
The former print engineer has family links to the museum – his father, Raymond, built some of the brick bases beneath many of the heavy machines and Roger has been helping to restore the waterwheel and fulling stocks, as well as doing a variety of other jobs.
“Halifax has such a wealth of industrial industry and I want the next generation to understand how that came about. The friendship and camaraderie here is very important.”

Derek Bird working on a carpet weaving loom.

Derek Bird, of Keighley, spends a full day at the museum every week. He brings with him the skills he picked-up during a life time making machinery for the worsted industry.

He has produced plans for the new pre-industrial museum area which will show how raw wool is turned into worsted cloth and other staple goods.
“I like getting my hands on big iron machines and here at the museum you meet some very interesting people,” he said.
While spanners and hammers are important, there are many more jobs on reception, in the museum cafe, guiding visitors, setting up displays, painting and cleaning etc for which more volunteers are essential.
The museum boasts more than 200 members of which 130 are registered volunteers. They include accountants, textile operators, nurses, consultants, teachers, librarians, plumbers, electricians, directors, printers, H&S and insurance workers.
Among other things, the museum proudly records the history of the Mackintosh toffee factory, Percy Shaw’s reflecting road studs, Crossley Carpets, the Shibden Valley coal mines, Butlers, Stirk and Asquith machine tools and other world-beating engineering firms as well as the former Halifax Building Society.
Brief History of the museum
1985 Calderdale Council opened the museum.
1987 Voted Best Museum of Industrial and Social History in UK
2000 Museum mothballed. Roof and burst pipes repaired.
2011 Calderdale Industrial Museum Association inaugural meeting.
2012 Volunteers start work and hold First Open Day.
2015 CIMA receives museum keys.
2017 Official opening.
2019 Museum gains Arts Council Accreditation.
For more about the Queens Award, please follow the links below.

Latest museum improvements 

Whilst the museum was closed to the public, the volunteers have been very busy improving the displays and exhibits. The vertical steam engine was moved from the top floor of the museum into it’s new home in the Power Gallery. All went well, but fingers were definitely kept crossed !

We have also had a drystone wall built for our Quarry Display in the basement. Many thanks to Christopher Lumb, Robert Lumb, Thomas Lumb from Chris Lumb Walling for donating their time, expertise and materials. New glass doors have also been installed in the adjacent Ceramics Display.

As usual the volunteers have been busy cleaning the whole museum, ready to welcome everyone back !

 

 

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#mylocalmuseum campaign

Calderdale Industrial Museum has joined the #MyLocalMuseum national campaign to help to keep museums connected with their visitors during lockdown . There will a new theme every Tuesday, with today’s theme “Creative People.”

#mylocalmuseum campaign theme “Creative People”

