Forge Mill
Forge Mill

The Forge Mill Needle Museum was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1983 and is housed in a lovely 18th-century mill. The Museum tells the long history of the manufacture of needles and fishing tackle in the Redditch area over the past 3 centuries.

Redditch once produced 90% of the world's needles, an extraordinary statistic, and the museum shows how the trade was carried out in Victorian times. See how needles were shaped, hardened, and polished and learn about the extraordinarily difficult conditions faced by the mill workers.

Forge Mill needle scouring equipment
Forge Mill needle
scouring equipment

The mill - the only surviving scouring mill in the world - was used to scour (polish) the needles, and has been restored to show exactly how the polishing was carried out over 150 years ago. Much of the water-powered machinery is original, and visitors can see it working on Tuesday afternoons and weekends.

On the top floor of the museum are displays covering the history of needle-making in Redditch, sand a wide-ranging collection of needle-related artefacts, including fish-hooks. Included are tools and workbenches used by workers, unusual needle cases, and vintage photos of the needlework industry.

There is also a regular programme of special exhibits, including local history, crafts, and the arts, with a special focus on modern textiles.

Bordesley Abbey

The museum is located beside the remains of Bordesley Abbey, a 12th-century Cistercian monastery founded by Waleran de Beaumont, Count of Meulan for monks from Garendon Abbey in Leicestershire.

The abbey is ruinous, but the ruins are said to be haunted by the ghost of the 10th Earl of Warwick, Guy de Beauchamp, known as the Black Dog of Ardennes. The visitor centre displays artefacts found during the excavation of the abbey ruins.

Bordesley Abbey ruins
Bordesley Abbey ruins

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About Forge Mill Needle Museum
Address: Needle Mill Lane, Riverside, Redditch, Worcestershire, England, B98 8HY
Attraction Type: Museum
Location: Off the M42 at J2. Take the 2nd exit, signed Riverside. Free car parking.
Website: Forge Mill Needle Museum
Location map
OS: SP045685
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


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