Flora Macdonald Web

The Coffee bar at Forge Mill Needle museum reopened at Easter with a whole new brand honouring historic figure Flora MacDonald.

The Coffee Bar has been renamed ‘Flora MacDonald’s Coffee Bar’ after one of the most common and widely recognised needle packets to come out of Redditch, which exhibited a picture of the Scottish heroine famous for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape from Scotland after the defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

The needle packets, featuring Flora’s image, were first registered by Redditch based Abel Morrall factory in 1905 and were produced until the middle of the 20th century. Flora Macdonald was chosen for the packets as it was rumoured that whilst waiting to help the Prince escape to Skye, she stayed up all night sewing - using needles from nearby Alcester.

As well as the rebrand, for the first time the Coffee Bar is being run by volunteers who will provide museum visitors with cakes, scones, sandwiches and hot and cold drinks whilst they enjoy the events and exhibitions. Throughout April and May the Coffee Bar will be open on Tuesday’s and weekends from 11am – 3pm. From 20th May it is planned that the Coffee Bar will be open 7 days a week until mid-September.

The museum is looking for more volunteers to join them to work in the Coffee Bar and around the museum. If you are interested in helping out or gaining some experience at this unique Redditch attraction, please contact the museum here.

Education Officer at the Museum, Debbie Lakeman, said: “We are really excited about the rebrand of the Coffee Bar and know that our visitors will make the most of it during their visits. Being able to name it after a Scottish Heroine with a link to local history really is the icing on top of the cake. We have a lovely, friendly group of volunteers at the museum so if you’d like to join us and help out too, please do get in touch.”