We have chosen to focus on the Halifax writer Phyllis Bentley. “Two strong passions have always ruled my life: The first is literature; the second is the West Riding.”
Phyllis Bentley was born on the 19th November 1894. She was the youngest child of Mr J E Bentley, who was a mill owner. She spent most of her life at Heath Villas, Free School Lane, Halifax. Phyllis was educated at Halifax High School for Girls and Cheltenham Ladies College. while there she undertook an external degree from London University. A munitions worker in London during the First World War. Phyllis returned to her native Halifax where she taught English and Latin at Heath Grammar School. She also did cataloguing work for the Halifax Literary and Philosophical Society.
From an early age, Phyllis Bentley had stated her ambition was to be a novelist. After several rejections from publishers, in 1928 Phyllis commenced her long association with the Gollancz publishing house. They agreed to publish her novel, appropriately entitled, “The Partnership”.
Her masterpiece, ‘Inheritance’ was published in 1932. It tells the story of the Oldroyd family, set against the background of the development of the textile industry. The book received widespread critical acclaim. Two further novels continued the Oldroyd family saga, ‘The Rise of Henry Morcar’ and ‘A Man of His Time’.
In 1967 Granada Television began the serialisation of the trilogy. Filming began in both Calderdale and Huddersfield. The ten-part series featured John Thaw and James Bolam in leading roles. The success of her novels resulted in Miss Bentley being much in demand as a public speaker. She regularly gave lectures, both in this country and abroad and was an expert on the Bronte family.
Phyllis Bentley was an active member of the Halifax community. She had strong connections with the Halifax Authors Circle and the Womens Luncheon Club. For a time she was also president of the Halifax Thespians. Voluntary work at the Halifax Child Welfare Clinic brought her into contact with children and parents from poorer families. This contributed to her sympathetic treatment of poverty in her writings. In 1963 she moved into Grange House at Warley, a 17th century yeoman clothier’s house. Visitors to the house would remark on the orderly nature of the rooms. She had a daily housekeeper stating that she “always hated housework”. A supporter of young writers, she spent many hours answering correspondence, giving advice to those beginning their literary careers.
In recognition of her talent, Phyllis received several awards. In 1949 she was awarded a honorary Doctor of Literature (DLitt) from Leeds University. In 1958 she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 1970 was awarded an OBE.
Phyllis Bentley was a regular user of the Library in Halifax. As part of her 80th birthday celebrations, the Library held an exhibition of her work. Original manuscripts were on display, together with items from her desk, including a calendar and pencil case.
On the 27th of June 1977 at Ing Royde Home, Phyllis Bentley died. Her desk and chair were amongst items bequeathed to the Library. These are now on display in the Reference and Local Studies library. The diaries and correspondence are available to view (by appointment) in the Calderdale Archives Department.
The works of Phyllis Bentley can be found at the Reference Library in the Central Library, Halifax. Thank you to Calderdale Council’s website for this outline of Phyllis life. In addition to the above she also wrote the script for the famous film “We of the West Riding”. View it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WohhLX_YLlE, or watch it in the museum’s Power Gallery, when we are able to reopen.

#mylocalmuseum campaign theme “Tales from Long Ago”

We have chosen to focus on the stories of children and women who worked in the local mines.
Pit Children
“I have hurried ever since I was 5 years old” -William Ellis, age 9, Byerley Company’s Garden Pit, Halifax
In 1843 1 in 4 Yorkshire coal workers was under 13 years old. Many started work at the age of 5 or 6, some even younger. Girls did exactly the same work as boys. The use of children as pit workers was far more common in this area than the rest of England. Why? The Yorkshire coal seams were narrow. In Halifax they varied from 13” to 27” in height. Roadways, called ‘gates’, were made as low as possible to make a mine pay. The highest main gate was only 40” and some passages were as low as 16” in places. Even small children could only crawl along.
“I met with … a boy about 8 years old … like a thing, a creeping thing peculiar to the place. On approaching and speaking to him he shrunk trembling and frightened into a corner … “ Sub-Commissioner describing his meeting with a trapper 1842.
From the age of 6 or 7 many children worked as hurriers, dragging coal-laden corves (cast iron wheeled carts) from workface to main gate. A broad belt was worn with a chain passing between the legs. With the chain hooked on to the corve, the child hauled by crawling on hands and feet like a dog. A full corve weighed up to 5cwt. Crawling, hauling or pushing along dripping, sludgy passages, hurriers covered 6-8 miles a day. The youngest pit children held a candle, or worked as trappers or thrusters. A trappers job was to open and shut ventilation trap doors. Sitting alone in pitch darkness for 12 hours, only an occasional hurrier passed by. A thruster took over handling of a corve once the main gate was reached. Here it ran on rails, pushed from behind by head and hands. Young children thrust in pairs. During their long day’s toil, children would snatch dinner of oatcake or wheatcake and butter or lard, when and where they could. For a day’s work the youngest earned 6-8d a day. With age and experience the sum increased. In 1842 the average hurrier’s wage was 4/81/2d a week.
“I have seen her thrashed many times, when she does not please them they rap her in the face and knock her down.” William Dyson, aged 14, about his workmate, Sarah Ambler. Discipline was severe in the mines. For slowness and disobedience, the colliers would slap or throw coals at a child, hit them in the face or with a pick handle. Stealing food was a heinous crime. The offender, often a starving neglected pauper apprentice, was held and beaten by all the pit children in turn.
From 1840-1842 an Inquiry was held into the work of children in mines. The Report on the Inquiry horrified the public. As a result the employment underground of children less than 10 was made illegal.
Pit Women
“I hurry in trousers and ragged jacket: the bald place upon my head is made by thrusting corves. I hurry the corves a mile and more underground and back, they weigh 3cwt, I hurry 11 a day. I wear a belt and chain at the workings to get the corves out; the getters that I work for are naked except for their caps; sometimes they beat me … ; the boys take liberties with me sometimes, they pull me about; I would rather work in mill than coal-pit.” Patience Kershaw, age 17, Boothtown Pit, Halifax
By popular agitation, women’s work in mines was included at the last minute in the 1840-42 Inquiry. At that time one in sixteen Yorkshire coal workers was female. Whereas boys became coal getters at the age of about 16, girls and women tended to remain hurriers all their working days – although it was not unknown for a very strong woman to get coal. The Report scandalized middle-class Victorians – here were women working on all fours like animals. Women doing heavy manual labour. Women wearing scanty clothing – or as bad – men’s clothing. Women working alongside naked men in the bowels of the earth. Female employment was banned in the Mines and Collieries Act of 1842. The ban caused real hardship. Women were thrown out of employment or turned to lower paid work. Some women even voiced regrets … “The work was hard, but not too hard for me … I’d like to work in the pit again. I’d like it better than anything else … “ Ann Eggley, ex underground collier, Thorpe’s Colliery, 1855.

