World War One exhibition opening at Kingswood Heritage Museum

Curator Alan Bryant with a Douglas Model W built in Kingswood in 1916 and used on the front line

Curator Alan Bryant with a Douglas Model W built in Kingswood in 1916 and used on the front line

A special exhibition about World War One opens at Kingswood Heritage Museum on 1st April, and the centrepiece is a rare Kingswood-made Douglas motorbike that was used on the front line.

By the end of the Great War, the Douglas factory had made more than 25,000 machines for the military.

Among the many exhibits are diary extracts of Private Albert Cleaver, the grandfather of the museum’s current curator Alan Bryant.

There is also a section of the role of local footwear factories, including GB Britton, which were making boots for the soldiers, alongside a feature on the Warmley Grenadiers – around 60 local women who made hand grenades.

Isaac Crane established a fireworks factory in the 1890s just a few hundred yards from Warmley Station but at the outbreak of World War One that ceased and large supplies of hand grenades left the site via the station to be transported to the war zones.

In lighter moments the girls from Crane’s were involved in sports days against the Kingswood Douglas ladies. At the end of hostilities, production at Warmley reverted back to fireworks.

There are extracts from the war diary of curator Alan Bryant's grandfather, Private Alan Cleaver

There are extracts from the war diary of curator Alan Bryant’s grandfather, Private Albert Cleaver

There are also pictures in the exhibition of Cossham Hospital and the now demolished Cleve Hill VA Hospital in Downend where injured soldiers were treated, plus a section on the work of the Red Cross during the war alongside a look at the work of the organisation, which has a base in Warmley, today.

And the exhibition also takes a look at the war memorial in Downend where there is a tribute to local Boy Scouts who perished in the war.

From 1st April to 30th November the museum in Tower Lane, Warmley, is open every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 5pm. Entrance is £2 and under-12s are free, accompanied by a parent or carer.