Friday, 7 January 2011

Didn't we have a lovely day...

Didn't we have a lovely day the day we went to ..... The Black Country Living Museum?  We surely did.  Yesterday Jill and I took ourselves off to catch a bus to Dudley to visit the Museum, (Joe had been a couple of years ago and Graham was dog sitting).  We had a very straightforward journey, one bus, a £1.60 fare and a 5 minute walk and we were walking into this open air celebration of  life and work in the Black Country of the 19th and early 20th century.  The 'Black Country' is the area west of Birmingham and south of Wolverhampton that was blessed with an abundance of rich coal, iron stone, limestone and fire clay - the stuff that fueled the industrial revolution!  

 The transport section of the Museum is extensive with numerous examples of the motor cars and motorcycles that were built in the area, as well as working relics of the days of trams and trolley buses.  This single deck tramcar (above) was built in 1920 at Tividale and operated on the Dudley-Stourbridge tramways until 1929.
 The pit-head at Brook Shaft. This is a real pit, one of the 600 or more that were sunk in this area. See info below.

 The telegraph in the wheel house at Racecourse colliery
Single cylinder steam engine to wind the cage up and down the mine shafts and pump out water.
 Dudley Transport clock
 The 'cage' that lowered men and boys down the mine shaft at Racecourse Colliery
 Limekiln cut with a 19th C icebreaker on the right - we could do with that out on the cut now..
 Open all hours....
 The 'mangle' in the background is a 'mangle' because it has wooden rollers - those with rubber rollers were called 'wringers' - you learn something everyday don't you?
We had just been sitting the boatman's cabin aboard 'Peacock' and having a chat.

This rusty hulk (to be restored) is also an icebreaker, or at least it was..

 Another view of FMC Peacock with the Strip Mill in the background.
 These are solid brass sweet moulds
And this contraption with the moulds loaded is used to roll the confectionery and create the sweets

 A parade of shops circa 1930's with a real and functioning chippie!  We enjoyed a bag of chips that had been cooked in beef dripping for our lunch.  The chips were not wrapped in newspapers though...
A posh parlour of 1910

There was so much to see that we didn't manage to cover the whole site but it is so interesting that we will be going back again and as this is a museum that is constantly being added to it is somewhere that would draw me back every couple of years anyway - super place!!


bob said...

My mother had a machine she called a "mangle" too... it was a contraption with two large heated pads that clamped together. It was used for ironing clothes...


Anonymous said...

The museum looks amazing - what a labour of love to keep it going. We've never been, amazing, given the amount of time we've spent in Birmingham over the years!

Sue, nb Indigo Dream

Karen said...

Sounds like you had a good day. I remember our visit there well some time ago.
Thanks for your blogs we have been following for a while. You inspired us to put our dreams into action! We bought our own boat last year and are now in the midst of plans to leave our home on the bank and join you and many others on the cut. We hope to be on the boat in April for a gap year. We have also just started a blog as we prepare to start our adventure.
Ian and Karen

Nb Caxton said...

Hi Bob
My mother had a 'wringer', green caste iron with white rubber rollers. My younger brother, also a Bob, climbed on it and managed to pull it on top of him breaking almost every bone in his foot - I might have dared him to do though...

Nb Caxton said...

Hi Sue
The next time you are Brum you really MUST go there - allow a whole day though, it is quite fascinating!

Nb Caxton said...

Very best wishes for the new adventure - what is your blog called?

karen said...

Hi Lesley,
Our blog is called Narrowboat Tacet.
Have been sorting out the dusty box under the bed containing letters and cards from family and friends over the years, along with the children's school reports and school work. rather an emotional afternoon! But all to a good cause!

Nb Caxton said...

Hi Karen
I have put your blog on Caxton's blog list.

Karen said...

Bless you Lesley,