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Journey into the past

The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley was created on 26 acres of land and canal to simulate Black Country life of the 1930’s. Twenty-two members of the NBVTC visited the museum on the 20th of March and what a good day out it was!

We first visited the impressive Thomas Newcomen steam pumping station but missed the mines, as there was a queue. Passing through the fairground, a garage, and the village school, we reached the high street, which was full of interesting period shops and fascinating people to talk to. The cake shop and bakery seemed to have a particular fascination for club members and many samples were purchased. The A. Hartill motorcycle shop was worth it just to drool over some very nice machines. AJS was to the fore here; A. J. Stevens made cars and motorcycles in Wolverhampton from 1909 to 1931.

Lunch had to be the renown Hobbs & Sons traditional fish and chips, this proved to be a good choice. Then a stroll on the canal path and working docks where many interesting boats including a very rare horse drawn ice breaking barge were to be found. The next big project for the museum is also in the yard, a giant Anchor Forge steam hammer used in the manufacture of anchors. A ride back to the car and motorcycle museum on a 1921 tram was fun; two other working trams were at the depot a 1909 electric and an 1882 horse drawn.

It was a surprise to find such fascinating cars and motorcycles of the era made in the surrounding area. Many we had never heard of, and all in a nicely renovated condition. Rarest perhaps was the Turner steam car along with a number of later petrol engine models. For the more sporting a PRA formulae junior aluminum bodied race car powered by a shaft drive with Manx Norton engine was a real treat. To add to the delights here was a rare Sunbeam Manitou aero engine also used in land speed record breaking cars. You can see many images from the day in this gallery!

Thanks Richard and Laura for organizing a great event, and thank you to Keith for driving the coach.