With sunshine planned for the weekend I decided to buy an impromptu ticket for the Black Country Living Museum 1940s Weekend. What a great plan, not only was the weather absolutely beautiful on the Sunday but the museum put on a really lovely day.
Last year I heard about the Black Country Living Museum’s 1940s Weekend and really enjoyed the great photos that were circulated from the event. I had completely over looked the event this year and it was only by chance that I was free on that particular weekend. Hooray! I got to finally visit BCLM and enjoy the special 1940s extras that they introduce for the event.
There are a handful of stalls at BCLM’s 1940s Weekend and I admit this was the first thing that I stopped for, despite not actually making any purchases! We then walked down towards the main site, only to be stopped by a very friendly American army officer who advised us that there was a camp site hidden in the woodland area. This wasn’t marked on the map, whether this was by mistake or not I couldn’t say, but it was great to discover. In the undergrowth was a camp, complete with look outs and a jeep. I think we interrupted brunch! There was moral despite the tiny tents they were staying in and it was astounding to be told that not only were they original but in the war they would have slept two people in each. Even these knowledgeable re-enactors afforded themselves the luxury of one tent each!
Next up was a debate as to where we should visit on the map first and after a quick browse of the traditional fairground we came to a garage with vintage motorbikes and cars outside. I was approached by a jolly chap who asked with mystery “would you like me to make your day?” Bemused I told the uniformed gentleman that I would love that. To which he responded by starting up the motorbike, “I’ll get you my jacket to sit on for comfort.” Eeeee and with that I was off! I crossed my ankles over and tucked my skirt in between my legs, like a proper lady and held onto his belt for dear life. I’m just kidding; he drove in a very idyllic manner around the whole site, probably worrying Joshua that he’d lost me. 😉 It was great being driven around, smiling and waving to everyone. I really felt like I had been taken back to the 1940s as the whole site is of course a village museum. Touring on the motorbike and seeing everyone dressed in vintage clothing and hearing a big band playing really transported me back and was a real treat and highlight of the weekend.
The rest of our day was filled with visiting the BCLM’s different village shops and houses, enjoying music in particular the Ashby Big Band and catching rays. We had a picnic rug and made good use of it at The Bank’s Stage and I must admit that although so many people I know via social media attended the Saturday, we definitely got the best weather on the Sunday. We checked in on the dance lessons being held at the Workers’ Institute stage and although we were too late to join in, I have to say that the small group looked like they’d polished off quite a routine! Singer Pete Wayre also put on a very slick performance and captured the dreamy 40s singer image very well.
We also gorged ourselves on possibly the best fish n chips of my life!? Two words… beef dripping. There should literally be no other way to make fish n chips. Also having never tried spam before I can swear by spam fritters, again cooked in beef dripping. It honestly isn’t as gross as it kind of sounds!
My only grievance would be that I didn’t manage to visit the pub! If you know me, then you will know how bizarre this is! I guess there is always next year 😉
Black Country Living Museum’s 1940s Weekend Tips:
Book your tickets online – the biggest and best tip of them all! I went on the Sunday, which was the least busy day and the queue to get in for those without tickets was still an hour long. I arrived at 10:30 and thankfully had my e-ticket on hand. It took me all of 2 minutes to make my way from reception into the museum!
Despite having the most amazing fish n chips ever… other food seemed a bit lacking (although Joshua loved the pork bap). Next year I will be bringing a picnic for lunch. A final note on food… don’t enter the fish n chips queue hungry, we had a 30 minute wait which is totally reasonable since the food is delicious but only if you aren’t ravenous. The whole area surrounding the fish n chips shops smells AMAZING and if you are anything more than a little bit hungry the queue will test all hangry distraction devices the person queuing with you has. The best hangry distraction technique Joshua came up with was sending me off to buy a Gin and Elderflower cocktail; I came back very happy and I think he enjoyed a moment of peace and quiet!
Parking at BCLM quickly fills up. I don’t know about previous years but they had an overfill car park at the Dudley College Broadway, with a shuttle bus to the site. There are people handing out flyers with the post code for the parking but in case you are far too organised for that, here it is: DY1 4AS. (Apologies if this changes after 2016)
I hope those tips help and hopefully see you there next year!