On the same site, just a very short walk from Forge Mill Museum, are the ruins of Bordesley Abbey - a medieval Cistercian Abbey which has been extensively excavated. The Abbey was founded in 1138 and was demolished 400 years later by orders of Henry VIII during the dissolution. The area has been recently ‘renovated’ and a new footpath gives an improved access to the site . Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre, which is set in an original reconstructed 16th century barn, tells the story of the Abbey from beginning to end. Guided tours of the Abbey are available on the first Thursday of the month (mornings) from April to September.
Forge Mill was built in about 1730 and the last packet of needles were scoured there in 1958. This historical gem was restored by the New Town Corporation and Redditch Council to become the National Needle Museum. It was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 5th July 1983. It is the only water powered needle scouring mill still operational in the world and can be seen working most Tuesdays and event days. The Museum covers the the needle and fishing tackle industries which were so important to the town and models and recreated scenes provide an illustration of how needles were once made. The Museum is open most days from February to November and guided tours are available on Fridays from April to September. For details visit the Museum Web Site
The museum has ample free parking, including a coach park just 150m from the site, and toilets. There is a gift shop on site which sells souvenirs, needles and a range of cold drinks, ice creams and other confectionary items. There are picnic tables throughout the grounds.
It is possible to organise group tours of either or both the Forge Mill Museum and Bordesley Abbey.
Further details of the facilities can be found at the Museum Web Site
The Redditch History Society has close ties with the Museum. Our meetings are held there, we have an annual exhibition of Redditch History, we organise Heritage Day in September and the Society was founded by a group of Forge Mill Museum Volunteers.