Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Black Country Museum

This is a place I’ve wanted to visit for several years and, yesterday, we made the detour from the Netherton tunnel and arrived to find that the only available mooring space was up against a high wall but ……. it was fine.

What an interesting site the museum is.  Back in the 70’s a Scotsman (can’t remember his name) had the vision to develop this then derelict wasteland into a place where important heritage of the Black Country could be preserved.  He set about salvaging and re-constructing old buildings – mostly Victorian – to create a living village.  There are now lots of old buildings here all retrieved from the local area.  For example, the school was moved from Dudley and the pub, The Bottle and Glass Inn, from by lock 4 of the Stourbridge 16.  There’s a chapel (the chapel was an enormously important part of my maternal grandmother’s life), lots of different shops, various houses and workshops demonstrating old skills.

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There were several parties of school children out for the day – the primary school age children and their teachers all dressed up in Victorian garb!  Memories eh?!

We really enjoyed seeing the selection of old cars and motor bikes on display.  We sat in the 1930’s cinema and watched a silent movie in which Charlie Chaplin did what Charlie Chaplin did best – messed about!  My dad thought he was hilarious.

Back in South Wales in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s my maternal grandfather was a miner so I was keen to go on a guided tour of the coal mine.  It was really interesting and extremely well done.  The conditions those men, boys and pit ponies worked in were awful – no wonder so many of them didn’t make old bones.

Now, I apologise up-front for what I am about to write but ………….. the temptation is just too great!

Just by chance, we met Doug and James from n/b “Chance”!!

We had not met them before but they sent us a lovely message via our blog when Maggie died.  As we arrived at the museum we saw their boat moored up and I was determined to knock, introduce ourselves and say ‘thank you’ in person.  As it turned out we didn’t need to.  We ended up going on the same tour of the mine together!  John said he was 99% certain it was them so, as we exited the mine, I hung back ready to say ‘hello’.  Doug beat me to it!  ‘Hello’, he said.  ‘You’re Angela aren't you?  I’m Doug.’  Well that was it really!  We ended up going on board their beautiful boat for a drink and ended up having impromptu fish and chips.  We had a really nice evening guys and it was so good to meet you both.  Thank you for your hospitality – I will now cyber-stalk you with increased dedication!!  Safe travels.  xxoo

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