Monday, 6 August 2012

The Black Country Museum

Today my sister, brother-in-law , niece and nephew came to visit and we spent the day in the Black Country Museum.

Having moored outside the museum last night, we went in the back entrance and paid in the pub instead of walking all the way up to the main entrance. It was a bit early to sample the beer though and we never got the chance to go back later.

The main street of the museum is full of shops.  This was the pawn brokers and there were all kinds of pawned items in the window, varying from a fox fur stole to a pair of false teeth.  In the right of the photo you can see my nephew standing outside the cake shop, drooling....he's got an amazingly sweet tooth and stood there for over 10 minutes before making up his mind which cake he wanted.

This was the tool shop.  The two men spent ages here, trying to work out what the weird and wonderful looking items were.

This was the hardware shop. Apart from the tin baths and wash tubs hanging outside, inside there were all manner of tin buckets, dolly tubs and possers and strange cleaning materials.  We spent quite a while in here seeing how many of the products we remembered from our childhood.  It was frightening really, I didn't realise we're THAT old!

Round the back of the hardware shop you could see the "best parlour" through the window.  The furniture was beautifully carved and the large rag rug on the floor was spectacular.  So much work must have gone into making it.

This was the grocers shop.  Again it was amazing how many products we recognised, and how many of them still have the same packaging today.

Everyone I've spoken to recently who had already visited the museum highly recommended the fish and chips, so that's what we had for lunch.  They were right.  Fish and chips fried in beef dripping sounds a bit "odd" these days, but they were SO good!

After lunch we visited the nail makers shed

and the coal merchant, where my nephew tried his hand shovelling coal. He decided it was too much like hard work and thought he'd stick with central heating.

This was the chain makers shed

Further round the site were the old working boats, including the steam boat President and it's butty Kildare. The children couldn't get their heads around the fact that a whole family lived in the back cabin of a working boat which was half the size of their bedrooms.

There are lots of old vehicles at the museum. This was an early road laying machine.

These motorbikes were "on sale" in one of the shops

along with this 1920's outboard motor

This old bus must have had a dodgy hand brake, judging by the chock behind the wheel. (either that or it's more health and safety madness)

Unfortunately the garage was closed today which was a shame as there were some beautiful old cars inside.

These old trams were in beautiful condition.

We made it round to the fair just as the heavens opened.  The children weren't too impressed by the amusements, they were expecting something more upmarket than the coconut shy

and the penny slot machines.  At 50p a go the "what the butler saw" wasn't getting many customers

All together we had a really great time.  It's definitely worth the visit so if you're in this neck of the woods I'd recommend you come and see for yourself. One thing I would say though, is bring an umbrella as almost all of the museum is outdoors with very few places to shelter when it rains.

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