Spotlight on Forest’s industrial heritage

By Review reporter   |   Reporter   |
Tuesday 22nd February 2022 12:00 pm

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LOCAL charity Wyldwood Arts is giving Foresters the chance to find out more about the “remarkable” legacy of 19th century industrial pioneers the Mushets, with a series of events taking place in Coleford starting today (February 22).

The Cinderford-based charity has organised a two-day “creative and cultural” celebration of the Forest’s industrial heritage, which will highlight the achievements of local father-and-son metallurgists, Robert and David Mushet.

Coleford was “at the heart of a revolution” in the production of iron and steel during the first half of the 19th century, largely thanks to the work of the Mushet family.

Together with Coleford Town Council and Coleford Library, Wyldwood has put together an “exciting” programme of events which will explore the significance and impact of the family on the social and economic development of the Forest.

The celebration will kick off with a premiere screening of an illustrated audio drama about the family, ‘The Mushets’, at the Studio Cinema on Tuesday.

The “fascinating” historical drama has been produced by Wyldwood as part of the Foresters Forest’s ‘Community Celebration’, featuring a community cast which help “bring the Mushet history to life”.

A description of the drama on their website says: “Written by Bristol-based screenwriter Mike Akers and directed by Wyldwood Arts co-founder Rachel Adams, The Mushets is based on the fascinating story of Robert ‘Forester’ Mushet who, working closely with his wife Mary, discovered an industrial invention that changed the shape of global transportation and development.”

Then, on Wednesday (February 23), local author Dr Cherry Lewis is leading a talk at Coleford Library on the “remarkable” contributions made to the emerging field of geology by the “Father of Iron and Steel”, David Mushet.

Local history expert Ian Standing will be running guided tours of Mushet-related landmarks on both days, and a ‘Spotlight on Heritage’ light installation will “dazzle and delight” those passing through Coleford on Tuesday evening.

Exhibitions will also be in place at the library on both days, featuring artefacts from the Dean Heritage Centre’s Mushet collection, interactive workshops and a display of self-portraits created by local school children.

Liz Bell, company producer at Wyldwood Arts, said: “This exciting two-day event is not only the culmination of a huge amount of work from local people, communities and organisations, it is also an opportunity to recognise the extraordinary legacy of a family whose contributions to the industrial and social development of the Forest continue to affect us all to this day.”

Tickets for the events are free, but must be reserved in advance as spaces are limited. For event times and to book, go to

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