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Kingswood Heritage Museum

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Sunday 27th May 2018

11am: Douglas Cavalcade
Kingswood Heritage Museum

Kingswood Heritage Museum is again privileged to host the annual Douglas Motorcycle Rally and Cavalcade.

The Rally commences at 11am, and the Cavalcade – including a run along one of the former bike testing circuits via the Chew Valley - begins at noon.

The world famous Douglas motorbikes were built in Kingswood from 1907 to 1957. Some 25000 were constructed for military use in the First World War. Kingswood Heritage Museum has a major exhibition featuring the marque, including one of the machines designed for war time despatch riders. The bikes were regular winners of the Isle of Man TT races.

Kingswood Heritage Museum is open on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2.00pm to 5.00pm, and on Bank Holiday weekends (including Mondays)... Read more >>

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Kingswood Heritage Museum

Contact Kingswood Museum

The Museum is located in the former Champion Brass Works, at Tower Lane, Warmley BS30 8XT, just off the A4174 Avon Ring Road (Cadbury Heath exit). Buses 19, 19a , 42 and 43 stop nearby.

Enjoy free parking, toilets, refreshments and a book and gift shop.

Kingswood Heritage Museum
  • Phone: 0117 960 5664
  • Website www.kingswoodmuseum.org.uk
  • Email:

Opening Hours

Kingswood Heritage Museum is open for the 2018 season on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays until 27 November from 2.00pm until 5.00pm, and on Bank Holidays between 11.00am and 5.00pm.

The grotto and gardens are open at Bank Holiday weekends, but only on the Sunday and Monday (ie not the Saturday).

The Museum is closed December to March inclusive.

We are always pleased to entertain group visits from schools and local societies, and refreshments can be provided. Interested parties should make contact via email to or by telephone at 0117 960 5664.

Latest News

Continuing success for Museum groups

Kingswood Heritage Museum

The do-it-yourself groups at Kingswood Heritage Museum are looking to add to their numbers in 2018.

The four groups give volunteers an opportunity to work on their own projects, or to carry out jobs to benefit various charities, in a friendly and supportive environment.

The gatherings take place at the Museum as follows:

  • Men in Sheds has been going for two years now, and every Thursday allows its members to test their skills in wood and metal working;
  • The women's DIY club takes place on Mondays and celebrates its first birthday in May;
  • Tools for Self Reliance, meeting on Tuesdays, is part of the national charity that refurbishes tools and other equipment for workers in African communities;
  • Knitters and Natters (pictured) is certainly the right title for the knitting and craftwork group, which also meets on Mondays.

New members are welcomed to all these activities. People interested should contact the Museum for more information, telephone 0117 960 5664, or via email at - or simply walk in on the scheduled day!

Memories of Hanham

Kingswood Heritage Museum

A new exhibit this year at Kingswood Heritage Museum features a pictorial review of Hanham as it developed over the period since World War II.

With many photographs from local newspapers and libraries, and from Hanham Local History Society, the story of Hanham is set out, with sections on the High Street, the schools, the churches and chapels – and the floods (pictured)!

Once again the Museum is seeking our help in adding to the story, and welcomes hearing from people who lived and worked there.

We are invited to contribute by contacting the Museum by phone at 0117 960 5664, or via email at .

New Exhibits for 2018 Season

Kingswood Heritage Museum

Kingswood Heritage Museum is pleased to announce its new season, starting in April.

Volunteers have been at work for weeks, enhancing last year's displays and creating new exhibits for 2018.

The Museum's First World War exhibition has undergone a major renovation to recognise the coming centenary of the Armistice. A new feature will be a Roll of Honour dedicated to the 685 men from the area who gave their lives in the conflict. The photograph shows the Warmley Home Guard detachment.

At the same time the World War II exhibition has been renewed, giving greater attention to the local involvement in the war effort. In this connection, the Museum continues to look for more local people's wartime stories.

Alan Bryant, Joint Museum Curator, said: “We are very much looking forward to the 2018 season, and as usual we are looking for contributions from local people to add to our knowledge. Anyone with a story to tell relating to either of the World Wars, or photos or artefacts for display, is asked to contact us at .”

An important new exhibit covers the story of the Beagle 2 and its flight to Mars in 2003. The spacecraft was the brainchild of Professor Colin Pillinger, at one time a pupil of Kingswood Grammar School (now King's Oak Academy). A replica of the Beagle will be on display.

New Kingswood Heritage Museum Knitting Group

Kingswood Heritage Museum

You'll already be aware of the successful women's do-it-yourself group started by Kingswood Heritage Museum this year. Now the Museum is going a step further, by introducing a new group dedicated to needlework, crochet, embroidery and knitting.

The group meets Monday mornings 10am to 12 o'clock in the Museum. A small fee of £2 includes tea/coffee.

For more information contact Linda Payne on 0117 9605664 or , or the Museum using the contact details at the top of this page.

Everyone is welcome – and that includes beginners and any men who want to join!

Accreditation for Kingswood Heritage Museum

Kingswood Heritage Museum

Kingswood Heritage Museum has taken its first step toward joining the big league of museums, by obtaining accreditation from the Arts Council of Great Britain.

