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Tag Archives: days out

Black Country Museum WW2 Weekend


I am soooooo sorry that this post (and others coming) is crazily delayed. To put it bluntly, I not only have my computer in a rather nippy brick shed, but little Betsy likes to come in here and throw my crafting things around. It takes me a good hour to edit photos before even attempting a post, and that is if Richard is here to look after her!

So I thought I would go through my camera card to see what delights we had in 2016 and this was one of them. I have been to the Black Country Museum several times, but never to one of their wartime events. The open air museum is a huge expanse and is also linked to the waterways. Some of you may recognise parts from Peaky Blinders, which used it as a set!

Workshop BCM

Workshop

richard-rubble-bw-web shoe-mender-bw-web

house fire black country museum

Mock fire in the main street. It did make me chuckle howt hey had to aim the water at the brick wall, but it was a nicely done reenactment

You can take a really great tour on the barges through the limestone tunnels that were important networks for the iron industry in the 19th and 20th century. It is an extra fee, but seriously worth it and a nice sit down after all the walking.

caves-betsy-rich-kit-web

caves-betsy-web

limestone tunnels dudley canal

Inside the limestone tunnels

Richard and Betsy

Richard and Betsy

Kitten and Betsy on the Barge

Kitten and Betsy on the Barge

Barge Trip on Dudley Canal

Barge Trip on Dudley Canal

It was lovely seeing the place themed to wartime and the amount of people dressed up in civilian and military! There was a little Land Army set up in a garden, plenty of fabulous vintage vehicles, the old fun fair (extra charges again), a mock house fire in the main street, Churchill making appearances and some vintage stalls. We found the best clothing was in the brick buildings as you enter the museum! The school house had a very interesting exhibit of original clothing and brooches that I was swooning over for a rather long time…

ww2 Women's clothing exhibit

Women’s clothing exhibit

ww2 childrens clothing

The Children’s Clothing Display

ww2 brooches and pins

Brooches and Pins Display

Live music was scheduled throughout the day, but unfortunately we were too busy walking around to see any of it. BE WARNED! There is an awful lot of walking, so if you have young children, prams, high heels, this can get rather tiring. The ground is uneven or stony in many areas. Things are very spaced out, so be prepared. Also, one thing to point out is that by the coal mine, there is a lot of coal gravel. Betsy enjoyed picking these up and her shoes (and Richard’s white trousers) got covered in coal dust. Not a major thing, but just a heads-up to parents.

We had a wonderful day and I think Betsy enjoyed the strange sights and sounds too. There is a little park area that she could toddle about in and she didn’t cry once in the darkness of the canal tours. There are plenty of places to eat and we chose the restaurant after the barge ride. It serves hot and cold food and we ate a little early to avoid the huge lunchtime crowds! So here are a few photos of our lovely day. Maybe you could go this year!

richard-betsy-door-bw-web

Williams Motors motorcycle helmet

Williams Motors motorcycle helmet

land army black country

Land Army

kitten von mew black country museum

Wearing a 1930’s dress coat, 1940’s crepe dress, original hat and handbag.

Kitten and Soldier

This wonderful chap interviewed me at Severn Valley Railway 10 years ago!

house-wife-and-soldier

Having a natter

winston churchill black country museum

Churchill needs longer trousers…

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betsy-carousel-1-blur-web

 

 

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The National Trust Back to Backs, Birmingham


In early September we decided to treat ourselves to a visit to the National Trust Back to Backs. I remember when the conservation team was working on this project years ago, but have never wondered about its Birmingham location. Funnily enough, this wonderful treasure is something I had stood by a few times whilst gawping into the window of a traditional sweet shop. How funny that I had never known it was there.

Tickets have to be pre-booked and you are taken on a fascinating tour! Once inside the little National Trust Shop, you are taken around the corner and through a locked gate  into a courtyard that did not seem to exist until that very moment.

Inside are a row the back to back houses, a wash room and out house and each of the 3 homes your enter is set in a different period. As well as the period set up, they have also researched some of the interesting people who used to live there. From a Jewish clock maker to a man who made glass eyes for taxidermists and people! You can even find an air raid shelter in the first property and also take a glimpse into how the original state of the place before they set to work.

I learnt a huge amount I never knew, such as how arsenic was once used as a green dye for wallpaper, candles and even icing flowers.

Photography is not allowed at the Back to Backs, other than the courtyard area, and there are steep and winding staircases that have to be climbed and descended in each of the properties. Unfortunately my camera ran out of juice before I got to the tailor’s establishment, which was really wonderful. A tailor that set up business in the 1970’s retired in 2001. When he went, he literally left everything, from patterns to bolts of fabric and finished items…it is all still there!

Here are some of the photos I took of this mesmerising place. I will post more when I can. Thank you once again to all the staff who made this visit such a pleasure!

Back to Backs Courtyard

Back to Backs Courtyard

Back to Backs Birmingham Glass Eyes

Glass Eyes!

Stencilled Walls at the Back to Backs

Stencilled Walls

national trust back to backs flooring

Original flooring in one of the bedrooms!

national trust taxidermy mouse

Taxidermy Mouse ‘Le Eeek’

national trust back to backs birmingham

Original state

Air Raid Shelter Back to Backs

The Air Raid Shelter Basement