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A Second Step Back in Time…

[This entry refers to a day trip taken in March 2009. As requested, I will be going back and blogging the trips I only posted vlogs about January – April.]

While we were going through brochures at Little Chef on our overnight in Oxford, we snagged a brochure about the Black Country Living Museum. It looked to be similar to Beamish, and since we had such a great time at Beamish, we put the brochure into our stack of “visit later”. We decided we really needed a full day for that museum.

One of the last trips Tim and I took together before I left was the trip to the Black Country Living Museum.

Similar to our situation when we went to Beamish, only certain portions of the museum were open while we were there. Fortunately, we were still able to walk around the areas that were closed, we just were unable to go inside the buildings.

When we walk in to pay our admission to many sites within the UK, we often get asked if we’d like to gift aid our admission. Since Tim is a UK taxpayer, he can opt for this option which then allows the charity (site) to claim back the tax he pays on our admission. In order to do this, they need to know your full name and address. Imagine our surprise when as we’re looking at the displays in the main entrance, a man walks up to Tim and says “Is your last name L_____?” Turns out, the people behind us in line shared the same last name and were most likely distant cousins of Tim’s!

We were disappointing to find out the tram was not running, but we were soon on our way on foot. We checked out a “mini” coal mine/railway before heading over to the model coal mine. After being given hard hats and flash lights that only shined as bright as a candle (what the original coal miners had to use to see!), we went down into the mine with a guide. Once again, we were in a location with low ceilings and were told “you might have to duck down”….and I was able to walk the entire mine without ducking! I’m not the type of person who usually gets claustrophobic, but I really couldn’t wait to get back to the surface.

After exploring the coal mine, we went and saw a crooked house and a house entirely made from aluminium. The house (and many houses in the area) actually started to sink and become crooked based on the activity going on in the mine below! We also checked out the village school, the pub, sweet shop, garage, and the chippy.

Eventually, we wound our way down to the Dudley Canal and discovered the opportunity to travel through the Dudely Tunnel by canal boat. Fortunately, we were able to get on the next boat and headed off to explore the Tunnels and learned about the history from our guide.

Our boat only had about 7 people total on it, so when it came time to take volunteers to “walk the boat” through the tunnel, Tim volunteered along with a girl from another group. (video currently being uploaded to YouTube) Before canal boats had motors, husband and wives moving their goods through the tunnels had to “walk the boat” through each tunnel by laying down on wooden boards and placing their feet on the walls of the tunnel. Tim said it was hard work!

After the boat ride, we explored a little more, and we found the tram shed open, so we peeked inside and got invited in by the man working in there. He and Tim got to talking, and the man offered to give us a ride on the tram back up to the entrance!

We had a fantastic time, and I’d love to go back in the future when everything is open.

The rest of the pictures and video will be posted later. I need to see if Tim took any pictures, but for now, here’s a few:

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Tim walking the boat

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one of the closed tunnels

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