#mylocalmuseum campaign theme “Sport”

We have chosen to feature the game of “Knur and spell”. It’s a game that is traditionally associated with the industrial areas of the West Yorkshire and Lancashire, so would have been played by the local mill workers.
The principle of the game is to strike a small hard ball (the knur), which is either thrown up or suspended in a loop of cord, with a specially constructed stick (the spell). The aim is to drive the ball as far as possible. Shots of up to 300 yards have been recorded. The match was decided by the longest knock, or the best average in an agreed number of knocks. The course was marked with vertical pegs at intervals of 20 yards to facilitate measurements, which were taken over walls, huts or other obstructions. Matches were normally between twenty and thirty knocks, with each player taking five consecutive shots in turn. A referee supervised the contest and the rules were observed rigidly. The game is often called “poor man’s golf”.

Eric Barker takes a mighty swipe during a game of billets (the local variation of knur and spell) played at Heptonstall in the early 1960s.

It was particularly popular in the North of England in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and it is thought to have been introduced originally by the Vikings. The name derives from Old Norse, with “Nurspel” meaning “ball game”. In medieval times matches were often played on Shrove Tuesday and Good Friday, and inter-village rivalry was common.

In the 19th century the game was very popular, with a match at Wibsey in Bradford in 1859 attracting a crowd of 10,000. Large amounts of money were often wagered, often up to £50 or £100, which would have been an entire year’s wages. In the 1920’s the Burnley Football Club goalkeeper Gerry Dawson, played for £250 on the moors above the town.
In recent years however the game has fallen out of favour, with few people with the skill to play the game and make the specialised equipment.
You may be interested to watch a fascinating film from the BBC archive from 1972 when Greetland near Halifax had the honour of hosting the Knur and Spell World Championships. Follow this link to the BBC Archive https://www.facebook.com/BBCArchive/videos/469097513463284

 

#mylocalmuseum campaign theme “Food and Drink”

We have chosen to feature the fascinating story of Mackintosh’s with the creation of their toffee and famous “Quality Street” brand. When the museum is open you will be able to visit our large exhibit and find out more.

John and Violet on their wedding day

Joseph Mackintosh, (died 1891) came from an Inverness family driven by poverty to move to Ashton-under-Lyne to work in the cotton mills. He met Mary Jane Burgess during the Cotton Famine caused by the American Civil War in the 1860s Mary Jane was teaching at a school which her father had set up in order to teach unemployed adults, who might not have had any previous basic education. Both were regular church goers and were married in 1865 and over time had three sons and five daughters, one son and two daughters did not survive infancy.

