Museum of Bath at Work
This is the fascinating story of a local family firm. Mr Jonathan Burdett Bowler started his business in Bath in 1872 He described his trade as Engineer, Brass Founder, Gas-fitter, Lock Smith & Bell hanger. He made and repaired soda water machinery and also ran a fizzy drinks factory making such sumptuous concoctions as Orange Champagne, Hot Tom, Bath Punch and Cherry Ciderette. When Mr Bowler's grandson retired in 1969 the business closed. But remarkably it had survived up until then with its original antiquated machinery, Victorian gas light, and nothing remotely useful.
Here at the Museum of Bath at Work, Mr Bowler's factory has been saved and lovingly recreated, an intriguing corner of the city's industrial past. Wander through the rooms past the shop counter; through the Dickensian office, to the foundry, the machine shop, the carbonating plant and recall the atmosphere of a bygone age, when Mr Bowler or one of his large family would have tackled any job great or small - repairing a beer engine here, mending a pony harness there, casting a replacement part for a newfangled motor car, making gas-lit illuminations for Queen Victoria's Jubilee and, of course, putting the fizz into a myriad sparkling bottles of pop.
You'll also find reconstructions of a Bath Stone quarry face and a local cabinet-making workshop, both important aspects of the city's history. Upstairs is a cafe and shop where you can buy gifts, books and postcards. A visit to the Museum of Bath at Work gives you a chance to learn about working Bath in Victorian times, a story far removed from the elegance and gossip of the pump room. There is something here for all the family, for young and old, for visitor and resident alike.
Museum, Industrial heritage site, Heritage site
January-March Weekends only
April-October 7 days a week
Opens at: 10:30 am
Last Admission: 4:00 pm
Groups by appointment all year round.
Weekdays-November & January-March
Bath & North East Somerset Residents: £1.00 off
Family: £12.00 (2 Adults 2 Children)
Groups: (Over 10): £3.00
Educational visits: prices on application
- Museums Association
Library,study and collections available by appointment only.
Trade and Commerce, Social History, Science and Technology, Land Transport, Archives, Industry, Archaeology
Museum of Bath at Work Activities for Schools
The Museum of Bath at Work is home to the reconstructed engineering and soft drinks factory of Victorian businessman Jonathan Bowler. This unique display provides the backdrop for a number of educational activities devised with schools in mind.
- Museum of Bath at Work
How to obtain
1.Walk and Talk-Guided tours of the Bowler factory lasting about an hour and involving working machinery and handling of historic objects. Can be customised to requirements e.g. The Victorian child at work, Bowler's factory during WWII etc.
2.Drama at the Museum-Using the rooms of Mr Bowler's factory during WWII etc.
Three scenarios are offered:
1)For Richer For Poorer. Bowler's factory in 1900
2)War Work. Bowler's factory in 1942
3)All Change.Bowler's factory in 1969
Includes guided tour of the factory and brief session to introduce the subject
1)Please Touch! Handling session of fascinating and unique objects from the museum's collections
2)It's Magic! A Victorian slide show using an original Magic Lantern projector
Space available for lunch and secure space for bags etc.
Teachers and accompanying adults free
Refreshments and small shop
Coach drop off point in Julian Rd
Teachers welcome for complimentary visit in advance
For more information and to discuss requirements contact Director on tel/fax 01225 318348 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walk & Talk -all year £2.00/pupil 1 hour
Drama- October-March £4.00/pupil 3 hours
Handling session- £1.00/pupil 30 minutes
Magic lantern- £1.00/pupil 30 minutes