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Gloucestershire Business News

Celebrate more than 200 years of astounding inventions in Stroud

Stroudwater Textile Trust is holding two weekends of free heritage events in Stroud; home of textile innovations, the lawnmower, and the adjustable spanner.

In partnership with Cotswold Canals Connected, the event will showcase inventions and machinery made at Phoenix Ironworks, Thrupp, as well as giving the public the opportunity to visit the rarely open, historic St Mary's Mill in Chalford.

This event is part of Heritage Open Days, a nationwide celebration of heritage and culture that takes place across the country every September. The theme for this year's Heritage Open Days is 'Astounding Inventions'.

The first weekend is set over three locations from 11am-4pm on the 10th and 11th September. The locations are:

  • St Mary's Mill, Chalford GL6 8PX - Visitors can see the waterwheel, the turning Tangye steam engine and historic textile machinery, some of it made at Thrupp. This is the only location where booking is required, secure your place now:
  • The Salt House, Brimscombe Port GL5 2QG - Cotswold Canals Connected partners, Stroudwater Navigation Archive Charity will be joined by the Miniature Museum; artists specialised in creating engaging pieces based on historical research and public collaboration, an example of their work is the audio posts at Ocean and Blunder Lock. Together they will present archive maps, images and oral history which bring the space to life. The archives are the oldest and most complete in the country.
  • Stroud Brewery GL5 2BY - As the birthplace of the textile machinery that led to the invention of the lawnmower (formerly Phoenix Ironworks), the Brewery will have on display an original Budding lawn mower, loaned by Stroud District Council's Museum in the Park. Displays will trace the ingenious local ideas and personal rivalries that transformed the shearing of cloth - and the mowing of lawns.

The following weekend of the 17th and 18th September, Dunkirk Mill Museum and the Weaving Shed at Gigg Mill, Nailsworth, will offer free entry and examples of textile innovations as well as demonstrating working historic machinery. More information at: 

Ian Mackintosh of Stroudwater Textile Trust said: "We are truly excited to be holding an event that showcases the heritage of the Stroud district and make it accessible to all! This promises to be a fun, educational, and unique weekend for adults and children to enjoy.

"I would like to thank Cotswold Canals Connected, Nick Miles Building Contractors Ltd and The Honourable Company of Gloucestershire for their continued support and for making this event possible."

Chris Mitford-Slade, Cotswold Canals Connected project director, said: "Cotswold Canals Connected is proud to be working with Stroudwater Textile Trust to carry out this event. Stroudwater Textile Trust is a vital resource that promotes the rich culture of Stroud and the significant part it played in the Industrial Revolution.

"With the help of organisations such as Stroudwater Textile Trust and Stroudwater Navigation Archive Charity, Cotswold Canals Connected can fulfil its commitment of creating pathways for heritage learning that ensure Stroud's history is accessible to all."

Find out more about this event and the Cotswold Canals Connected project at  and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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