12 men in a bucket

I woke up excited for today since we were heading to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley. The reason I was so excited is because a lot of Peaky Blinders was filmed at the museum so I was stoked to see some of the set but also of course learn about the history and culture of Black Country. For some context Black Country is what Birmingham and much of the surrounding area was called. It gets this name from being the industrial capital of England during the Industrial Revolution. It was such an industrious city and area because of its rich amount of coal and it’s iron work which caused it to be black outside all the time from all the work. The museum is a living museum which means that it replicates what living in that era and place was like and there are people who are dressed in the fashion of that time period, many of them also actually perform tasks like make nails and chains or candy from that era and in the way they made it. 

The weather was really on our side today, it was sunny all day with barely any clouds out and it was a good 65 degrees outside. So essentially the weather was perfect for a day at an outdoor living museum. 

I attended a few of the sessions that they had throughout the museum. The first one was about the actual mining of coal. Miners worked 12 hour workdays and spent the whole time in the mine, they would go in and spend all 12 hours at least 40 feet underground mining. In order to get down to the mine they had to be brought down in a sort of pulley, it was essentially a giant bucket attached to a rope and it was manually lowered. According to the museum worker they used to fit 12 men in the bucket to go down which I did not think was possible when looking at the bucket. Apparently four men would stand in the middle and link arms and then another set of four men would link arms around the center four and only have one leg in the bucket. The next four would then go on the shoulder of the those men and hold onto the rope that held the bucket up. 

The next session I went to was the at the school at the museum.  At the time it was two pennies per child to attend school. The classroom we were in typically consisted multiple age groups and had about 200 people inside. I personally can never imagine trying to learn in an environment like that. Another cool fact I learned was that your copying book from school was used as your CV in the 1920’s and before. So it was very important to be able to afford a copying book and to make sure you had good handwriting and never messed up the ink. 

The next session I went to was with the chain maker. Firstly he looked like he belonged in the matrix which was really cool. The local area where the museum was was so well known for their chain making that when the titanic was put in commission they asked the local company to make the anchors and chain for it. The presenter proceeded to say “the chains and anchors have done a good well job the titanic hasn’t moved in forever.” This made us all laugh really hard. 

After this some of us went to go get lunch. 

At the museum there are two fish and chips shops, unfortunately one was closed so everyone had to go to one so there was a little queue. The shop we went to had been operating since the 1930’s and the food was really good. I’ve picked up the habit of putting vinegar and salt on my fish and chips which is traditional British. 

After lunch we went to the candy shop at the museum and I bought some rose-apple candy and it was very sour. We only had time for one more activity so me and few people went to go the cinema at the museum. The cinema is the original building and has the original projectors and electrical system inside. The women in charge of the theatre decided to play a film called “Hog Wild”. The film was only about 20 minutes long and was a comedy. A man was trying to fix the antenna to his radio and his good friend was trying to help but they kept failing. 

The last part of my day has been watching the FA cup final between my team Liverpool and Chelsea (booooo). My favorite part of the museum was probably the chain maker session because the presenter was really funny and it was really cool to see how they used to make chains.

Said bucket

Leave a Reply