For a birthday treat, my family and my parent’s met up for the day at Blists Hill Victorian Village. This is part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums near Telford, in Shropshire.
We were running a little early, so stopped off in Ironbridge to walk along the Severn and see the bridge itself.
As you can see, besides the engineering genius that created it, it’s a spectacularly beautiful place.
Then off we went to Blists Hill.
What a place! All of the buildings are original Victorian buildings rebuilt for historical preservation. They’re all staffed by volunteers dressed appropriately and undertaking crafts, trades and activities that would have happened in that building.
My daughter was fascinated by the bank where she could change her money into old coins and spend them around the museum (mainly in the sweetshop & bakery!)
I loved the chemists & drapery shops and could have chatted to the shop keepers endlessly.
We had fish & chips from the Fried Fish Emporium – so tasty (not great for the diet but hey Ho!).
The children adored going in and out of the houses and were full of questions, that the volunteers were brilliant at answering.
I watched the carpenter carving rocking horses, and chatted to the chandler about candle making for ages!
There was a fairground with rides and games – my other half won a coconut!
My boy was rather taken with the ‘drunken soldier’ who informed him he could sign up to the army when he was 8, and no girls allowed!
I was fascinated by the squatters cottage. These were cottages built by people who worked on the estates in any land they could find, as they couldn’t get married without a home for the girl to move into. They were built with stone left from the mine, and wood chopped from the nearby wood. The one I saw had 3 rooms – a living area/kitchen, a bedroom and a pantry. At one point 9 people had lived there. They were fined by the Earl for ‘stealing’ the land. This was approximately 2 weeks wages, and as long as they paid up twice a year for 60 years they would own the house & the land it stood on. Of course, 60 years was well beyond life expectancy, but very often the houses were handed down to children who kept paying.
All around the village, people were preparing for the diamond jubilee – Victoria’s! I love the newspaper bunting in the houses.
We all got into the spirit of the museum, and treated ourselves to a dressing up & portrait session. I think we make quite a decent Victorian family!
We had a wonderful day, I’d go back again as there was so much I didn’t get to see.