John was born on 7 July 1868, and the family moved to Halifax shortly afterwards. An Uncle, also, John Mackintosh was managing a cotton spinning mill ran by the Bowman Brothers at Union Mills in Pellon Lane and brought in his brother to be in charge of three rooms in the mill.
Young John started work there at the age of ten as a half-timer, his first week’s wage was half a crown, and he stayed there for 12 years eventually progressing to be a full time minder of a doubling machine for 56 hours per week.
At an early age he became engaged to Violet Taylor (1866-1932), a confectioner’s assistant and a fellow member of Queens Road Church and Sunday School. Bonded by family traditions of worship and education, neither was at all well off, but they lived frugally and saved what money they could spare. They married in 1890 and were determined from the start to find the means to better themselves. A few days after they married they opened up a pastry-cook’s shop in Hanover House, King Cross Street while John continued to work full time in the cotton mill.
The shop made meat pies, fruit pies, Madeira Cakes and such, toffee of the hard brittle type of the day was a side line. Caramels of the soft kind were being imported from America at the time.
The Mackintoshes had the idea of combining the English Butterscotch with the caramel and after a number of trials created Mackintosh’s Celebrated Toffee. Some writers insist on it being Violets idea alone, but as lifelong equal partners in the home, at business, church and charity work it might be argued that it would have probably been a joint effort. They also had a saying “Early to bed, early to rise, never get drunk and advertise”. They put that to use with the very first batch which they promoted as free samples to all who came to try this new product. The following week they advertised again saying you were eating at our expense last week; pay us another visit and eat it at your own expense.
The toffee became instantly popular and most of it was sold on Saturday when people from such places as Sowerby Bridge, Pye Nest, Warley and Luddenden Foot habitually walked into Halifax town centre by way of King Cross.
A local company named Marshes started to operate bus services direct into the town centre which caused trade in King Cross to slow down considerably. The Mackintoshes were thus prompted to open a stall in the Borough market and to deal with shops near to the bus stops at the other end. Soon other shops in the surrounding towns started demanding stock so the decision was made for John to leave the cotton mill for good and to start up manufacturing on a more commercial scale. By 1899 they had expanded so much that they built the first confectionery factory in Queens Road.
By 1902 they were using so much butter that John Mackintosh toured Europe to locate sufficient supplies of the right quality. He found what he required in Riga (now Latvia), and bought £5,000 worth of Siberian butter being brought from afar by the new trans-Siberian railway. This would be equal to £600,000 in 2020.
John Mackintosh was the largest toffee manufacturer in the world by 1905. They sold an average of one hundred tons of toffee every week in England. John Mackintosh, at that time, claimed to be the largest consumer of butter in the world. 1906 Mackintosh opened a factory in Germany then in 1908 a factory was opened in Canada.
Both John and Violet were deeply involved in local Church and Sunday schools; they sup-ported the temperance society and introduced many welfare and health schemes for their employees. They were particularly supportive of the families of the men that they employed who went off to fight in the 1914-18 war.
John Mackintosh died of a heart attack in 1920 and the running of the company was then taken over by his son Harold. The company acquired a Norwich chocolate manufacturer AJ Caley in 1933. The firm was hence the first to offer products that were a mix of Toffee and Chocolate in the same package, manufactured at both Halifax and Norwich.
Toffee had traditionally been made by pouring the molten toffee out onto large metal top tables. When it had cooled and set it was cut into rectangular lozenges and individually hand wrapped prior to shipping. The introduction of rubber moulds around this time meant that toffees and chocolates could now be made in a variety of shapes. Mackintosh’s worked closely with Foregrove of Leeds to develop the first confectionery wrapping process in 1932.
The Quality Street Brand was introduced to the public in 1936. In 1969 the company merged with Rowntree of York to form Rowntree Mackintosh. Quality Street had the largest sale of any confectionery assortment in the world by 1972. Rowntree was acquired by Nestle of Switzerland in 1988. The Norwich factory was closed in 1994.
The Halifax factory continues to manufacture Quality Street, as well as Easter eggs and After Eight mints.

