Museums enable us to discover and understand the past through different forms of learning or, what is known in the museum’s world as ‘interpretation’. When it comes to industrial history and understanding the part tools and equipment played in industrial processes, scale models or dioramas are highly effective ways to provide insight into what is an otherwise distant and inaccessible era. University student Sam Bagnall is in the process of creating a hyper-realistic model of the wagon as it would have looked, all those years ago underground in the Bath Stone Mines.
In 2019 Jen Morgan, former chair of the organisation and now interpretation volunteer, placed an advertisement in the museum windows asking for help to produce a scale model, showing a cart or wagon in use for display at the museum. Several months passed before a Bournemouth University lecturer kindly approached the museum, asked if the cart was still required and offered the help of Model Making degree course students to assist in the museum’s ambitions. Jen was delighted and has been assisting the soon to graduate and young Model Maker, Sam in his endeavours ever since.
With consideration given to the current climate, a site visit to explore the collections was not possible for Sam, and so a range of resources have been shared electronically to assist Sam in his design and creation. Wagons were used from the 18th century onwards and were designed and developed by John Padmore; the engineer behind many technical innovations relating to the stone mining industry and a millwright in the Bristol Brass Company. The 1745 book “A Course of Experimental Philosophy” by John Theophilus Desaguliers provided Sam with the information he needed to establish measurements, materials and the placing of each individual part needed to complete the wagon.
Model makers are renowned for their attention to detail and Sam’s approach is considered no exception. Sam has taken aesthetic inspiration from the Science Museum in London in his search for similar and alternative models of the Padmore Cart. The colouring of this particular model is something Sam hopes to adopt into his own creation and we for one, cannot wait to see the end piece. Sam will bring the project to a close in May of 2021 and after showcasing the model at a trade show in the summer, the cart will make its way to the Museum of Bath Stone for its visitors to enjoy.
The wagon model will be a welcomed addition to the museum’s interpretation and thoroughly enjoyed by visitors of all ages; as well as becoming a valuable resource for academics, students, and special interest groups.