Local apprentice pipe maker whose turned to a life of crime - as a pirate - and was later executed

Somer Centre Midsomer Norton


UNTIL Tuesday 4th October

From pipes to piracy

Born in Shepton Mallet, at just age 9 years, William Watts became an apprentice to a pipe maker in Ashwick, (Oakhill) but his life quickly descended into a life of crime. His trial was an international sensation, and he was the last pirate to be hanged at Execution Dock in London in 1830. To find out the full story, come and hear the illustrated talk at the Somer Centre in Midsomer Norton on Tuesday 4th October, 7:30pm £4.

The talk supports the latest exhibition at Radstock Museum which shows a display of pipes made in the area, with information panels with copies of old documents to accompany them.

Did you know that clay tobacco pipes were made in Chilcompton, Oakhill, Stratton-on-the-Fosse and Leigh-on-Mendip?

Remnants of clay tobacco pipes can be found almost anywhere, even in your garden. The industry started in Norton St Philip in around 1620, and the early apprentices subsequently started their own workshops in the Mendip parishes where they grew up. The talk at the Somer Centre (and exhibition at Radstock Museum) has been put together by Marek Lewcun, whose mother Daphne was descended from the pipe maker Thomas Whittock.

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