The Wessex group visited the Museum of Bath at Work on 23 November 2014. This is a very unusual museum, which could almost have been designed to appeal to TATHS members.

The core of the museum's collection is the offices, stores and workshops of the Bowler family engineering business, which traded on the same site in Bath from 1886 until 1969 when it was demolished for road widening. In all that time, virtually nothing was thrown away - so all the records, all the correspondence, and a huge amount of the stock and equipment of a nineteenth century firm survived intact.

Their original business was engineering, which encompassed pattern making, brass casting, gas fitting, illuminated sign making and domestic odd jobs. They also expanded into bottling and selling fizzy drinks. All the artefacts were transferred into the museum, where they are displayed as they were, in small and very full workshops. The whole company archive survives too - about a million paper records.

The museum has since been extended to show other trades of Bath, including stone mining, a Bath-built Horstmann motor car and the whole contents of a cabinet maker's workshop.

The museum is run by a band of interested and interesting volunteers; our group was expertly looked after by Colin, who showed us round, answered our questions and generally reminded us of how the city of Bath was so much more than Jane Austen and elegance, having had a wealth of manufacturing businesses in its time, a few of which still survive.

I'm sure all the members will agree that anyone thinking of visiting Bath should head straight for the Museum of Bath at Work for a fascinating day out. And if anyone is able to give any time and expertise, their astounding collection is available for study and new volunteers are always welcome...

Click or tap on the image to view a slideshow.