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Harvest in the Home

Harvest Festival

25 September 2014

BCLM Collections Team have been busy researching different subjects and creating activities over the last few weeks to inform and entertain visitors at our Harvest in the Home Weekend on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 October.

Thanks to our curators and volunteers' research, visitors will be able to discover how Black Country families helped with the collecting of hops, how the most was made of excess crops grown during the Second World War and how families made homemade jam from fruit grown in their gardens.  

In our research, we found that many Black Country families used to take part in hop /media/news/library/140925_230_1994-126-001_people_from_old_hill_hop_picking_early_1930s.jpgharvesting, travelling to the hop yards in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, staying several weeks to bring in the crops.  During this period many local schools recorded a significant increase in pupil absences, as children would travel with their parents and help with the work.  For many this was their only opportunity for a holiday, though the work was often arduous and the living accommodation was usually basic, such as an empty cow shed or pig sty.  We have provided our research to BCLM costumed demonstrators, who will tell covey these historic stories of the time in our village shops and houses.

[picture above right: People from Old Hill hop picking, early 1930s]


We have also been researching traditional recipes and methods to enable our costumed demonstrators to carry out cooking in the kitchens of our buildings, which has meant that we have also had to source appropriate period cooking props. On the Harvest in the Home weekend, the coal-fired ranges will be lit in the kitchens of Gregory’s general store kitchen and the Back-to-Back House on our cobbled street, for traditional baking demonstrations of fruit biscuits and an apple & treacle tart.

Visitors will be able to see demonstrations of our Baker making a harvest loaf, which/media/news/library/140925_230_harvest_loaf_bclm_2013.jpg traditionally represents a sheaf of wheat and a harvest mouse. These spectacular loaves were often displayed in churches and chapels and our Baker will present his best harvest loaf to the chapel for its annual Harvest Festival Service on Sunday 5 October. Volunteers, the Friends of the Black Country Museum will be decorating our Darby Hand Chapel with locally sourced garden produce and traditional harvest festival offerings in preparation for their Harvest Service on Sunday at 2.30pm, this is a popular 

/media/news/library/140925_230_1997-028-3844a_willenhall_russell_street_methodist_church_harvest_festival_1928.jpgactivity and seats are limited so we recommend that seat tickets are reserved in advance to your visit.

‘Harvest in the Home’ is part of the standard entry price to the museum and visitors do not need to pre-book.  For details on the Chapel’s Harvest Festival Service and to pre-book a seat please contact Alan Carter on 01902 670402.

[picture above: Willenhall, Russell Street Methodist Church, Harvest Festival 1928]

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