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A 1960’s high street at Black Country Living Museum

A 1960’s high street at Black Country Living Museum

Following 4 years of hard work we are proud to announce the second phase opening of an exciting project with the Black Country Living Museum.

Following the opening of the Elephant & Castle Pub last year, the new high street will contain 6 new buildings. This includes Stanton’s Music Shop, Burgin’s Newsagents, a 1950s Marsh & Baxter Butcher, Laurie Thomas Hairdressers, the West Bromwich Building Society and the E. Minett’s Ladieswear.

The creation of this functioning 1940s - 60s historical town with translocated historic buildings will extend and consolidate the Black Country Living Museum’s current historic collection. The project has been carefully detailed and planned in close collaboration with the museums researchers and in house architectural team ensuring historical accuracy.

The project was designed as a collaborative effort between museum researchers and GNA. Individual workshops were established between GNA and the lead researchers, in conjunction with the review of archive historical images and engagement with the public, were instrumental in recreating the original 'feel' of the spaces. An excellent example of this collaborative effort can be seen in the design of the tiling mural in the 1950s Marsh & Baxter Butcher. Through careful research and attention to detail, we were able to recreate the original painting, capturing the essence of the era. By combining the knowledge and expertise of the lead researchers, the insights from historical images, and the input from the public, we were able to immerse ourselves in the essence of the past, striving to recreate the spaces as authentically as possible.

The goal was to achieve an internal arrangement that not only complied with current building regulations, but also respected the historical principles of the building's design. To reach this goal, we had to embrace a modern approach to constructing the building, while maintaining the traditional details of the original design. For example, the wall and roof are constructed to modern standards to ensure thermal comfort are met, but within this construction we were able to recreate a façade that not only looked authentic, but also evoked a sense of nostalgia and connection for those who experienced it in the past as seen in the Stanton’s Music Shop and the West Bromwich Building Society.

This meticulous approach including using historical photographs, not only honours the past but also allows future generations to experience and appreciate the authenticity of these historical spaces and allowed us to create a building that is both historically accurate and compliant with modern regulations. By combining the best of both worlds, the museum is able to provide its visitors with a unique and memorable experience where we were able to bring back to life a piece of history.

In total, the project consists of 17 individual historical buildings. With 14 more buildings left to complete and open to the public this summer, we are looking forward to sharing future developments with museum visitors.

[Images courtesy of Black Country Living Museum]