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New Year Heralds New Exhibition

Bilston Enamel exhibition

01 March 2011

The Black Country Living Museum has kicked off the New Year with a new exhibition.  Teaming up with The Black Country Memories Club, the award-winning destination unveils ‘Enamelling in Bilston’, the history of Bilston’s enamels, on Saturday 15th January.  

The exhibition, part of the Museum’s community display space, ‘The Black Country and You’, focuses the spotlight on the enamel trade.   London was the original centre for decorative enamelling but it was the Black Country that became famous for enamels which were either made in Bilston or Wednesbury and are known as Bilston enamels.

Megan Fitzgerald-Plummer, Vice Chairman of the Black Country Memories Club said: “The exhibition illustrates the process of enamelling and reveals the rich history of enamelling which dates back in the Black Country to the 1700s.  Pretty Bilston enamel boxes are recognised throughout the world and this new display highlights the many other enamelled products which made the area famous”.

Enamel was used in all the ancient civilisations, such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and India.  In Britain it has been used since Roman times and probably before.  Until the 1800s it was mainly used on small decorative items such as jewellery and church and civic regalia.   In Britain enamel was mainly used for decorating things such as snuff boxes, patch boxes, etuis, candlesticks, tea caddies other small items. 

Joanne Moody, Senior Curator at the Black Country Living Museum said: “This exhibition brings the story of a very important local industry up-to-date.  Visitors see a very different side to the industry which produced enamels such as ‘The Bilston Knights’ which were cast iron hearth furniture, enamel cast iron pressure cookers and favourites including enamel plaques and jewellery.  Sankey’s and Jordan’s are just some of the names visitors will recognise.”

“The Museum is always on the look out for local history clubs or groups who would like to use this part of our exhibition to display their work.  Any interested parties should contact the Museum on Tel: 0121 557 9643 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              0121 557 9643      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              0121 557 9643      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. “

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