Official unveiling of the restored Bathchair

Official unveiling of the restored Bath chair

Friday 3rd June 2016 was the official unveiling of the Cottage Museum Bath chair after an extensive restoration undertaken by local volunteer Colin Skinner. In attendance were invited guests of the museum and others associated with the Bath chair. Some of the volunteers were dressed in traditional Victorian costume which added to the historic ambience of the event. The photo gallery, courtesy of Philip Groves, shows many of the attendees who gathered to record this defining moment for the museum and to also enjoy drinks and snacks to celebrate the return of the Bath chair to the museum exhibit display. Thanks go to Gladys, Gill and Judy for arranging the refreshments.

The event started with an introduction by Gill Noble, Chairman of the museum Board of Directors, followed by Patricia Duke-Cox, Deputy Chairman, who gave a potted history of the “Phoenix” story of the Bath chair. From destruction by fire in an arson attack in 2010, the issue of insurance assessment and finally the moment of the day, the unveiling of the restored Bath chair. A big thank you was hailed for the Woodhall Spa Co-op Manager, Alan Bent, whose organisation provided over £800 from the Community Champion scheme towards the museum which was used to pay for a replacement wicker Bath chair and then the restoration materials and other specialist work. Blacksmith Peter Capes did the necessary metalwork required.

David Hill introduced Colin Skinner who told how he took on the difficult task of identifying what could and could not be salvaged and how he carried out the restoration in his garage. It is pleasing to see that the main steel structure was salvageable as was some of the original carcass. The wheels were saved and tyres fabricated from lengths of hose. The interior rear upholstery had been destroyed but the seat base had miraculously survived; including two pairs of silk stockings found when the seat padding was removed! The folding pram hood has been totally restored with much of the folding mechanism being re-fabricated by Colin. The hood material has been matched as close as possible to simulate the leather original.

Thanks were also made to Peter Clark for the original donation of the Bath chair to the museum and to Piotr Kalinowski who organised the transportation of the chair to and from Colin’s garage. It was also nice to see David Radford, the founding Chairman of the museum trustees who still takes a keen interest in the museum. All attendees agreed that Colin had done a superb job on the Bath chair and that it was most appropriate seeing so many past and present volunteers get together to celebrate this special event.

Finally a special thanks go to Patricia for organising this unique event and Judy for helping with the numerous administration tasks.