The Black Country Museum was filled with many old timey buildings, some with props and some you could actually shop in! The Black Country folks built the world’s first working steam engine, introduced minimum wage, produced the anchor for the Titanic, and basically built all of Crystal Palace!! Because the Black Country had coal mines, iron foundries, glass factories, brick works, and tons of landscape, they became one of the most industrialized parts of the UK.
The Black Country museum became a tourist attraction because the last working mine closed. After the mine closed, manufacturing went away, railroads began closing, and as soon as everything started falling apa the Black Country was changed forever. In 1967, there was an exhibition about the Black Country, and then the idea of a museum was thought about. Since then, the Museum has continued to grow and develop. In 2010, the Museum launched a 10 million pound development. In 2019, the Museum successfully received the final go ahead. By 2023, the Museum plans to complete the entire 1940s-60s town center to continue to tell the world what it was really like in the Black Country. Even though the complete construction of the Black Country museum is not finished yet, it still gives a great idea of what it was like in that time.
When we arrived at the museum it was amazing, it was definitely something I have never seen before since I have been in England. For those of you who have never been to the Black Country, it is much like the show the Peaky Blinders and in fact every season has had a few scenes shot here! As a peaky blinder fan it was so cool to see the history of what the show is based on and where it was shot! The scenery of the museum was amazing, there was even a viewpoint that allowed you to look over the entire place.
The first building I went into represented a typical Black Country mine. There were about 500 to 600 buildings just like this in the early days in the Black Country. In order for a pit to open, men would get together and rent the mineral rights from whoever owned them at the time. When the men did that, it allowed them to mine acres of land for whatever minerals they would find underground. There were tons of buildings set up with props that you could explore just to see what it was like. One building I went into was actually open and selling sweets! I got a lemon drizzle and a piece of chocolate cake! I split it with my friends, we all liked it a lot so we had to go back to get more!
One event I attended was a silent film. This was very exciting for me because I have never seen a silent movie before. I believe silent films allow an audience to fully pay attention to what is happening in the show or movie, compared to how it is now most of us will just listen to the TV and be on our phones rather than actually watching the screen. After watching the silent film, my friends and I of course got fish and chips! The fish and chips were served in wrappers rather than a plate or to go containers and I have never seen that done before.
Towards the end of the day, I went to the canal gift shop and ended up finding lots of Peaky Blinder merchandise and bought a ton! I was also able to grab a few gifts in the gift shop. Reflecting on the day, I thought the Black Country museum was an amazing experience. I can not wait to attend more like it.