Minehead & District

Past Events

Up, up and away!
Report on our September 2018 visit to Aerospace Bristol

On 26 September 2018 some 33 members of Minehead & District U3A embarked on a visit to Aerospace Bristol. To start our day out on the correct footing, the weather that day was particularly good.

Aerospace Bristol #2 The museum charts the history of the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company (BCAC) from its birth in 1910 through to the last flight of Concorde in 2003, as well as looking toward the future. This is told through a series of stories accompanied by an impressive collection of artefacts, photographs, documents, models and complete full-size aircraft. Visitors are allowed to touch many of the items on display and there are cutaway full-size sections of aircraft into which you can venture.

Concorde at Aerospace Bristol Without doubt, the highlight of the visit is the Concorde display. It is possible to walk around, under and into this icon of British and French aviation. Alongside is a collection of artefacts from the plane’s history and interactive displays relating to Concorde.

Altogether, the exhibits tell the amazing story of the growth of the aircraft industry in Bristol and of one of the very earliest aeroplane manufacturers.

Alan Smithers

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Maritime Minehead
Our Special Interest Day, March 2017

Over 100 members attended Minehead U3A's Special Interest Day on 22 March - the theme this year being Maritime Minehead. Much of the meeting focused on the research work that seven U3A members have carried out for this season's exhibition at Minehead Museum.

Museum Trustee Sue Lloyd, who co-ordinated the project, introduced the five speakers in the morning, each speaking about their area of research. Peter Dean spoke about the history of Minehead harbour and the role of the Luttrell family, followed by Dr John Goderich whose subject was the shipping that used the harbour - from Celtic saints to the last working vessel, the Emma Louise, in the 1950s. Both described how busy and important Minehead was as a trading centre in centuries past. Di Martin's presentation was on smuggling in this area, the 'free trade' that avoided import duties and was rife at all levels of society, and Barbara Hoffbauer introduced the audience to some mariner families of Quay Town, from her studies of census records and crew lists. One of her photographs showed seven Minehead mariners in about 1930 sitting on the sea wall, and she gave a mini biography for each of them in turn. Cherrie Temple’s subject was the short-lived pier, and the paddlesteamers who have visited Minehead since the mid C19th.

Some of the researchers' work is featured in displays at the Minehead Museum and more information is available in accompanying folders.

After lunch there was a break from serious research, with journalist, author and boatbuilder Tony James' hilarious talk 'Up the Creek – a lifetime trying to be a sailor', so the nautical theme continued. Tony had also brought a number of his model boats for the audience to see.

And, fittingly, the day ended with the Acorn Shanty Crew singing a number of seafaring songs, concluding with the Padstow Farewell.

Jill Walmsley

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