Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society

Taunton Baptist Church, Silver Street, TA1 3DH, Taunton

13 Jan - 9 Mar 2020

Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society


The Winter Programme 2020.

Monday 13 January,  Clark’s and their industrial housing in Street
SIAS Chair: Mary Miles
The Clark Family virtually founded the town of Street, and early factory buildings still survive. Public buildings and groups of workers houses recall the family’s benevolence and their Quaker roots.
Monday 27 January,  The Grand Western Canal and its canal lifts,
Denis Dodd
Once part of a scheme to link the Bristol and English Channels by inland waterway, the Grand Western Canal employed vertical lifts instead of locks. The best preserved lift, at Nynehead, raised boats by 24 feet.
Monday 10 February,  The West Somerset Railway: past, present & future.  
Geoff Garfield
Opened in 1862 to Watchet, and originally using Brunel’s Broad Gauge, the line was extended to Minehead in 1874. It was closed by British Railways in 1971, but was progressively reopened over following years to become today’s well known and much loved heritage steam railway.

Monday 24 February,  The history of cellophane and its manufacture  at British Cellophane, Bridgwater.  
Stewart Richards.
British Cellophane, a subsidiary of Courtaulds Ltd, began production of ‘transparent paper’ under the name cellophane in 1937. It became Bridgwater’s largest employer and is remembered for its large factory and distinctive aroma. The works close in 2005.

Monday 9 March,   The first Atlantic Telegraph Cables
John Dike
After several attempts the first telegraph line across the Atlantic, between Ireland and Newfoundland, was completed in 1858. However, weal cable and electric current meant that it was not until 1866 that a permanent line was established, and was laid using Brunel’s huge ship the Great Eastern.


Opening Hours

See above for programme dates.



Meetimgs start at 7.30pm.
Non-members most welcome (£3 charge).



Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society
Taunton Baptist Church
Silver Street
United Kingdom

T: 07736 374003



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