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Museum Unveils its First Victorian Cottage and Wartime House

Cast Iron Interior

20 October 2010

The Black Country Living Museum will be unveiling its first ever Victorian cottage and Wartime House during the half term holidays, from Saturday 23rd October – Sunday 31st October, 2010.

Four houses have been restored to reflect two different periods of time - the Victorian era represented by the Brook Street back-to-back cottages and the Cast Iron houses depicting the 1940s war years.  

No.s 10 and 11 Brook Street cottages have been transformed into the first Victorian houses ever to be created at the award-winning Dudley Museum.  Originally set in the early 1920s specialist have taken the cottages back to the late 1880s and to the reign of Queen Victoria. 

Open flame gas lighting, gallery light fittings, a smoke bell soot collector and Victorian light shades are just some of the authentic fittings and furnishings which illuminate the living conditions during the period.   Heritage craftsmen have used traditional painting techniques such as  ‘scumbling’ to create the look and feel of the era.

Stephen Howard, Assistant Curator said: “Finding the skills necessary to take the cottages back to Victorian times has been challenging.  Traditional methods and authentic period lighting bring an extra dimension to the cottage interiors.” 

The Cast Iron Houses with their taped up, gum papered windows, black out curtains, period furnishings, vintage radio and make-do-and-mend wartime memorabilia capture the atmosphere of the 1940s war years. The Cast Iron Houses were once thought strong enough, by the authorities, to double up as an air raid shelter during bombings raids.  David Eveleigh, Museum Curator said: “The Cast Iron Houses will bring back lots of memories for people who can remember World War II or being evacuated.  They will also tell the story of the Black Country at war to younger generations. “

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