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Our Museum

An immersive experience from start to finish, Black Country Living Museum is an award-winning open air museum that tells the story of one of the very first industrialised landscapes in Britain.

Set across 26 acres, explore over forty carefully reconstructed shops, houses and industrial areas. Meet  historic characters who’ll tell you what it was like to live and work  during the Industrial Revolution and beyond.

There's plenty for the entire family to get stuck into:

  • Take a ride on one of our heritage vehicles
  • See daily live industrial demonstrations including brass, chain and nail making
  • Play old-fashioned street games
  • Indulge in the traditional tastes of the past in our baker’s shop, sweet shop and 1930s fish and chip shop
  • Catch a short film in our 1920s cinema
  • Quench your thirst in the Bottle & Glass Inn
  • Find out about weird and wonderful treatments of the past in Emile Doo’s Chemist
  • Test your times tables in a 1912 school lesson

A bit about the Black Country

The Black Country is often seen of a collection of 20 or so towns falling within the four Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. While no one quite agrees on the exact boundaries of the region, there is one thing we know for certain: Black Country folk changed the world.

They built world’s first successful steam engine; put the first steam train (the Stourbridge Lion) on US soil; fuelled the introduction of the first minimum wage; produced the anchor for the Titanic; practically built the Crystal Palace and so much more.

From the early 20th century onwards, the Black Country region became one of the most industrialised parts of the UK with coal mines, iron foundries, glass factories, brick works and more dominating the landscape. The sheer intensity of industry earned the Black Country a worldwide reputation and its goods were shipped around the globe. But industry at such scale came at a huge cost, and the landscape was turned inside out for its resources. In 1862 the American Consul to Birmingham Elihu Burritt famously described the region as “black by day and red by night” because of the ubiquitous black smog by day and the fiery glow of the furnaces by night.

Up until the 1950s and 60s, the Black Country preserved the physical, economic and social landscape of the earlier part of the century, but eventually the pace of change began to erode the essential character of the region. Following two major waves of industrial development, the last mine in the Black Country closed in 1968, bringing about the end of a unique area, one that is preserved right here at the Black Country Living Museum for you to explore.

 

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