New retro pub attraction to recreate treasured memories of Wolverhampton boozer

A new pub attraction has brought a taste of the 1960s to the modern era.

John Purchase raises a glass in the refurbished bar. He had the honour of pulling the first pint
John Purchase raises a glass in the refurbished bar. He had the honour of pulling the first pint

The Elephant and Castle is the first part of the brand-new multi-million-pound BCLM: Forging Ahead development at the Black Country Museum and recreates the classic public house that originally stood in Wolverhampton.

The pub has been fitted with rooms from the era, such as a smoking room and an upstairs saloon bar, as well as colouring on the wall to replicate the staining from cigarettes and authentic beer mats and towels.

The upstairs lounge has a fully-stocked bar and can be used as a party room

The Black Country Museum has worked to recreate the pub as it would have appeared in 1960, with a lot of work going into collecting memories and objects from families and people linked to the original pub.

Some of those people were present at a special launch event where they enjoyed a few pints and a fish and chip lunch in the downstairs bar, including the former landlord John Purchase.

The guests enjoy a pint in the new downstairs bar

He had the honour of pulling the first pint and enjoyed a pint with his daughter Lisa Newell, admitting that he was very emotional to see the pub again.

He said: "It's like seeing an old friend for me and it's really made my day being here, so I know it will make a lot of people's days when they see this place.

"I thought we wouldn't see it again, but the Black Country Museum have done a great job with putting it together."

Lisa Newell and John Purchase share a joke as they take in how the pub looks

Lisa Newell said: "We donated some Babycham glasses and we've also had some original brasses which we've made a donation of to here.

"I think this place being here will really bring back the memories of it as I remember when it was demolished and there were students from the university, digging through the rubble to find something to salvage as they thought they'd lost it forever.

"I must admit I felt very emotional when I turned the corner and saw it as it felt like stepping back in time as it was such an iconic place."

Toasting the good fortune of the pub are (front centre left), Roy Mincher and his family who used to live in the pub in the 1970's and (front right) former landlord 1978-79 John Purchase

Dr Simon Briercliffe had worked for six years from inception to creation as research lead to get the pub built and fitted out with the right authentic touches.

He said: "It's my job to get it to be as historically accurate as possible while bearing in mind that it's still going to be a functional pub, so it has an accessible lift for example.

"We spent a long time interviewing people, customers, staff and other people to get the right feel and worked to ensure we had everything we needed, such as Babycham bottles, the Irish whiskies and glasses from the era.

"What we want is to create a feel that this was a family pub and part of a close knit community, so it will feel like a place where people can come and enjoy themselves."

Chief executive Andrew Lovett said he hoped it could be a place that people felt was a new icon of the museum

Andrew Lovett, BCLM chief executive, said: “The Elephant and Castle is the first building where we will step into living memory, which is the important part of our Forging Ahead development, with another 26 buildings and features still to come over the next year.

"We hope that visitors will come down to what we feel will become the new icon of the museum.”

The Elephant and Castle officially opens tomorrow.

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