Monday, February 21, 2011

A day in the museum, an hour in the tunnel.

First off, here’s a photo of the replica Titanic anchor I spoke about yesterday.

Impressive, innit. Thanks for the pic, George.

Yesterday’s visit to The Black Country Living Museum was very enjoyable. A whole canalside village has been reconstructed on site, all the buildings having been dismantled and painstakingly rebuilt. They are from all over the Black Country, and most were in danger of demolition before being rescued.

The village main street

Ironmongers, hardware stores, a chemist, sweet shop and bakers, most with someone in period dress behind the counter and willing to talk with authority about early 20c life in the Black Country.

Further out from the village centre there are cottages, furnished in period, often with an “occupant” in attendance.

Carol spent quite some time talking about rag rugs with this lady in her parlour.

The Worker's Institute

The highlight for me had to be the local garage, though. AJS, Bean and Star were just some of the motor manufacturers around the Wolverhampton area, and some prime examples of their products were on display.

Drooling over this lot.

Unfortunatley the trams and trolley bus weren't running this weekend.

You could easily spend a good day here, with lunch of excellent fish and chips from Hobb’s.

The canal arm has various boats, from a pristine FMC motor boat to sunken wooden butties, under water to protect and preserve the timbers.

The place is well worth a visit, comparable to Beamish up near Durham.

Today we had a look in Dudley Tunnel and the limestone caverns, courtesy of The Dudley Canal Trust’s electric boat George.

The tunnel was originally cut to get at underground seams of limestone used in iron production, and an essential component of Dudley’s industry. It was later pushed right through Castle and Wren’s Nest hills to link up to the Staffs and Worcs and ultimately the River Severn.

Last surveyed properly in the late 19c, no-one is now quite sure about how many miles of tunnels and chambers there were, but the hillside was extensively mined from the inside.

Ready to go in, getting the H&S talk from Keith, our skipper for the trip.

Flooded Mine in Shirts Mill Basin.

In a couple of places the tunnel is open to the air.

Into Castle Mill Basin, under the ivy curtain.

Flowstone formations adorn the walls in the earlier sections. Keith on the tiller.

A shot in Singing Cavern which doesn’t do it justice.

Limestone miners taking a break.

With no winding (turning) hole, the boats have to reverse out, and we waited while “William” brought another load of visitors in.

We were back out against the wharf after about 45 minutes. The commentary was informative, and the trip enjoyable if a little cool this time of year. Another recommended attraction, and it’s right alongside the museum, too.

By the time we’d sorted out and had lunch it was getting towards mid-afternoon, so we decided to sneak an extra night here. We should, by rights, have moved out this afternoon, our 48 hours being up. But there’s no-one else on the visitor moorings, and we’ll be away before any other boats turn up in the morning.

Locks 0, miles 0.

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

Nice way to decorate your walls. I have never done that. My effort to beautify the walls in my house was to order big-sized canvas prints from wahooart.com, from images of western art. I use the same angel motifs in all of the rooms painted by different painters, such as this one by very interesting English artist Stanley Spencer, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT7K6.