Accreditation means that we are classed as a properly run museum, with all the systems and procedures in place to conserve and maintain the artefacts in our custody.

It also means that we can seek appropriate artefacts on loan from other accredited museums and are eligible to apply for Heritage Lottery Fund grants.

This accolade has been gained only as the result of the work over the last two years of many Friends of the Museum and volunteers.

Douglas bikes roar again!

Kingswood Heritage Museum

A regular feature of the Spring (end of May) Bank Holiday is the Douglas Motorbike Rally and Cavalcade, attracting Douglas motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the country.

The Rally commences at 11.00 am, and the Cavalcade – including a run along one of the former bike testing circuits via the Chew Valley - begins at noon.

Everyone is welcome to come along, see dozens of vintage motorcycles, talk to their riders/owners and watch as they move off on the Sunday to ride the old factory test route.

One of the best known Douglas riders comes along with his 1929 bike – although it's been much modified to make it faster.

Kingswood Heritage Museum

Now in his eighties, Henry Body has been competing in bike races for many decades, especially on veteran bikes. And - to prove there's nothing new under the sun – Henry exhibits the experimental electric Douglas from 1979!

The world famous Douglas bikes were built in Kingswood from 1907 to 1957. Some 25,000 were constructed for military use in the First World War.

Kingswood Heritage Museum has a major exhibition featuring the marque, including one of the machines designed for war time despatch riders. The bikes were regular winners of the Isle of Man TT races.

The Douglas Company saw the potential in the Italian scooter after World War II, and started making Vespas under licence in 1951. A sidecar was introduced in 1952.

Kingswood Heritage Museum

By the time production ceased in 1962 126,230 had been built. The 125cc model was marketed at just under £150, including purchase tax.

Bill Douglas, great grandson of the founders of the firm, said: “It is always a stirring sight to see the bikes in action, and we expect a big turnout around the area to watch the cavalcade”.

The line up opens at 11am, and the run - along one of the former bike testing circuits via the Chew Valley - begins at noon.

Men in Sheds

Men in Sheds has set up a branch at Kingswood Heritage Museum, and is looking to welcome new members.  

Kingswood Heritage Museum

The group provides an exciting opportunity for men (and women) to work in wood and other materials on their own projects, using the workshop and tools belonging to the Museum. Members can also create and repair mechanical items in the workshop.

The concept was initiated in the UK by the charity AgeUK, but is now an independently run organisation. It has some 250 branches in the UK, with 90 new groups in the process of forming. There are two established branches in the Bristol area.

Mervyn Bishop, one the new group's organisers, says: “What we seek to do is to provide a safe and friendly atmosphere where people can work - on their own or with others - on projects of their own choosing and at their own pace.”

The group meets at Kingswood Heritage Museum on Thursday mornings, starting at 9.30am. Other sessions will be added as more members join.

Mervyn adds: “For more information, contact me via , or leave a message for me at the Museum (phone 0117 960 5664) - or just come along. You'll be very welcome!”

An Eighteenth Century Theme Park

A major historical feature in the care of Kingwood Heritage Museum is only open to the public at large for a few days each year, so do not miss the chance to visit.

Kingswood Heritage Museum

Shaun Gibbs, one of the Museum's experts on the attraction, calls it "an eighteenth century theme park".

Shaun adds: "When William Champion's zinc making business in Warmley became successful in the late eighteenth century, he built himself an elegant and imposing new house at the heart of his works. The surrounding gardens he added were particularly impressive, laid out in the then popular Dutch style.

"A focal point was the large lake which was not only ornamental but also provided the water supply for the works. In the centre of the lake was a ten metre high stature of the god Neptune with his trident. This is still there, and is believed to be the largest garden statue now standing in the country.

"An essential feature of any large garden of that era was a grotto, and Champion's is thought to be the most extensive man-made grotto surviving. It was probably based on the example at Goldney House, in Clifton, Bristol, built by Champion's uncle, but - uniquely - was comprised mainly of the same black clinker waste from the factory that adorns Neptune."

See the events calendar for upcoming dates.

About the Centre

Kingswood Heritage Museum is based in the Brassworks built by William Champion, an 18th Century Quaker industrialist, with Warmley Historic Gardens alongside.

Come inside to...

Kingswood Heritage Museum

  • Step inside the Windmill Tower
  • Scramble through the mock-up of a mine
  • Discover why methodism began in Kingswood
  • Find out about the Victorian Age
  • See life through World War II
  • Remember the 50s
  • Learn about the local boot and shoe-making industry
  • Read about local Heroes and Villains
  • Visit Kingswood's own Douglas Motorcycle display

Become a Friend

Kingswood Heritage Museum welcomes friends and volunteers to support a wide range of activities.

Friends get free admission to all events and receive a newsletter with event details.

Meetings are held at the Museum on the second Thursday of February, April, June, August, October and December at 7.30pm to plan fundraising and work co-ordination.

If you would like to help with displays or events, or would like to join the Friends Scheme, please get in touch.





Forthcoming events

Sunday 27th May 2018


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