We had intended to visit Tony’s cousin and his aunt in Stoke-on-Trent but they had had heavy snow over night so our visits were cancelled. In Birmingham we had only a skittering of snow so we decided to go to the Black Country Museum in Tipton near Dudley. The Black Country Museum is an open air museum which recreates the industrial heritage of the Black Country (Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton etc) in the West Midlands. This was an area of mining, iron foundries, early car manufacturing and had a network of canals which moved materials around the area.
The museum was quiet with only a few hardy tourists like ourselves. We had a visit down a mine which indicated the horrible conditions that the 19th century and early 20th century miners worked in while the mine owners made huge profits. We also toured the boat yard and the section of the canal running through the site and learnt about role of the boatmen and the type of boats that operated on the then busy canals. We also explored a number unusual houses and shops such as the cast iron houses which were built around 1925 , the tilted house built around 1850 and the Gripton radio shop which operated from the early 1920s to the late 1940’s with it range of radios. Another interesting building was the Worker’s Institute a testament to the trade union movement with a fascinating exhibition on the 1910 women chainmakers strike.
Time had moved on and we had only seen half of the museum so we plan to make another visit in the near future.