 

#mylocalmuseum campaign theme “People in Nature”

A surprising interaction with nature is the use of the cork oak tree [Quercus suber] in industry in Calderdale. The cork oak tree is a medium sized evergreen native to southwest Europe, particularly Portugal and Spain, but also to northern Africa. Its most familiar use is for wine bottle stoppers; other uses include cork flooring, the cores of cricket balls, table mats, floatation devices, badminton shuttlecocks and specialist uses within the space industry.
The tree is classed as a pyrophyte, its thick, insulating bark making it well adapted to withstand forest fires. Following a fire this insulating bark allows the cork oak to survive and afterwards to re-grow new branches to replace the canopy.
The cork oak bark grows to a considerable thickness and can be harvested for the first time when the tree reaches about 15 years of age. This operation can be repeated for up to 8 years. To convert the curved surface of bark into flat sheets, dirt or soot is first used to fill the cracks and splits. The material is then piled up in pits, weighted from above. This process works better in damp conditions. Later the bark is carefully dried without burning it.
Cork was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to sole their shoes, float their fishing nets and as anchor buoys. Swimming floatation jackets and even high heels were made by the Romans, whilst the Ancient Egyptians lined coffins with cork to help preserve the bodies. Spaniards used cork to insulate their house walls.
During the 19th century, compressed cork was much in demand as a friction driving material in the busy engineering and textile trades of Calderdale.
The Halifax Patent Cork Pulley Company operated until 1984 and made cork friction pinions, friction linings, textile rollers, motor and dynamo pulleys, in addition to floor covering and bottle stoppers. On it’s closure, its machinery was moved to the museum with help from the Science Museum, and is the only display of such equipment in the country. When the museum is able to reopen, come along and see how this fascinating process operated.

 

#mylocalmuseum campaign theme ” Work Life”

 

For many workers in Halifax, their life was dominated by the production of carpets in the famous mills of John Crossley and Sons. Carpets were first brought to Britain from the Middle East and Far East in the 11th and 12th centuries by knights returning from the Crusades. It was several hundred years however, before carpet making became an established industry here. Original carpets were thick woven cloths used to cover tables, beds and floors. It was only in the 18th century that the word assumed it’s present meaning. Three important carpet making centres at this time were Kidderminster, Axminster and Wilton. They gave their names to types of carpet that are now woven worldwide.
At the beginning of the 19th century Halifax was already a carpet weaving centre with two registered businesses, Robert Abbott & Co. and John Ramsden, however the most famous Halifax manufacturers were John Crossley & Sons. Their innovative approach led to worldwide success. The company was founded in 1802 in a small mill at Dean Clough. By 1872 the company had expanded to employ 6,000 people and their mill at Dean Clough covered more than 20 acres. They prospered due to their promptness in exploiting inventions. They acquired patents for Tapestry carpet weaving in 1833 and 1842 and by 1844 they were the pre-eminent centre for Tapestry carpets in Britain. In 1850 they perfected and patented a steam powered carpet loom, which allowed carpet production to increase 12 fold. In 1869 128,851 pieces were woven on 64 looms at Dean Clough.
Unfortunately, following a merger with a Kidderminster carpet manufacturer and after a difficult period of recession and cheap imports, Dean Clough Mill was largely closed down in 1982.
John Crossley’s motto was ” Let every carpet produced by John Crossley and Sons be Its own traveller”.
Here are a few images of the some of the looms that we have at the museum, together with an image of some of the workers there in the late 19th century.

 

#mylocalmuseum campaign theme  “Travel and the Wider World”

We have chosen to feature the Halifax machine tool company of William Asquith who expanded from humble origins in Halifax in 1865, to successfully export their products throughout the world. Their machines were used to build the railroads in the USA, and when the company had a surplus of stock after the end of the Franco-Prussian war, William chartered a boat, took his stock to Russia and sold it all !

