Blists Hill Victorian Town ( 31/08/10 )
I invite you to step back in the Victorian Times on a journey through one of the most beautiful, unique and accurate recreation of a Victorian Town at Blists Hill in the County of Shropshire !
This amazing recreation takes place over 55 acres at the very location where the Industry or more precisely the Industrial Revolution took place 200 years ago.
Today, the remains of the iconic "Blast Furnaces" are now derelict cathedrals of brick from a different time standing in silence amongst a Nature that has claimed back its rights but still speak volumes of the misery, unimaginable hard work and sometimes tragedy that accompanied the everyday life of the workers who braved the defeaning sound, the heat and the many dangers of the well named "Blast Furnaces".
The Blists Hill Victorian Town is an open air museum which presents a unique insight in the everyday life of the Victorians through a wonderful collection of traditional shops ranging from the Chemist to the Draper and the Grocer to the Photographer faithfully recreated down to their smallest detail and selling Victorian goods.
Blist Hills Victorian Town is about life in the Black Country located between the towns of Dudley, Wolverhampton and Walsall , which saw the birth of the Industrial Revolution and became synonymous with coal mining and metal working.
The first sensation to hit the Visitor while visiting this one of a kind museum is the smell of coal in the air, a smell that stays with you throughout the day as a reminder of the Industrial Revolution legacy.
Blist Hills depicts a Victorian town miles away from the stereotyped image of frivolity sometimes associated with that era and one can easily imagine what life was about in the nearby Blast Furnaces.
Being a strong railway enthusiast, I was delighted to watch a replica of one of the world’s first locomotives in action, created by the Father of Steam, Richard Trevithick.
Walking through the paths of the 55 acres which covers this open air museum will take you from the colorful shops of Canal St to traditional workshops such as the Plasterer, the Candle Maker, the Glove Maker in which real Artisans are demonstrating the techniques and expertise of their trade.
One can marvel at a collection of carriages, shivers while passing in front of the undertaker workshop, and watch the Baker take out freshly baked loaves of bread out of the oven and enjoy traditional Victorian street scenes.
There is lovely pub which serves old fashioned meals and beers while a couple of entertainers are taking over the old piano to sing Victorian tunes to the greatest delight of the audience.
I walked in silence as I passed the Blast Furnaces in respect of the men who dedicated their lives to the Industrial Revolution and made my way towards a wonderful example of a “trow” or flat bottom boat used for the transportation of coal and other raw materials on the river Severn .
Nature has regained its rights on the site and it is quite an experience to admire the lush tranquility of a Victorian cottage yet so close to the once fierce blast furnaces. In the afternoon, I followed the meticulous preparation of the opened carriage drawn by the magnificent horse “Casey”.
There is so much to do, see and learn at the Blists Hill Victorian Town Museum that I was able one day to step back in the times of these Victorians who pioneered a new era for man kind and shaped the world as we know it today thanks to their incredible ingenuity,courage and spirit.
Blists Hill Town Notice Board
View of Canal St
The Victorian Draper Shop
Richard Trevithick, the "Father of Steam" and the world's first ever Locomotive
This clanking wheezing contraption was the first railway locomotive in the world. It was designed by Richard Trevithick and built by the Coalbrookdale ironworks in 1802. It wasn’t a great success, but this, and Trevithick’s other engines, showed what could be done and inspired the engineers who made steam powered railways a practical proposition.
For the first time in history fast, cheap transport was available – to transport finished goods, raw materials and people from one place to another and to carry perishable foodstuffs from the countryside to the towns and cities of Victorian Britain. - and all this was thanks to Richard Trevithick and his experiments at Coalbrookdale
The Victorian Sweet Shop
A Victorian wagon advertizing the Sufragette’s moto “Vote for Women” !
The Plasterer Workshop
The Grocery Store
The Chemist Shop
The Victorian Printer Shop
Victorian Street Scenes
The Victorian Pub & Restaurant ( delicious traditional lunch with a Victorian beer and the merry tunes of a Pianist & Singer singing away popular Victorian songs ! A great moment ! )
The Baker Shop ( The loaf of bread was truly delicious ! )
The Carpenter Workshop
The Glove Maker Workshop
The Locksmith Workshop
The Iron Monger Workshop
Blists Hill Blast Furnaces
Blist Hills "David & Sampson" Blowing Engine
A blowing engine is a large stationary steam engine directly coupled to air pumping cylinders. They deliver a very large quantity of air at a pressure lower than an air compressor, but greater than a centrifugal fan.
Blowing engines were used to provide the air blast for furnaces and blast furnaces
Blist Hills Mission Church
Spry, the last remaining "trows" of the River Severn
The forests lining its banks have provided timber not only for the building of the Severn trows, the flat-bottomed, two-masted, open-sided boats, weighing upwards of 100 tons, but frigates, barges and wherries, as well as the narrowboats worked and lived on by whole families who endured hard and cramped lives aboard as they tried to make ends meet shifting merchandise up and down the rivers and canals. The trows, built mainly in Ironbridge and operated from Bewdley , were built for transporting coal, china clay, timber, charcoal, salt and many other basic raw materials as well as finished goods such as ironstone, pottery, bricks and machinery the length of the Severn and further. Vast amounts of cargo were sent abroad and much of this was loaded onto seagoing vessels at Bristol . Although capable of travelling under sail, the Severn trows were mostly hauled by gangs of men. The trowmen had to be tough, and were said to be hard-drinking, hence the number of riverside pubs. Handling the trows could be dangerous.
Casey, the magnificent horse and the preparation of the Victorian open carriage
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