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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A Fantastic Day in Victorian England

Today I have had the most fascinating day.  We went on a 'Trip' with school.  We took a small group of four boys to Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge.  I did not know what to expect but it was absolutely fantastic.  Blists Hill is a museum.  Once you had journeyed through the high tech 2012 entrance you stepped out into a different world.  A 'real' Victorian town.  Now I can't show you any photographs with the children in it, which is a real shame.  Our first stop was to the 'Bank' to get our money exchanged into Victorian currency.  The bank manager was very helpful and explained, schillings, farthings, florins, pennies, sixpences, etc.  I am totally confused by it all.  The children got to grips with it though.  We changed the money on the promise of a trip to the Victorian Sweet Shop for the well behaved.  Everyone got to the Sweet Shop'.  The bank manager explained that in Victorian England Sharks Teeth were sometimes used as currency.  Well I did not know that!
          I was completely enchanted by the 'Town' and the buildings.  The streets were so quaint.  It was a very quiet day at the museum and it is 'out of season' that suited me as I am not fond of crowds.  There were no cars and there was 'real' horse muck in the roads.  There are resident horses that the children loved.
  There were many different shops and businesses.  The grocers had pheasant and rabbit hung in the window.  We did not have time to explore everything.  We had a 'Candle Making' workshop booked that the children really enjoyed and a 'Victorian School Experience' booked.  I have never seen these boys so well behaved as the school master swished his cane and put them through their paces.  Victorian school was all about preparing children for 'work'.  You were ready for work at the age of twelve.  There would be up to sixty pupils in one small classroom and discipline was a priority.  The boys used slates to practice their handwriting.  They practiced their multiplication tables and reading.
I loved the reading book and this is the passage we read:
The boys all ran away when we first saw the School Master arriving but once inside they were model pupils. That made me chuckle.  If only they were so good every day.
I loved the streets and houses.  This was the 'Doctors'.  I found my dream house.  The 'Squatters Cottage'.
This cottage was lived in until the 1970s and a couple of years ago it was moved from two miles away...brick by brick to the museum.  It was built illegally and the land owner let the family finish building it and then when it was completed he charged them extortionate rent.  Hence the name 'Squatter's Cottage'.
It was decked out with 'Holly' for the festivities.  I think this is beautiful in it's simplicity.  Thank goodness there was a roaring fire inside.  We all got warm.
This bed looks inviting.  The house brick would have been warmed on the fire then wrapped and placed in the bed to warm it up.
I went on a 'Textile' hunt and was not disappointed.  There was lots of crochet, patchwork and rag rugs to admire in the various 'homes'.  The Victorians were a crafty and resourceful bunch.
               I have got a trip to the dentist this Friday.  Eeeek!
I do not care how carefully your teeth would have been extracted, the Victorian Dentists looked scary!
A few hours was not long enough for this 'Town'.  I could lodge in the 'Squatter's Cottage' for a week and cheerfully mooch about chatting to the 'residents'.
Here we met a pleasantly uncomplicated woman.  What a great job, to be a 'Victorian Person' surely nobody would mind if you crocheted on the job!

The Candle Makers was a very important place as candles were the main source of light.  It was very smoky in here.  I bought 'Four Candles' which 'tickled me' after the 'Two Ronnies' 'Fork Handles' sketch.
I did not know that some candles were made from 'Tallow', rendered animal fat.  Yuk.  Hungry families would often melt a 'Tallow Candle' and spread it on bread to eat.  I think you can't beat a bit o butter!
              I feel like I have been to another world today.  I loved it.  As usual I am disappointed with my photography efforts.  There was so much I missed.  The simple 'Holly and Ivy' Christmas decorations.  Newspaper paper chains and Christmas decorations.  I am going to have a go!  I would like to be a 'Victorian' but not too poor, thank you very much and not too rich.  I would like to be somewhere in the middle.  I even spotted chickens in the garden of a house.  They looked all wet and bedraggled. . . as did my four when I got back home.  I will definitely be finding my way back to this museum one day.


  1. Looks fantastic. I love going to places like that. We went to Ulster Folk and Transport museum a couple of years ago and it was brillant.

  2. I love this museum it is truly magical, my favourite shop (after the sweet shop) is the plaster man ... I have brought green men from him in the past! I feel a trip is needed too xxx

  3. I've seen this before but I didn't realise it was a museum, it looks amazing & I really want to visit! Out of season seems like a good time as well but so cold! Thanks for sharing all your photos too, they aren't as bad as you think :) X

  4. Looks so beautiful ..I wish I can visit it one day too..
    Hugs xx

  5. I have never been but it is on my list. Looks fab.

  6. Sounds like a great day out. I often think I was born in the wrong century. I think I'd fit into victorian england rather well!

  7. I enjoyed tagging along with you today! That sketch was fun to watch! I would have asked more questions after the first fiasco. :-) Well, we're off to a Christmas dinner with all 4 of us siblings and spouses at my little sister's house!

    ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉
    *M*E*R*R*Y* *C*H*R*I*S*T*M*A*S*!*
    ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉

    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  8. Looked like a great time out. We love to drop in on various museum's in our travels in parts of Oz.

  9. Oooh, this looks like such a fun time! I like to prowl around museums in our area but to have a whole village would be awesome. The tallow candles are interesting even though a bit icky.

    "Make good use of your time, for when it is gone, it will come no more." -- such a great sentiment!

  10. An interesting tour, Lucy! Thanks for taking us along. [Being hungry has a new standard after learning folks would eat the tallow from candles...]
    xx from Gracie

  11. We took our girls there when they were younger and they have never forgotten the wonderful time we had. It is truly a magical place. Thanks for sharing your experiences and letting me 'visit' it again.

  12. What a great day out! I love attractions like this! There is a great one outside Cardiff at St Fagans which is completely mind blowing :) Thanks for The Two Ronnies always makes me laugh x x

  13. My Mum's comment is right - we did love it there! It was so much fun and I loved looking at the photos you took and remembering our own visit. We visited a similar living Victorian museum - Beamish - but it didn't have the currency so wasn't as fun :) xxx


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