Oakham Treasures and Avonmouth Docks
by David Beach

Wednesday March 26th

Ann Hodges organised a fascinating trip which ticked two boxes – one venue which was well worth the visit despite most of the members not knowing it existed, and one which we would not have been allowed access to as individuals without permits.

A full coach took 52 members to the Oakham Treasures, just a two minute drive from the Gordano Services south of Bristol on the M5. This fascinating farm-based museum originated as a collection of classic tractors and other farming equipment, and has been developed to display a wide range of consumer products and other features of everyday life, dating from Victorian times up to almost present day. You can imagine you are in a 1950s grocers, for example. Street 'furniture' includes a wonderful collection of pillar boxes, and the enamel advertising signs and posters which used to grace shop walls and station platforms. Products many of us will remember from our childhood, long since disappeared off shop shelves. The museum has a spacious and comfortable cafe, which produced good food at sensible prices. Strongly recommended for anyone with a nostalgic bent.

“You can imagine you are in a 1950s grocers…”

Our coach then took us to Avonmouth, and with an official Port guide on board we were shown round the older parts of the dockside, and the location for a future deep-water container ship berth. We then drove over the M5 Avon bridge and into the Portbury dock area, a more modern site where wild life is encouraged, and there is a busy trade in cars [import and export], coal, bio-fuels, fresh fruit, and animal feeds. The highlight for me was being driven through the inside of a vast shed which would accommodate maybe a dozen large lorries, where animal feed is fed into huge storage bays from ships berthed alongside and then stored until ready for collection.

All together an excellent day out, thanks Ann!