Sunday, 25 October 2015

Black Country Museum

Photo heavy post today - had a fabulous day out at the Black Country Museum today, set of one of my favourite programmes, Peaky Blinders. It's a fabulous place, a bit like the Museum of Welsh Life, where they collect up lost buildings from around the area and re-build them in a safe space, allowing visitors to travel back to the end of the 1800s, early 20th century.

There's such an incredibly evocative smell about the place, the old coal and steam industry, like you get at Hollowell Steam Rally. Really transports you to another era.

Dad & Marilyn being naughty children in the school house. It really struck me how similar schools in parts of Africa are to this 1930s school house. Just bare desks and chalk boards.

It's a huge area - 26 acres - you can just wander around. Full of traditional shops and houses you can explore.

Lime Kilns

There was a Methodist church that dad says was the spitting image of the one my grandad was a lay preacher at - right down to the smell.

 Walked right into the heart of the industrial revolution.

And of course, the part that drew us there - the set of Peaky Blinders.

(click to enlarge)

Chain Making Demonstration

We took a boat ride through the Dudley tunnels, a truly remarkable piece of history.

The canals run for miles deep underground, joining a cave system. Some of the caves, like the Singing Cave, have been turned into multimedia displays. The tunnels were so narrow that no horses could take the boats through, so people lay on boards with their feet pressed against the tunnel walls 'legging' the boats through the tunnels. The last legger worked by himself and could walk three boats through at a time, leashed together.

Learning About the Formation of the Earth

After that it was time for a pint at the local pub. They had a fabulous idea, sort of like beer tapas, where you get to sample all three ales in 1/3 pints. The one on the far right is Cwtch, CAMRA's beer of the year. 

Horsing Around

This is my absolute favourite house. It apparently began life as a 'squatter's house' for people working for the local lord. They weren't provided with housing, but if they could erect a chimney and get it smoking within twenty-four hours, they were allowed to erect a home around it. I just think it looks wonderfully gingerbread.

Then this was inside the house pictured at the very top, with the smoking chimney.

We headed back via the car museum - full of utterly gorgeous automobiles. And a fire engine. A fabulous day all round, and a museum well worth visiting.

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