This “living” museum in Dudley tells the history of this former industrial part of the Midlands. There are rebuilt shops, canals, workshops, houses, pubs and meeting places. The younger members of our family went down the mine to experience what it was like to be a coalminer back in the 1850s. At that time, boys even as young as 10 years old had to face the harsh reality during those days of the Industrial Revolution. It was a 1940s event on the day we visited the museum with characters dressed in authentic costumes and musical entertainment from that period.
There is a variety of places to eat and drink, the most popular one being the Hobbs & Sons Fish and Chip Shop. Rather than wait in a long queue we went to the canal side cafe called Gongoozler owned by the Dudley Canal Trust. It had been raining previously and this gave me the opportunity to get a comfy seat inside with a great view of the canal. A “gongoozler” is the term for someone who sits and watches life go by on the canal! The food was delicious – there were some typical Black Country items on the menu such as the “Bostin Big One”, “Sarnies” and “Babbies” meals. We settled for the afternoon tea with scrumptious cakes.
Another sitting down spot for me was inside a workman’s cottage, where I found myself chatting to other visitors about what was on display. It reminded me of my National Trust volunteer room guide job.
The museum has made a lot of changes since the last time we visited – there is the rebuilt 1950s high street, a larger car park and the modern entrance. It is still well worth a isit though.