In our traveling adventures today, we were able to take a hop back into history. This morning we headed out of the hotel and ended up in the Black Country Living Museum. Earlier this week we were told by multiple sources that this museum was a must-see attraction and I completely agree! When I saw this on our itinerary I wasn’t sure what to be expecting when I arrived. Although I did know it was a great historical location that reflected the history of mining. Once we started our outdoor walk onto the different locations I immediately was amazed by the scenery around us. They had everything from this timeframe including, restaurants, bars, houses, and of course the old mines. Our first stop was directly on top of the mining tunnels and the tracks that allowed transportation of the coal. We also were met with a gentleman who was setting the scene as the mining Tennent. He gave us a description of the job that he would have had at the time at the mining company. In this case, he was similar to a manager who would ensure the men were working to retrieve as much coal as possible for profit. He also showed us the place inside where the men would sit around if the tenant wasn’t around. After viewing the small gathering area, we then headed to the mine shaft. This is when he described to us what the average workday would look like and how they managed these resources. In these years any man over the age of 10 could work in the mining field. Although their workdays consisted of 12-hour shifts every day. These gentlemen were known to receive no sunlight for months because of the schedule. Even though they were working in complete darkness the only light provided was a candlestick. One of the fun facts he informed us of was that women weren’t allowed to work in the mining field for modesty reasons. Which then led to women dressing up and impersonating men to be able to work for money. Then one of the most interesting facts I gathered from this trip was the use of horses in the mine. Although looking at the photographs of the horses being hoisted down in the bucket was awful to imagine, they were of great use at this time.
After receiving all this information we then wandered around taking in every house, store, church, school, etc. We were also able to see a short film in the very historic cinema! As a group, we then decided to grab lunch and I finally had my first fish and chips experience, which was great.
Following lunch, we headed to a different location which landed us with another man who showed us chain making with welding. This part was an ultimate favorite to see and experience. We also had a short history of the importance of being a good chain constructor for wealth. Leading on with our path we headed over to the canal where many boats were. On one of the boats sat a man and a woman who were the “owners” of this boat. They gave us another short history of the background of the boat. I found out that 4 people can live on that boat! In today’s world isn’t surprising however, by looking at this boat you would never believe it. They also informed us of the law they had that enabled more than 4 people to live on the boat. However, we also found out they would lie about the number of people who lived on the boat by hiding the extra people off the boat (usually in a bush) who would then return to the boat at the end of the inspection. It was very uncommon for them to be caught however if they were they were required to pay a fine and would commonly lose their job.
Lastly, I was able to stop into a bakery that went along with the great history of the museum. I got custard cream, which is similar to a vanilla cookie with a cream filling. To say it was amazing is an understatement! After our journey to the museum and getting filled with delicious treats we headed back to enjoy a nice quiet evening!