Forge Mill Needle Museum & Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre

Forge Mill Needle Museum & Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre, Redditch: Hours, Address, Forge Mill Needle Museum & Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre Reviews: 4.5/5

Forge Mill Needle Museum & Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre

Forge Mill Needle Museum & Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre
4.5
Speciality Museums • Historic Sites • Historic Walking Areas
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10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
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4.5
204 reviews
Excellent
118
Very good
69
Average
12
Poor
2
Terrible
3

Lorraine Shorten
5 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
Really interesting museum showing the development of needle making from the 1800's.
Lovely coffee shop too, very friendly staff.
Written 11 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Monica G
Birmingham, UK20 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
As a first time visitor I did expect more.

The grounds and the look of the mill/museum were lovely. It was a nice day to look around.

There were a few signs but not that clear what to do. From the website it says you pay a fee then you get free entry thereafter for 2 more visits.

There was a mobile cafe stall serving drinks in paper cups and outdoor seating

We approached the museum and walked in expecting there to be a reception area there wasn't. We could hear voices but could not see anyone. Had a quick look on the lower floor before vacating and walked around.

We went back to the cafe and walked around it then asked one of the staff members for directions to the Abbey ruins. They kindly obliged and we too a walk to it, although again there were not clear signs to the site. But as it was a nice day we took a walk around and eventually found it.

I think this place attracts regular visitors and everyone seemed very familiar to the surroundings. But as a first time visitor, did not feel instructions on how to spend the visit were clearly presented.

However. It has lovely surroundings and I'm sure the museum is lovely. I think they hold events there mostly.

If you don't mind your coffee in a paper cup then this place is for you, personally I like a real cup
Written 8 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sillybait
Redditch, UK11 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
First confession, we've never visited the museum (Yet) and secondly we are decades off the 40's era, however we saw this advertised and gave it a go., living locally we could walk there.
Really enjoyable evening out, I gather 2 local acts, Helen Pearson and The Violettes performed on the night and were really good acts, well done.
The venue was lovely and although got a bit chilly later on it was a nice place to host evening entertainment. Bar outside with reasonably priced drinks and friendly staff, always a bonus..
Overall the admission fee and drink prices proved to be a nice evening out.
Will definitely support more events there and make a point of actually visiting the museum, as that looks worth a visit, maybe take a picnic.
Thanks for nice evening and something different.
Written 8 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Callie B
62 contributions
May 2022
Staying not too far away on hols we thought we would spend an hour or two here on a damp, grey day in May. Although there were a few cars in the car park when we arrived we couldn't figure out where to go, the visitor centre seemed to have been abandoned but eventually we wandered around the corner and found out that we could buy our entry tickets at a food van so we queued there with people who were ordering food and drink to take into the cafe to eat. Seemed a bit of an odd set up tbh. The food van lady Pointed out where we had to go to enter the mill and us told that there would be someone just inside to talk to us about the museum. But no one did. We hung around in that first room for about 20 mins waiting but although we could hear voices the other side of the Staff Only door, we didn't see anyone so we had no choice but to set off on our own. There was a needlework display in this first room which was excellent, some stunningly creative pieces. But then where should we go? Nobody there to tell us still. Upstairs or downstairs? Clear as mud. We opted for down. Some interesting exhibits and some audio info although one didn't appear to be working. So we went back up to where we started, still nobody to guide us on anything. So we set off across into the Scouring Mill section. Lots of old equipment here and more down a very steep, narrow staircase which isn't for the faint hearted. Some written info but not a huge amount to tell us what we were looking at. Eventually we headed back to where we had started, still no staff to be seen, and went up the stairs that time where, at the far end of the room, we found a little TV and several chairs and sat down to watch a very informative film about the mill and the needle making processes so only then did we figure out what the machinery etc was for in the other rooms. We would've been better off starting up there with this but as the promised guide/helper/staff member never did appear we did not know that until it was too late! Unfortunately we didn't hear all of the information from the film as there were 2 ladies looking at the exhibits in the same room and one was very loud and selfishly drowned a lot of the commentary out! Overall I think it is a lovely little museum but we didn't get the best out of it by not being given the chance to be shown anything or told anything. A shame.
Written 7 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tourists3
United Kingdom65 contributions
May 2022
Well worth a visit. Covers surgical needles and fishing hooks as well as needles. The staff/volunteers were excellent very friendly and informative - the video presentation is essential as it covers the labour intensive process in detail. We plan to make a return visit when the Abbey visitor centre is open.
Written 7 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Christine
Oakham, UK8 contributions
Apr 2022 • Solo
Well worth a visit. I liked the old photos and the packaging on display, as well as the world’s largest needles! Fascinating mix of social and industrial history as well as an insight into how physically hard people’s lives were in days gone by.
Written 5 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Carol B
Birmingham, UK5,320 contributions
Mar 2022
Wednesday 30th March 2022, My husband and I drove down to Redditch where we went to visit Forge Mill Needle Museum and Bordesley Abbey in Redditch. I had visited this mill in 2014, but my husband had never been there, so today was the day.

