Whether you’re curious about the West Midlands’ industrial past or just a huge fan of Peaky Blinders, you won’t come closer to Birmingham’s past than at the Black Country Living Museum. One of the strangest museums we’ve ever seen, you’ll find a slice of life like it was 200 years ago in Dudley. It’s basically the closest thing The West Midlands has to a time machine.
Established in 1978, Black Country Living Museum is an open-air museum offering visitors the chance to experience the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the Black Country from the Industrial Revolution to post-war prosperity. With over 26 acres of reconstructed shops, pubs and houses to explore and historic characters to meet, there’s so much to discover. But this July, the Black Country Living Museum will expand its unique immersive storytelling experience even further with the launch of its new 1940s-60s high street.
Open on Saturday, July 8, it will recreate the hustle and bustle of the busy high street (something slowly disappearing from modern cities) with five brand-new shops. Head down to Burgin’s Newsagents, Laurie Thomas Hairdressers, Marsh & Baxter, Stanton’s Music Shop, and West Bromwich Building Society. Plus see all the latest fashion trends in the frontage of E. Minett’s Ladieswear.
Each business represents different areas of the Black Country. The local community have shared memories and donated items, from pots of Brylcreem to personal safes, to bring these places to life. Experience multiple stories of ordinary people and objects that impacted people’s daily lives, as well as broader societal changes, such as the impact of post-war prosperity, migration and ‘the rise of the teenager’.
New historic characters include Jane Burgin and her daughter-in-law Cynthia, who together ran Burgin’s Newsagents; an example of female entrepreneurship in an era when men commonly dominated businesses. Visitors will also meet the eponymous Laurie Thomas of Laurie Thomas Hairdressers, often entertaining customers with his swanee whistle, harmonica and tales of his imaginary pet monkey.
The Museum also welcomes back its fairground, with new period rides and stalls. People of all ages will be thrilled o try their hand at traditional games and exciting rides like ‘Super Sonic Jets’ and the ‘Chairoplane’. All on top of your regular activities like heading back to school, visiting the vintage cinema and eating traditional fish ‘n’ chips.
To learn more about the Black Country Living Museum head here.