September 7-10, 2017 is the date for fun and learning. The UKs top festival for learning history and building culture is just around the corner. There are over 300 events sponsored this year making it one of the biggest ever and it has free admission to the public.
One of the new events being featured this year is the Broseley Pipeworks from Telford, Shropshire. The Broseley Pipeworks is an original 19th century factory that made clay tobacco pipes. This factory stood forever and was finally abandoned in 1960 and restored in the early 1990s by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.
For the Heritage Open Days event there will be an opportunity to get an up close and personal view of how these sorts of buildings are rescued and preserved. Included will be original documents from the archaeology survey. This event can be visited on Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
Shropshiress own Rex Key, 71, is one of the very few people left who know how to carve clay tobacco pipes and hes making sure that history is not lost. Rex has made clay tobacco pipes for Johnny Depp and the cast of Lark Rise to Candleford. He first became interested in making clay pipes after he found one in his garden over 50 years ago.
When the Ironbridge Gorge Museum decided to restore the Broseley Pipe Works factory, Rex was there to share his knowledge and skills that had once made Broseley a major industry for hundreds of years.
“It’s taken from one point of view that I’m maintaining a traditional craft, even if one or two people look at me and think it’s an odd thing to do,” Rex said.
“It’s quite gratifying, but I don’t have any other claim to fame. This is my 15 minutes.”