Coldharbour Mill Working Wool Museum Devon
Coldharbour Mill Uffculme, Cullompton, Devon, EX15 3EE
MONTHS OPENJanuary, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Listed under: Curriculum Subject / Activity Type | Museums | Historical Heritage | Historic Buildings | Crafts | Educational Tours | Day Trip Destinations | Textiles | Science | History | Geography | English | Art and Design | Walking Tours
What we offer on a school trip
Coldharbour Mill is one of the oldest woollen mills in the UK having been in continuous production since 1797. Originally owned by world-renown textile producers Fox Brothers the Mill took fleece from all over world and transformed it into yarn, cloth and textiles. Today the rich heritage lives on as one of the finest working wool museums where visitors are not just able to relive the sights and sounds of the industrial revolution but also see crafts people making traditional textiles, beautiful knitting yarn and hand woven rugs.
Coldharbour Mill is an 18th century woollen mill, run by the Fox family from the 1790s-1980s as part of one of the largest textile businesses in the south west. Set in its own grounds in the Culm Valley, we are on an extensive site, with mill pond and leats that still power our working water wheel.
We combine a mixture of exhibitions on the textile industry, with working machinery in action to give a real flavour of the sights, smells and sounds of a working woollen mill. We give our visitors an overview of the whole process of the woollen industry, from sheep through to the finished fabrics.
We have steam engines which operate regularly throughout the year. Our staff and volunteers have a huge amount of experience and are great at communicating this to our visitors. We have exhibitions on such themes as Britain at War, and the involvement of the Mill in manufacturing specialist items of uniform such as puttees in WW1.
We provide an excellent resource on a number of educational levels. We look at traditional tales involving spinning and weaving in KS1, local history; Victorian drama role-play to support an understanding of specific eras of national history in KS2; documentary research skills in KS3 history.
We also exploit our local geography and provide superb working examples of gears, levers and technology in action through our spinning and weaving machinery, of which we have working examples from 19th century machines to some from the latter half of the 20th century. Needless to say, the Mill is a great inspiration for art and creative writing too.
Although we have lengthy experience in supporting the history curriculum, Coldharbour Mill offers strong cross-curricular elements. We aspire to being a creative resource, and offer excellent stimulus for art and design through our machinery. This also gives practical sense to many aspects of physics, design technology and maths. We can, for instance, run a course which combines making music alongside the sounds of the mill machines. Our site, chosen for its geographical significance and location on the River Culm is also a good case study in geography and changing landscape use. Not to mention historical trading links throughout Europe and with the developing world through the East India Company.