History Brought to Life at Black Country Museum

History Brought to Life at Black Country Museum

What an amazing day out - I think this has to be one of the best history trips I have ever been on!  If you are a fan of Peaky Blinders you would recognise many of the buildings at the museum as much of the programme is filmed on location there. There was so much to do we could easily go back for another visit.  

The group was split into two and each accompanied by a ‘Victorian’ tour guide who brought the history of the Black Country during the Industrial Revolution and Victorian era to life.

We started by looking at Newcomen’s Steam Engine and learned about how it pumped water out of the coal mines enabling the rich seams to be explored.  We visited a variety of houses and met the people who lived in them discovering more about how life was during the rapidly changing Industrial era. We learnt about the importance of iron, coal and limestone to the area and looked at the machinery used to make chains and anchors. We also found out about the importance of the canal network to the Black Country.

A trip down the mine proved exciting for some and a little unnerving for others!  The thought of working in the cold, damp, dark for 12 hours a day for the grand sum of £2.50 per day from the age of 4 or 5 years old did not appeal unsurprisingly!

The two groups met together for lunch before we attended a Victorian school lesson and attempted mental arithmetic and times tables using a slate to record our answers. Discipline was harsh and demonstrated using the cane and a ‘flying’ board rubber - maybe the students don’t think I’m too bad after all now!!

The highlight for many was our visit to the vintage fairground where we all took turns on the Helter Skelter and vintage Carousel which went surprisingly fast!

After a trip to the Chip shop we enjoyed a visit to the ‘cinema’ to watch an original silent black and white movie featuring Laurel and Hardy.  Based on the amount of laughter I think everyone enjoyed the slapstick comedy.
We had a little time to visit some of the shops and meet the shopkeepers, although many students were a little alarmed at the set of false teeth in the window of the Pawn Brokers!

We investigated back-to-back housing and even squeezed in playing some Victorian children’s street games.  Barney K and Louie T turned out to be excellent with a hoop and stick.

After a ride in a vintage bus we descended on the gift shop before our journey home. A long and tiring day but thoroughly enjoyable and very educational – as you can see from the comments below:
Mia – “I learnt how tough the teachers were on the students and how facts were drilled into their heads (metaphorically speaking) and all the strict rules that were given.”
Luke – “I learnt that the Black Country was called the Black Country because it was full of smoke from the coal that they burned.”
Charlie – “I learnt that the phrase ‘spend a penny’ came from people paying men a penny to empty their toilet buckets.”
Louie – “The best bit about the trip was the street games and the carousel because they were better than today.”
Lucy – “It was like a glimpse of the past without having to suffer ourselves.”  
Libby – “In the end I learnt so much that my parents were really impressed.”
Caitlin – “I enjoyed watching my friends and teachers screaming their heads off as they were spinning on the carousel.”

I’m already looking forward to next year’s trip!

Kate Richards
Head of History

Released On 26th Apr 2018


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