Black Country Living Museum

The Black Country Living Museum  is at Dudley in the West Midlands. It is a 26 acre site on old industrial land. The museum has collected a wide variety of exhibits and replicas. There are also demonstrations and "visitor-experiences" to enhance the day. With old buses, trolley-buses and trams to aid movement around the "village", one can interact with the guide-staff who are all dressed in period costume.

photo of Newcomen engine
The "atmospheric engine"  at Dudley is a replica of the one invented in 1712 by Thomas Newcomen, the first to harness steam power for useful work. The original was used to pump water from the water-table under the Dudley coal seams, thus reducing the water level in several mines in the area. Low pressure steam introduced into the bottom of the cylinder forces a piston up, the weight of the pump equipment on other end of the balance beam tips the beam. A small quantity of water is then injected into the cylinder and condenses the steam creating a vacuum under the piston. Atmospheric pressure on the top of the piston pushes it back down thus pulling the pump equipment up, lifting water from the mine. The engine is in steam on "special" days.

photo of horsedrawn methodist chapel
This mobile Methodist Chapel was capable of housing two preachers, and was used for ministry in markets, fairgrounds etc. This one, currently on loan to BCLM, is a reproduction owned by Methodist Heritage .

photo of chain-making
Chain-making was one of the main crafts prevalent in the Black Country. Both men and women were involved, the women going on strike in 1910 for a better deal in their wages.

photo of mine-head
At the museum, there is a drift mine into which visitors can go for an audio-visual "experience"  of mining in the area around the 1850's.


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