Forge Mill Needle Museum tells the fascinating and sometimes gruesome story of needle making in Victorian times. The Mill is a listed building which houses original water powered machinery. Models and recreated scenes and an audio trail provide a vivid illustration of how needles were once made, and how Redditch came to dominate the world needle trade.

You can step back in time and experience the largely unchanged atmosphere of an original scouring (polishing) mill. Much of the original Victorian water powered machinery remains and is working. There is a real demonstration of this on a Tuesday every week, barring mechanical problems. It is unique in that it is the only water powered scouring mill left in the world.

The middle floor of the mill is used as a temporary exhibition space, on the day we went it was holding a display of Quilting, with some very beautiful and inspiring examples made using needles made in the Forge Mill.

The top floor holds an extensive and unique collection of needle related items. You see some of the more unusual needles made by the mill and there uses like curved surgical needles, and the largest needles in the world used for putting the buttons on bed mattresses as well a display of fish hooks which were made in 1924. Both Mark and I will never look at a needle in quite the same way again!!

Next we took a stroll across Bordesley Water Meadows to go to visit Bordesley Abbey. Bordesley Abbey is rich in history and archaeological evidence.

In 1140 a group of Cistercian monks from Garendon Abbey in Leicestershire were granted land in the Arrow Valley by Waleran De Beaumont, Count of Meuland and Earl of Worcester. This enabled the monks to found Bordesley Abbey and turn the Arrow Valley into a place suitable for a monastery. Bordesley means ‘the place where boards were obtained’.

Archaeological evidence shows that when the monks arrived the Valley was a very marshy and inhospitable place, unsuitable for the building of a very large Abbey – so they dug a complex drainage system and diverted the River Arrow.

Excavations show that the first buildings were made of wood, but within a few years they replaced it with stone buildings. You can see evidence of how the Abbey changed as you walk around – from early plain green sandstone to the more ornately decorated later red sandstone.

The ‘Night stairs are also clearly visible – so called because the monks used these stairs to get into the church for the first service at 2 am!

Historical research tells us that the Abbey had about 20 farms or ‘granges’ in Warwickshire and Worcestershire and the sale of its produce – cereals and especially wool – gave the Abbey much of its wealth, but this prosperity, however, was not to last.

In 1538 Henry VIII dissolved the monastic houses and Bordesley was demolished and the estates were sold. The ruins remained buried until J M Woodward (tutor to the Bartleet family) first excavated them in 1864. In 1969 Bordesley Abbey project team began a programme of excavations. Many of the objects and findings of the excavation are found in the Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre, which is really interesting and gives real insight into the life and workings of the Abbey.

We took lots of photographs whilst we were here. We left the mill when it closed around 3.00 pm.

This mill is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Written 1 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alan H
Barnstaple, UK38 contributions
Mar 2022
A splendid day out, right from morning coffee and cake to the Scouring Mill. Don’t miss “EM’s” brick in the wall……. Nothing to do with Pink Floyd, you’ll have to work it out yourselves.
Enthusiastic, knowledgeable, friendly staff, fabulous weather just made the day great.
Did you know, for £6.50 per adult or £14.50/family you can go back 3 times over the year, eat more cake, play in the park and find out why Flora McDonald sewed all night with a Alsester and Pollock needle.
Free parking and the wife recommends the lime and pistachio cake.👍
Written 19 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Joanna K
Bromsgrove, UK3 contributions
Sep 2021
Lovely setting and ice cream/drinks facilities. Interesting exhibitions and great to learn some history of the region.
Written 15 February 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your lovely feedback, we hope to see you again soon.
Written 1 March 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

catharine o
27 contributions
Nov 2021 • Friends
Wonderful museum situated in a lovely position in Redditch. The staff were helpful and knowledgeable. The visit was very informative and so worthwhile. Never realised how many different sorts of needle we use. Beautiful well laid out displays and sorry we did not have enough time to look at the abbey ruins as well.
Written 22 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for such lovely feedback. We hope to see you again soon.
Written 1 February 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Forge Mill Needle Museum & Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre

Forge Mill Needle Museum & Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre is open:
  • Tue - Sun 10:00 - 15:00


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