Tuesday, 11 September 2007

The Black Country Museum

On 11th September, Keith and Jan visited the Black Country Museum. This is another open-air museum with a township re-created from relocated buildings. There is a replica of Newcomen's famous 'Dudley Engine', featuring the crude valve gear that was used on these early engines. It was not operating on our visit. Like Blists Hill, there is a recreation of a mine with headgear, sidings with mine tubs, winding house and winding engine. Alas, the engine was not operating. Nearby there's a second, smaller pit. You can go underground into a re-created drift mine, but we didn't have time for this experience. The 3 foot 6 inch gauge ex-Wolverhampton tram was giving rides and the driver was very helpful and informative. The re-created town includes shops, public houses, a chapel and even a cinema. We watched a Charlie Chaplin film at the picture-house and were most impressed by the genuine gas lighting which reminded me of my childhood. The period ambience is faithfully re-created and it was a fascinating experience. Time didn't allow us to take the boat trip into Dudley Canal Tunnel, but this is recommended to any visitor. On our way out, we visited the trolleybus depot which has a marvellous collection of vehicles kept in tip-top condition. I'm not old enough to remember the trams in Wolverhampton, but the green and yellow 'Sunbeam' trolley buses were part of my childhood. A very enjoyable, if necessarily brief, visit. Photographs