The Black Country is where I’m from, I was born in Birmingham and lived in Birmingham for most of my life. Now I’m living in Northamptonshire, one of the things that I always go back home for, is the Black Country Living Museum’s 1940s Weekend.
As a family we always used to go to the museum on Boxing Day for my brother’s birthday, it was usually very quiet and we were lucky with the weather as it’s an open air museum. Since those trips during the 1990s and early 2000s, the museum has added many extra exhibits and attractions. I’ve only ever been on the fairground rides once, but I’ve been down the pit several times! The museum is an entire black country village, with a high streets, public transport, industry, a school and authentic examples of period shops and houses. There is a Victorian High Street, c.1900 and a c.1930s High Street, both with shops you can go in to. See the whole list here.
The 1940s weekend takes over the whole of the 26 acre venue, features home front fashion; entertainment and food. In previous years there have been some really, really good traders; delicious food (I had faggots and peas from the Worker’s Institute last year, and beef dripping fish and chips the year before!) There are live re-enactments (home front & military), contemporary cinema showings at the Limelight cinema, and lots of green space for picnics/people watching in the 1930s public park.
The official event listing:
“Explore 26 acres filled with vintage vehicles, ‘40s civilians and army personnel
Use your identity card to move through checkpoints across the Museum
Take part in austerity-busting workshops
See ‘fashion on the ration’ in vintage clothes’ displays
Listen to Churchill’s stirring speeches performed live by a re-enactor
Experience an ‘air raid scenario’ in the Museum’s village
Keep an eye out for spivs touting questionable ration cards – redeemable for spam fritters, bread pudding and other wartime classics”.
And if you need any other reason to visit this weekend, Peaky Blinder’s is filmed there!
It’s my birthday on Saturday so I’ll be at BCLM celebrating!