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Vice-Chairman’s Mike Taylor Report Spring 2018

A rare and unusual opportunity for the Vice Chairman to put some notes together for you. Tony Coverdale has resigned due to work commitments. He leaves an interesting legacy with his passing gift of an excellent talk on submarines and he did most of the work on the Gazetteer, so thank you Tony. As with any such publication the Gazetteer, we are aware there are a few errors which have crept in notably from inaccuracies inherited from other publications. Rod Dowling summed it up very nicely by asking the question “Did Donald Trump edit the book as there is some Fake News evident”. So if you spot any please let us know. These are now being distributed to members in celebration of 50 years of BIAS work in preserving our industrial heritage. So if you have not had your copy please email Maggie or me or any of the committee, they can be collected at our regular meetings or we will post them to you for £3. A quantity have been donated to the Heritage Schools project run by Heritage England.

As this is the culmination of our 50th year I think we should be pleased with a very positive result. Those present may have noted the poignancy as Professor Angus Buchanan and Sir Neil Cosson’s, co founders of BIAS were together. Then Sir Neil gave his presentation held at Green Park Station a very appropriate venue as this was one of BIAS early success stories, an industrial building preserved and given a new lease of life with a change of use!! It shows what can be achieved with a little imagination, the bulldozer is not necessarily the right option. Sir Neil covered a wide range of topics and had many forgotten pictures of the work of BIAS Volunteers some thing to be proud of. If you missed it his paper is in Journal 49.

The next event was our birthday party held at Radstock Museum this was well attended and the cake went down well. We ran our usual events through out the year all very successful notably Stuart’s walk “On the Waterfront” . The visit to the Kingswood Museum and Warmley Grotto’s lead by Alan Bryant. We also visited Brandy Bottom Colliery to see the progress made by the South Glos Mines Research Group lead by Ken Kemp and Hamish Orr-Ewing.

We published 3 excellent News Letters with a very diverse subject matter from the opening of Claverton Pumping Station after a 4 year renovation, Alan Nuttall ‘s report on the Somerset Coal canal walk, pictures of the new wheel for the Brunel Swivel bridge. A very mixed bag, don’t you just love the tattooes.

Journal 49 is really nice as Sir Neil Cossons’ paper is recorded and also Brenda Buchanan early memories plus lots of other interesting articles, diverse as ever.

At the recent “Head of Steam ” conference held at the Museum of Bath at Work the highlight for me was hearing Shane Kelleher of the Iron Bridge Museum talk about the future of heritage organisations like ourselves, He spoke at length on the benefits of the volunteers .I pointed out to the delegates what a productive lot BIAS members are, as there is not a heritage site that does not have BIAS volunteers helping and I know most members have varied interests.

I would like to quote from the last SIAS bulletin when John Clarke was asked How do you see the future of SIAS and IA? The society keeps the interest going. What I particularly like is that you can get involved as you want. If you want to write or talk, then that is encouraged, but equally there is the place for those who want to learn, or are happy to sit and listen. I think that is one of our strengths – there is a place for everyone. The committee has the same sentiments, but we would like to be able to welcome more people to help the committee.

This year you are invited to the annual SWWRIAC conference held at West Coker on 14 April organised by SIAS. BIAS will be hosting the conference on Saturday 6 April 2019 in Saltford, so put these dates in your diary and if you have any ideas or would like to help with the organisation please let me know. If you have any ideas for speakers or you would like to speak about your specialist interest then please let us know. See you there Mike Taylor.