Top ten things to see at our Industrial Might Bank Holiday Weekend
04 April 2017
This Bank Holiday Weekend (Fri 14 – Mon 17 April) we’ll be focusing on the Industrial Might of the region. The Black Country earned itself a worldwide reputation for its manufacturing prowess, with its goods exported to the furthest reaches of the planet. Men, women and children laboured day and night both underground and above. We’ve got extra activities and demonstrations on so you can begin to get a feel for what it would have been like to live and work in this period. In order to make the most of the visit, we’ve prepared ten pointers:
- Step inside the Newcomen steam engine while it’s in steam and take a moment to marvel at its size. Make sure to grill one of our demonstrators on how much coal has to be put into the machine to keep it running – you’ll be blown away.
- Head on over to the Museum’s Racecourse Colliery area where you’ll spot the ‘pit bonk wenches’. Don’t be shy, they’ve plenty to say on what it was like to sort coal for up to sixteen hours a day!
- If you’re visiting on Saturday 15 April, be sure to head on over to the Winding Engine in the Racecourse Colliery area. This is the machine responsible for lifting the tub that brought men up and down the mine as well as removing water from the underground mine itself.
- Speaking of underground mines, if you’re feeling brave you may want to grab a hat and a torch (which will be about the same light output as the small candles that were available in the period) and head into the thick of the underground drift mine. Nothing will bring the harsh reality of life in the Black Country during the Industrial Revolution like the cold, damp chill and the virtual pitch darkness down there.
- Head on over to the Back Yard Chain Shop (no. 41 on your visitor map) where you’ll find a lady chain maker toiling away in the dank and cramped conditions that many endured for years. Find out how they rose up and fought this injustice.
- Visit Sidebotham’s Steel Trap Works (no. 51 on your map) and watch our costumed demonstrators make goods that would have been shipped worldwide on a highly refined production line. Just watch out for the sparks!
- Tucked away behind at the end of a cobbled street (no. 59 on your map), the Nail Making Workshop is a must see. At its peak in around 1820, the Black Country had over 50,000 nailers at work. Moved from Chapel St in Halesowen, this workshop shows just how brutal and cramped conditions could be.
- Keep an eye out for the costumed ‘oss trotting around the Museum – it’s no exaggeration to say that the Industrial Revolution wasn’t just down to steam power but horse power too.
- If you really want to get a feel for life in the industrial Black Country, you’ll need to see the Museum’s Boat Dock Yard. Thousands of boats worked the Black Country canals – they were the easiest way to transport things in, out and around the region. Catch one of the timed tours from a costumed demonstrator to make the most of it.
- Finally, no trip would be complete without a trip to the Museum’s Bottle & Glass Inn, originally based on Brierley Hill Road, Brockmore. Try the traditional ales and pub fayre that kept the workers of the Black County going and you’ll appreciate just why the pub was at the centre of the community for working men.
You can book tickets for Industrial Might on our website.
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