Friends of Coultershaw
No. 27 January 2022

Happy New Year from Coultershaw!
We would like to wish you a very happy New Year from Coultershaw Heritage Site and to thank you for your continued support during these challenging times. We have exciting and ambitious plans for 2022 with significant changes being made to the site which we hope will provide an even better experience for our visitors and participants. We look forward to welcoming you back when we open at Easter and to hearing your thoughts and feedback on all our upcoming plans as they progress.

Introducing Sue Rhodes, our new trustee
Hello everyone, I am so excited to be joining Coultershaw as a Trustee! For the past 17 years I have worked in the museum and heritage sector, with the majority of those years  at Petworth House and Park and although I am most comfortable in an art gallery I have a secret passion for industrial heritage. For me, sites like Coultershaw have such an important story to tell and they also connect me to my family history, both my Dad and Grandad worked in industries that wouldn’t be out of place in an industrial museum (in fact my Dad gets quite upset when he sees buses and planes he used to work on in museums now!).


My background is quite varied, I did a degree in 3D Crafts, specialising in furniture making (so I am dab hand with tools!) and throughout my career I have had roles in collections care, volunteer development, visitor experience and operations. Outside of work I will usually be found with my nose in a book or up to my elbows in compost in the garden, out on a run or on a yoga mat.

I hope to be able to support Coultershaw as a trustee as it continues to move forward after the challenges we have all faced over the past two years – I hear there is lots to look forward to including the exciting redevelopment of the warehouses. I will look forward to meeting more of you over the coming weeks and months and learning about the vital work you do to care and showcase this wonderful site.

New Roof for the South Warehouse

Work on the South Warehouse roof was completed by the Estate in December and plans have been submitted for its conversion to a new exhibition space and workshop. This allows us to use the old workshop in the North Warehouse for a new study area and document store – see rough plan below. A large window will be added behind the old double doors to create a space with plenty of natural light.

In addition we plan to improve kitchen facilities by altering the partition layout in the toilet area. Volunteers willing, work on the kitchen will begin in February.


Down by the Riverside
Thanks to The Leconfield Estate and our Tuesday volunteers, progress on the riverbank has been super. 2022 will see the riverbank as part of the site rather than hidden behind a tangle of undergrowth and nettles. It really has made a huge difference already and will be a real added attraction for our visitors.

Wind in the Willows Trail – A Riverside Adventure!

From Easter 2022, our visiting families will be able to set off on a riverside adventure and encounter the charming characters from Wind in the Willows who will guide them around Coultershaw Heritage Site. They will be challenged to complete a variety of interactive activities, collect nature stamps in their booklet and discover which trees, creatures, and animals call Coultershaw home. The cost will be £3 per trail and we hope that this will prove popular with our ever increasing audience and help to raise our profile over the coming years.

Our New Schools Programme
Over the winter months we have been busy creating a brand-new offer to entice schools to come and visit us at Coultershaw. We will be offering a range of affordable workshops for Early Years, Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils where they will be given the opportunity to engage with the many and varied subjects that our heritage site has to offer. Subject matters will include interactive STEM workshops exploring waterpower and sessions focused on nature, wildlife and habitat.

Outreach Boxes
To compliment our new schools programme,  we are putting together 4 outreach boxes which schools will be able to hire. They are a way of engaging with our local schools and eliminating the cost of coach hire. Each box will be curriculum focused and contain activity ideas, challenges, and interesting objects to be explored as a class which relate to Coultershaw. The subject areas of each of the boxes will include the following;


  1. Nature and Habitat (Early Years)
  2. Garland Photographs (Key Stage 1,2)
  3. The River Rother (Keys stage 1,2)
  4. Water Wheels and Pumps (Key Stage 1,2)

We also hope to create a Key Stage 3 outreach box focused on engineering later in the year.

Coultershaw Research Team
This is the space in the south warehouse that will become our new exhibition area. It is planned that the walls will have permanent display panels similar to those in the pumphouse. The central space will be flexible and could be used for temporary/visiting historical exhibitions, art exhibitions, performances and talks etc.


Over the last 2 years we have been developing ideas for what could form the permanent themes explored in the display and information panels.
Two potential themes were identified early on:

  1. The Power of the Rother  –  the River Rother as a source of industrial power.
  2. Transport in the Rother Valley – Coultershaw and the Transport Network.

As we have thought about this, it is apparent that these two aspects actually form the core of a history of the Rother Valley and its development through the last few hundred years.

The finishing and fitting out of this exhibition space will require further fundraising to make it a reality.

We have formed a research team and are fortunate to have Hazel Flack who is leading the research effort into the Power of the Rother. An article written by Hazel can be found here: Researching the Power of the Rother | Coultershaw Heritage Site and Beam Pump

We are looking for more volunteers to join the team – please contact either Tony Sneller or Hilary Brookes for more information

Curating the Collection            

With the restoration of the South Warehouse and the opportunity to have a new large exhibition space, the trustees felt that it is important to set clear guidelines for the growth of our exhibitions and collection of artefacts. We have therefore drafted a Collections Development Policy and, alongside this, we are creating a database spreadsheet of all the buildings, structures, machinery and artefacts that make up the treasure that is Coultershaw. This will allow us to have a record of all that we care for, with a description, age/date of manufacture and provenance.

The latest artefact added to this inventory is a 19th Century Threshing Flail that has been purchased on eBay for the princely sum of £15!

See more about the flail and how it is used here


Friends of Coultershaw

If you are not already part of our Friends scheme then please do consider joining. As well as supporting the work of the Coultershaw Trust our Friends’ generosity provides essential funds for the care and maintenance of the site.

More information can be found here: