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Tuesday 6th February 2024

Exhibition: Handel Cossham: Thornbury’s Man of Substance

Thornbury & District Museum

This exhibition runs on Tuesdays and Fridays 1-4pm and Saturdays 10am to 4pm, from 6 February to 23 April 2024. Entry is free.

The Museum’s first exhibition of 2024 tells the story of Handel Cossham, who was born in Thornbury High Street exactly 200 years ago.

Handel was the son of a joiner and builder but, instead of following in his father’s footsteps, he became a clerk in a colliery and taught himself about the geology of the local coalfields.

He went on to become a leading colliery owner in this area and one of the West Country’s major employers. He was also a lay preacher, a temperance advocate, an educationalist, a politician and a public benefactor.

On the day of his funeral it was estimated that 50,000 people were present at the cemetery or lined the route.

Handel Cossham never forgot his native town. In 1862 he paid for the setting up of a British School at Gillingstool in Thornbury and then, in 1888, he gifted the former Wesleyan Chapel building to the people of Thornbury for use as a public hall.  We know the building today as the Cossham Hall, right next to the museum.

Our new exhibition includes the story of the Cossham Hall. Come along and find out more about this major West Country figure – a man who did so much for Thornbury.

Entry is free, to this exhibition and all other parts of the museum. For more details, check out What’s On at our website below.


Venue information

Thornbury & District Museum
Chapel Street, Thornbury, BS35 2BJ

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