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West Bromwich Gas Showroom

The West Bromwich Gas Showroom

Between November 2017 and March 2018 the West Bromwich Gas Showroom will be taken down, during which time we will save  key architectural elements of the building  to recreate it here as part of our 1940s-60s historic town. 

About the Gas Showroom

In 1875 West Bromwich followed Birmingham in setting up its own municipal gas department. They built new works and set up new offices in the Town Hall on the High Street, and would eventually replace them with a dedicated showroom and office in 1930. This building, known as the West Bromwich Gas Showroom, will feature in the Museum’s new 1940s-60s town centre.

The building was the chief office, show room and distribution department of the West Bromwich Gas Department. The main part of the building was a smartly-decorated showroom, highlighting the gas fires, cookers and lights for sale, hire-purchase or rent.

At the rear were partitioned offices, separated with wooden panelling and frosted glass, behind which the salesmen sat and conducted their deals. The office of the showroom manager (Mr Coleman during the war) and the head offices of the West Bromwich gas department were located on the first floor of the building. Behind the offices were the fitter’s assembly area and stores, and repair shops.

The building’s current appearance is very different to its original design. This is because on 19th November 1940 during WW2 it was partially destroyed by enemy action. The bomb largely destroyed the façade and the second storey, but the shop was reopened after two days. This damage left the building with the current flat roof that we see today.

Why the Gas Showroom?

The Gas Showroom gives us the opportunity to tell a range of stories from the 40s-60s, from the bombing of the Black Country during in World War Two to innovation in gas cookers. The building will also allow us to recreate 1950s cookery demonstrations.

What we need

Right now, we are looking for memories of this building between 1940s-60s. This building has so many stories to tell, so if you or anyone you know remembers the Gas Showroom during this period, please get in touch via 0121 557 9643, collections@bclm.com or fill out our online form.

So far we have had one gentlemen come forward. Ernie Timmins remembers his first interview as a 14 year old lad, and the day he turned up to work to find it partly destroyed by enemy action. Watch his story below.

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