Here Forever: Local Industrial Heritage Exhibition Celebrates Morlands and Baily's

By Laura Linham

24th May 2023 | Local News

Glastonbury residents and history enthusiasts are in for a treat as the Red Brick Building prepares to host an exciting exhibition highlighting the town's industrial heritage.

Titled 'Here Forever', the exhibition showcases the significant contributions and experiences of individuals who worked at Morlands and Baily's, two iconic companies that once thrived in the area.

The exhibition will be open to the public on the following dates and times:

- Friday, June 9th: 10am – 5pm

- Saturday, June 10th: 10am – 5pm

- Sunday, June 11th: 10am – 4pm

Entry is completely free

Did you know that the Red Brick Building, known today for its vibrant community and arts space, was once a renowned sheepskin factory called Morlands? This historical site holds a remarkable legacy, as Morlands was renowned for its top-quality flying jackets and sheepskin boots produced for the brave RAF pilots who fought valiantly in the Battle of Britain.

The exhibition, part of a larger project funded by Historic England, aims to delve into the town's "Everyday Heritage." At its core, the exhibition brings to life the stories and memories of local people who worked at Morlands and Baily's, both of which employed a substantial workforce involved in various aspects of the sheepskin processing and manufacturing industry.

Workers at Morlands, 1880. Morlands was a key employer in Glastonbury from 1870 until production ended in 1982.

Visitors will have the opportunity to hear recorded interviews with these individuals, immersing themselves in the firsthand accounts of their roles and experiences. The exhibition boasts an impressive collection of photographs, press cuttings, and documents related to the companies, testifying to the significance of the sheepskin industry and the immense importance of skilled craftsmanship on a local, regional, and even international scale. Moreover, vintage artifacts loaned by local residents, including sheepskin coats and boots, provide a tangible connection to the past and offer a fresh appreciation for these timeless garments.

Alison Horgan, the project co-ordinator, said: "It is the culmination of a lot of research and many fascinating conversations with people of Glastonbury, Wells, Street, and beyond. There is such a rich history in the area, and we are really pleased to be able to bring this together and share it with the community."

Visitors can expect to discover the intriguing details of jobs such as 'rounding' and gain insight into the physically demanding work involved in treating the skins. Additionally, they will learn about the camaraderie among workers and the companies' efforts to support their workforce through sports clubs, Christmas parties, inter-factory skittles contests, and the publication of a long-running works magazine.

The exhibition owes its success to the dedicated team of volunteers who have poured their hearts into the project. Strode College and local youth groups have also played pivotal roles in bringing the exhibition to life, ensuring a truly immersive and engaging experience for visitors.

For further information about this captivating exhibition, please email [email protected].

Don't miss the opportunity to explore Glastonbury's industrial past and celebrate the invaluable contributions of Morlands and Baily's at the 'Here Forever' exhibition.


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