Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture, involving thousands of local volunteers and organisations. Every year in September it brings people together to celebrate their heritage, community and history. Stories are told, traditions explored, and histories brought to life. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – and it’s all FREE.
Join us in Street as we celebrate this year’s theme ‘astounding inventions’ and we showcase the Latin Verse Machine built by Bridgwater inventor John Clark in the 1830s. The remarkable automaton also known as ‘Eureka’ creates unique lines of Latin verse poetry at the turn of a handle and has delighted people for centuries as a feat of engineering and imagination.
We are also looking for a number of volunteers to help steward the exhibition. This will be an amazing opportunity to see behind the scenes of The Alfred Gillett Trust, build upon existing skills, discover new talents, and meet new people. If you are interested, please call 01458 444060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alfred Gillett Trust is a heritage charity based in Street. You can find the Grange via car park two (off the A39 dual carriageway) for Clarks Village, opposite the restaurant terrace. You can use the What3Words reference ///thus.prowling.flanks
The main exhibition will be open daily from Friday 9th until Sunday 18th September 2022 from 10am until 4pm (late night opening until 6pm on Thursday) where you can find out more about this incredible invention. The exhibition will be supported by a programme of FREE activities including talks, workshops and activities, which can be found below. We have reserved some tickets for pre-booking which you can do using the links below, however, admission will be available on the door for each activity (spaces will be limited).
Programme for Heritage Open Days
|Friday 9 September||11am||Talk by Alfred Gillett Trust Assistant Curator, Karina Virahsawmy: Eureka, the Victorian Automaton that creates poetry|
|Saturday 10 September||11am and 2pm||Talk and book signing by Mike Sharples: Co-Author of ‘Story Machines‘ which explores machines as authors of fiction, past, present and future. The book will be available to buy on the day for a special book-signing price.|
|Sunday 11 September||Coming soon|
|Monday 12 September||Coming soon|
|Tuesday 13 September||1pm||Talk by Alfred Gillett Trust Assistant Curator, Karina Virahsawmy: Eureka, the Victorian Automaton that creates poetry|
|Wednesday 14 September||1pm||An introduction to Latin: A taster session to get your chops around Latin. 1-hour (ish!) long session.|
|Thursday 15 September||1pm||Talk by Helen Close from Women in Engineering ’10 days, 10 women’.|
|6pm||An introduction to Latin: A taster session to get your chops around Latin. 1-hour (ish!) long session.|
|Friday 16 September||Coming soon|
|Saturday 17 September||10am||An introduction to Latin: A taster session to get your chops around Latin. 1-hour (ish!) long session.|
|Sunday 18 September||2pm||Talk by Alfred Gillett Trust Assistant Curator, Karina Virahsawmy: Eureka, the Victorian Automaton that creates poetry|
Past Exhibitions & Events
- Friday 22nd July: Tales from 1001 Arabian Nights by Taunton Thespians
- Saturday 23rd July: NHS Vaccination Centre
- Open from 10am until 5pm
- Prioritising vaccines for 5-18 year olds
- Other vaccinations will be available
- Access opposite the restaurant terrace for Clarks Village
- This activity is being run by the NHS and any enquiries about vaccinations should be directed to them. Any enquiries about the venue can come via the Trust
Thursday 7 July: Street Chamber of Commerce Recruitment Fair
Thursday 2nd June: Whispering Willows outdoor theatre performance by Wassail Theatre
Following the ‘Magic Steps’ of the Clarks Point of Sale collection
Our Assistant Curator, Karina Virahsawmy, has worked on the Point of Sale collection from the beginning of her AGT journey. Let her take you through the ‘Magic Steps’ of cataloguing and digitising such a unique and large collection; showcasing prominent artists and photographers, well known Clarks shoe ranges, and firm family favourites.
Take a trip around the world and throughout history to discover how the seemingly ordinary material of wood has been used to create extraordinary footwear with Rebecca Wormald. Furthermore, uncover how wooden soled footwear have inspired some, at times, unusual traditions.
Clarks of Street, Family, Company and Community 1725 – 2005
Join Dr. Tim Crumplin as he charts the origins of the Clark family and their beginnings in Street during the 18th century, this talk will concentrate on the commercial and social influences the Quaker business of C. & J. Clark had upon the town and its locality from the time of its founding (by brothers Cyrus and James Clark) in 1825, and through successive generations, to the start of the 21st century.
