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Peaky Blinders helping Black Country Living Museum forge exciting future

By Alex Ross | Entertainment | Published:

‘Our aim is to become one of the most impressive museums in Europe’

The boss of the Black Country Living Museum has set his sights high as plans for a new historic town move forward.

A new visitor centre will also be opened providing a new entrance for up to 5,000 people a day.

Both are on target to be opened by Spring 2022.

Chief executive Andrew Lovett said: “We are progressing with plans for the historic town and visitor centre.

“On the back of rising visitor numbers this is a very exciting time for the museum.

“We are also getting attention from across the world with the filming of Peaky Blinders and Antiques Roadshow.

“But we will never stand still and we will look to improve the attraction whenever we can.

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“Our aim is to become one of the most impressive museums in Europe.”

Last year, according to accounts submitted to the Charity Commission, 332,778 people went to the Black Country Living Museum.

This was up more than a third from 2013 and has marked a turnaround for the museum in recent times.

Architects are continuing to work on the plans for the historic town, but the buildings and their locations have been chosen.

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It will be based on two roads, Market Place and Pinfold lane, next to the attraction’s fairground.

The attraction already has the bricks for one of the buildings.

It had to move quickly when West Bromwich’s Gas Showroom in the town’s HIgh Street was knocked down.

The bricks are now kept in safe storage at the museum.

Other buildings to be pulled down and built include Woodside Library in Dudley, built in 1894, but closed in 2008.

J H Lavender Aluminium Foundry in Crankhall Lane, in West Bromwich, will also be moved across to the attraction.

Other building will be recreated.

These are the Harris & Pearson Brickworks in Brierley Hill and the Elephant and Castle Pub in Wolverhampton.

The pub was opened in the early 1800s, but became part of the Banks’s estate in 1910.

It was typical of Edwardian pubs, having a public bar for the working class and a separate smoking area, which featured slightly higher prices.

It was demolished in 2001.

Lea Road Medical Centre in Wolverhampton and Stanton’s Records, in Hall Street, Dudley will also be recreated.

Stanton’s was opened in 1895, selling a wide range of musical instruments and records. It was knocked down as part of the Castle Street redevelopment in the late 1950s.

Some buildings still stand, but will be replicated at the Black Country Living Museum.

They are Burgin’s Newsagents in Wolverhampton Street, Dudley, E Minett Ladies Clothes Shop, in Walsall Road, Wednesbury, Marsh & Baxter’s Butchers’ Shop in High Street, Brierley Hill, Laurie Thomas Hairdressers in Tividale Road, Tipton and a West Bromwich Building Society branch in Cape Hill Smethwick.

The new town will be opened by Spring 2022.

But a year before, it is hoped a new visitor centre, facing Castle Hill, with a new car park will be opened.

Backing the £23m project, Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: “Black Country Living Museum is a world-class attraction that tells the story of the region’s history and provides a real boost to the local economy.

“This exciting project, backed by £9.8m funding from National Lottery players, will help the museum reflect an important time in the area’s past and preserve its historic buildings for the future.”

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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