Black Country Museum, a village stuck in time!
While I heard of it before, in the 2 years I spent living in Birmingham it never occurred to me to visit it…. Until I decided to leave. And boy did I miss out!
It is a pretty spectacular place, and anyone who has a chance or is in the area… Go!!!
It was a sunny day, and it took me and my wonderful company about 40 minutes from the City Centre to get there.
(Me on the bus, reading the map)
Upon arrival, I had no clue still, what to expect (yes, I heard that it’s amazing… but never checked the brochures… wanted to keep it a mystery). We went through rooms full of old stuff… (as you’d expect in museum, also great descriptive writing skills there, eh?). It was quite interesting, but when we stepped outside… that’s when the real fun began!
There was a garage…. Filled with old cars from different decades, the garage smelled of oil, which made me reminisce of my childhood and my grandads garage, where he would spend all his day fixing cars….
After checking out all these wonders, we stepped outside to be met by a vintage, yet functioning bus…. Which took is into the village….
(Actors in town)
Yes! A village! Small village filled with stores, churches, houses and all of it was as if frozen in time! All the contents, items, decorations- everything was set back to the decade of 1830's. Even people, who were dressed in clothes from this time and would spark a conversation about what they used to do or what the village was like. Great history lesson for sure!
I could write a book about the different stores and houses I’ve seen in this place and how atmospheric they were, but instead I will allow my photographs to tell that story and write only about things that stood out to me, most.
(One of the actors in the houses)
(Love this house decor!)
So, let’s start with houses, houses were fully furnished and each of them was showing how people of different classes lived back in these times, some houses had actors in them telling the story of who they are and how their life looks like.
The stores varied, from clothing shops which would treat you as an actual potential customer, and tell you what’s fashionable or affordable in this time. Some antique clothes were bought, or some were donated to the museum if in good condition to show the truest representation of what people wore back then. Same with jewelry shop, house items shop, grocery shop or the pharmacist shop, where a guy was showing dentist tools used for pulling out teeth; trying to scare kids who were eating lollipops…. Parents were very amused. Haha
The fish and chip shop was the one you could actually genuinely buy stuff from, but the line…. Ohh the line…. Was huge. I recommend going to museum very early in the morning, during weekday, and hitting that shop early to avoid queues. It also gives you a full day of exploring, which still isn’t enough to get a full grasp of it in my opinion.
The Fish and Chips did taste good…. The recipe and way of making the food has sustained the same since the represented times, and while sitting on a grass, watching people dressed in dresses, suits and top hats riding horse carriages or vintage cars…. it really felt as if I travelled through time.
We also visited the candy shop, which was also re-plicating original recipes and way of making candy, so people would have the best taste of what it used to be like back then.
We made our way to the canals. Birmingham is well known for their canal system and one of the perks of the museum was a boat ride through them.
The canals were dark and gloomy, just the way I like it haha.
We went through different sized canals, with hidden caves, on the outside, or a massive cave made on the inside, where we watched a documentary of how these canals came to life by the hard work of the men and kids during that time. The cave inside was massive, and the projector was screening the documentary on a massive wall in front of us… the place was very mysterious, beautifully lit and filled with fresh air… apparently the museum allows small gigs and weddings in this space… which I found pretty amazing…
Upon the canal adventures we headed back to town to experience the cinema…. Cinema, was absolutely amazing, tiny, old, wooden. Back then, it was funded by a family which was successful at first but later went out of business. We watched screening of Charlie Chaplin silent movies, which were absolutely hilarious! While eating candy we bought in the local candy shop and listening to a funky music soundtrack powered by a music box. There was a lot of amazing things in this park… but honestly, I found this the most atmospheric! It might be my love for movies… but this experience brought me most joy…. Not just because of classic comedy we were watching haha
After that experience, we had a snoop around some more houses, a bakery where a man was making fresh bread, streets where kids were playing old toys (real kids not actors). The adult actors helped show kids, what toys looked like back then and how to play them- they had an absolute blast… including me.
We headed for the school, school was also an experience. We sat in benches and were being taught by a strict teacher… she picked on people with nailpolish and shamed them…. She told us that back in the day, kids with dirty hands would be sent home…. We basically got introduced to history of school system, and were picked on by her…. But it was funny, hilarious in fact.
(Creepy vibes in the fair!)
After school we went to a nearby Fair, where booths with candy, or prizes to be won and other wonders were found. I went to the tower slide which was a pretty fun experience and gave a good view of the place. We payed 1 pound, climbed up to the top and were given an old mat (that’s the best way I can describe it) which was covered in wax to help sliding down easier…. I was bombing it down… it went really fast, was quite cool.
(Old house by a coal mine)
The last experience was a coal mine, we were taken back in history, to old coal mines and were told what type of work it was and how hard it was. The tour guide pointed out how kids as little as 8 would stay down in the freezing coal mines all day, working hard and often losing their life.
The coal mine was indeed amazing, no pictures allowed inside sadly. It was dark and claustrophobic. We had hats and torches, but torches didn’t do a good job the least...
We went through tiny tunnels until we reached a massive cave…. Pretty amazing place… had loads of mannequins representing people back in the day.
(Self portrait, embracing scenery in one of the houses and real props of vegetables and bread)
(One of the farm houses, on the way out)
There was much more thrill and adventure, and so much more to see than what I’ve shared, but these were my favorite parts of this amazing place.
They do events to celebrate different decades, like a 1930's or 1950's parties, where attendees are required to dress up according to the given era. They also do events on Halloween or Christmas, which I found pretty cool and will surely look into atending in the future!
Boy was this an eventful and amazing day!
After all the adventure, we headed for some coffee, before making our way back home!
Hope you enjoyed this post,