The firm specialised in manufacturing drilling and boring machines, and became famous for its radial drills. They machines were of vital use in the First World War, and in 1924 they supplied all the drilling equipment for the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.
The company still exists today producing a range of computer controlled milling, drilling and boring machines in addition to radial drills.
When the museum re-opens you will be able to see an examples of their famous machines, and find out more about this fascinating and successful company.

 

 

New Year’s Day 2021 Steam Lorry Visit

 

It was lovely to welcome Peter Rigg and his steam lorry to Calderdale Industrial Museum on New Years Day. Peter and his team had driven the lorry from Walsden. The lorry is powered by steam and has a maximum speed of around 19 miles per hour. It is just one of the vehicles in Peter Riggs extensive collection. The museum’s outside tap proved useful when refilling the boiler for the return journey !! We are hoping to organise a steam event at the museum sometime in the future.

Whilst the museum is closed why not tour the museum virtually by watching this informative 5 minutes film produced by the Yorkshire Post in January 2019. It features many of our working exhibits with fascinating facts about them from our volunteers.

 

Refurbishment of the Cork area   

Whilst the museum is closed, the volunteer team is busy refurbishing and planning the re-interpretation of the Cork display. Cork is a fascinating substance that was used extensively in local industry in the past.
It is made from the bark of the cork oak (Quercus suber), the predominant tree species in Portugal. Portugal accounts for just over half of the world’s cork output, producing 157,000 tonnes annually. There are also plantations in France, Spain, Italy, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Over 100,000 people depend on cork growing and processing in these countries.
The bark is harvested for the first time when the tree is 25 years old. Then it is removed every 9-12 years without ever damaging the tree, which lives around 200 years. Cork obtains the qualities needed for the production of wine bottle stoppers, its main application, only after the third harvesting. The tree’s acorns are used to feed pigs that make some of the best cured ham Spain and Portugal are famous for.
Thanks to the cork’s cell-like structure, the material is elastic, resilient and highly impermeable. The ancient Greeks and Romans used cork in combination with natural resins to stopper wine and oil amphorae. Now, some 70 percent of all cork produced is used to make wine bottle stoppers. Portugal alone makes 40 million stoppers per day.
Entire pieces of cork are also used in footwear, furniture, interior decoration as well as older lifebuoys. The baseball ball has a round cushioned cork centre called a “pill.” Ground-up cork is “baked” and compressed to make floor and wall tiles, good for acoustic isolation. Granulated cork is added to concrete for thermal insulation and reduced weight. Shredded cork is used in ablative thermal protection coating on booster rockets, including the Space Shuttle’s external tank, which is jettisoned as the ship leaves the Earth’s atmosphere.

Waterwheel working again

Great news, the waterwheel at the museum has been repaired and restored and is now working again, complete with it’s new special golden paddle !

 

Adrian Wiszniewski writes:
Work started in June 2019 to strip the old buckets away. We started with a risk assessment to put in place the necessary safety systems and procedures to work at a height some 16 feet above the base line of the tank. We began by installing temporary locking bars to prevent the wheel rotating, using chain blocks and slings as an extra layer of safety which also took any backlash out of the arrangement. Wooden removable platforms were made, to fit inside the wheel at axle level, and also to fit the gap between the periphery of the wheel and the front wall of the tank. We had to strip only a yard or so at a time and then rotate the wheel through half a turn to strip the corresponding amount off the other side. This would be repeated at 90 degrees to the first section and so on to keep the balance of the wheel to a manageable degree. The spokes were replaced, one by one, using similar procedures. The COVID 19 crisis caused a lengthy stoppage of work but we can now seethe end in sight and expect to see the wheel back in action, hopefully by early November.

The Team ; Rasoul Hemmapour, Rob Heron, Adrian Jackson, Sandy Mclure, Roger Swift, Adrian Wiszniewski

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