Black Country Living Museum to build historic new town

The boat dock at the Black Country Living Museum
Thanks to £9.4million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Black Country Living Museum will undergo a huge transformation to share stories of life in the 1940-60s.

The project, BCLM: Forging Ahead, will see an entire historic town built within the grounds of the museum. It will recreate landmarks of the Black Country to provide an evocative snapshot of what life was like in the 1940-60s.

Several buildings that were of great significance to the local community will be recreated or replicated using archive material and historic photographs, while others will be translocated brick-by-brick to their new home at the museum.

The project will explore themes including:

  • how globalisation impacted trade and industry
  • the origins of the region’s richly diverse population
  • the rise of the teenager
  • the changing role of women
  • the birth of the NHS

Visitors will get the chance to see unique objects from the Black Country Living Museum’s collection, such as the papier mache model pig that was used as a sign for Marsh & Baxter’s Pork Butchers, and wooden printing blocks used to create adverts.

The Elephant and Castle pub

Bringing an iconic pub back to life

The Elephant & Castle public house that stood in Wolverhampton is one building being recreated for the project.

Controversially demolished in 2001, the pub will be painstakingly rebuilt as it was in its heyday, including the distinct green ceramic brickwork on its outside walls.

While photographs of the exterior can help to recreate its Edwardian façade, a donated ceramic model of the pub means that accurate designs could be produced for the rear of the building where photographic evidence didn’t exist.

The iconic elephant that resided over the pub doorway will also be recreated, as the original is thought to be lost. The museum is still on the lookout for the genuine article.

In the 1960s, the pub was a watering hole for customers of all backgrounds. Irish, Jamaican and South Asian workers often met, drank and played dominoes together. As part of the project, the Black Country Living Museum will bring to life the stories of the workers who gathered in the pub after their shifts.

The project will commence in July 2019, and will be completed in 2022.

Find out more on the Black Country Living Museum website.