Eureka, the Victorian Automaton that creates poetry
The Latina Verse Machine, Eureka to her friends, is a one of a kind impressive feat of engineering, maths, poetry and sheer hard work and dedication by its inventor, John Clark.
This National Poetry Day, find out what inspired John Clark to create such a unique automaton and take a look at whether or not the poetry it created could hold its own with poetry of its day.
Footwear in Focus
Over the last 7 years the Alfred Gillett Trust has been working to digitise its collection of over 25000 shoes, sandals, boots, slippers, clogs and other footwear, producing an archive of high-quality digital images. The collection is hugely diverse, ranging in date from the Roman period right up to the present day, and features the work of many different designers and manufacturers. For historical reasons, these objects have not always had the best of care; accordingly, the digitisation work has been integrated into a multidisciplinary project to assess, treat, redocument and rehouse the objects in line with current museum practice. Although the project is still under way, the Trust is very pleased with the work we have produced so far and want to share it. Please join Will Punter and Kieron Cheek as they present this short overview of some of the highlights and challenges they have encountered in working with this unique and fascinating collection.
|8 March||Event: International Women’s Day|
|19 January 2020||Event: Traditional Somerset Wassail|
|28 Oct – 2 Nov 2019||Exhibition: Sea Dragons of Street|
|01-23 Oct||Exhibition: War without glamour: The Life and Legacy of Emily Hobhouse’s Peace Activism|
|16-20 Sep||Heritage Open Days|
Tour: Grange Tours (pre-bookable)
|6 – 9 Aug 2019||Arts and Crafts: The World Comes to Street|
Community Art Project
|7 Jun 2019||Performance: Library of Lost Memories – The Shoebox Theatre|
|4-18 May 2019||Installation art: Wildedges|
|4-18 May 2019||Exhibition: Street Arts Trail (various venues)|
|1-6 April 2019||Exhibition: Sea Dragons of Street|
|8 Mar 2019||Secrets of the Blue Stockings (International Women’s Day)|
|29 Oct – 3 Nov 2018||“Sea Dragons of Street” Fossil Exhibition|
|29 Oct – 3 Nov 2018||“Sea Dragons of Street” Half term Kid’s Craft Activities|
|6-16 Sep 2018||“Extraordinary Women” Archive Exhibition (Heritage Open Days)|
|6-16 Sep 2018||“Footwear in Focus” Photography Exhibition (Heritage Open Days)|
|16 Aug 2018||Twilight Talk: Wooden Wonders: Footwear Through The Ages|
|9-12 Aug 2018||Strode @ the Grange (Outdoor Cinema)|
|12 Jul 2018||Twilight Talk: Clarks of Street: Family, Company and Community 1723-2005|
|14 Jun 2018||Twilight Talk: Treading Carefully – Digitising and Preserving Historic Footwear|
|11 May 2018||Somerset Day|
|11 May 2018||To Stand and Stare: A Somerset Landscape|
|11-13 May 2018||Wildedges|
|12 Apr 2018||Twilight Talk: Eureka! The Victorian Automaton That Creates Poetry|
|15 Mar 2018||Twilight Talk: The Magic Steps of Clarks Point of Sale Collection: 1851 to the Present|
|19-24 Feb 2018||Sea Dragons of Street|
|2 Nov 2017||100 Years Since Women Got The Vote|
|23-30 Sep 2017||‘Lasts’ Art Installation – Somerset Art Weeks|
|23-30 Sep 2017||‘Golden Bough’ Art Installation – Somerset Art Weeks|
|7-10 Sep 2017||Heritage Open Days: Sea Dragons of Street exhibition|
|30 Jul 2017||Strode @ the Grange Outdoor Cinema: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (12A)|
|29 Jul 2017||Strode @ the Grange Outdoor Cinema: Jurassic Park (PG)|
|28 Jul 2017||Strode @ the Grange Outdoor Cinema: Mamma Mia! (PG)|
|1 Jun 2017||“Surely You Would Be Happier Being a Nurse?” (International Women’s Day)|
|6 Apr 2017||“Feminism, Goddess Spirituality and Motherworld” (International Women’s Day)|
|7-11 Mar 2017||International Women’s Day|