From Our Mid-Dorset Correspondent
One of the delights of Half-Term must surely be the opportunities it provides to take family trips (with or without the children who can always be left with a house-bound relative) to interesting places. Perhaps a country house or park, a large retail shopping centre or - for those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time - a Bank Holiday accident hotspot. Exciting as each and every one of these can be, nothing tops the sheer excitement of a trip to an industrial museum where amidst the cogs and sprockets lurk myriad delights for the techno-enthusiast with a strong sense of yesteryear.* / **
Only last week I was fortunate enough to invited to the opening of the "Flanges through the Ages" Exhibition at the Dorset Industrial History Museum in Melcombe Horsey and what a treat it turned out to be. Opened on Tuesday by Mrs Amanda J Threadbone the exhibition runs through to September and is expected to attract more than a handful of visitors each day. More than twenty different flanges have been assembled by Curator Robert "Bob" Kogg-Weall who radiates enthusiasm for the project with every word he speaks. "This is quite possibly the most exciting thing I have done in my whole life" says Bob - and looking at him you can well believe it. "When I was told I would be up close and personal with some of the counties most celebrated flanges I was just over the moon". Who wouldn't?" ***
"Bob" particularly recommends Exhibit 14: Self-Lubricating Double Flange [The Thrupiece Foundry, 1885]. It was commissioned by The Hornimint Company and was designed to accommodate up to two horizontal broadcocks**** in rapid succession, thus shortening the Sexichoc™ manufacturing process by several minutes.
Visitors to the Exhibition in possession of a Threadbone Industrial Museum's TIMe experience Pass are entitled to free entry on a Tuesday afternoon between 1600 and 16.10 provided they vacate the Exhibition Hall by 16.08.
*NB Those in search of adventure are advised to avoid Folk Museums or any other organisation, activity or product carrying the label "folk". Anything so titled is merely a euphemism for dusty flyblown exhibits of doubtful worth and truly horrendous appearance - often costumes, dolls, flat-irons, cobbler's lasts and fire grates dating from the mid-late 19th century. See Amanda J Threadbone (2008) "Days Out and What to Avoid" The Threadbone Press £25.
**The techno-enthusiast's wife - who has usually given up all sense of self-worth and entitlement to a life of her own - can usually get a cup of tea and a slice of cake at such places. See Brenda Oats (2012) "Not a Completely Wasted Day: Great Snacks in Unlikely Places" The Threadbone Press £25.
*** Answers on a postcard please to Robert "Bob" Kogg-Weall c/o The Dorset Industrial History Museum in Melcombe Horsey.
**** The broadcock was the brainchild of Sir Randal Thrupiece (1844-1912) and was the lineal successor to the more familiar 18th century narrowcock. It was better suited to mass production having (a) a longer thrust and (b) a more robust and reliable return-sprocket mechanism.
Poster for The Dorset Industrial History Museum, Melcombe Horsey which is currently hosting the "Flanges through the Ages" Exhibition. It runs until September and has already been nominated for the Threadbone Industrial Museum's Exhibitions of the Year Award [Flange Section].