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WATCH: Black Country Living Museum reveals how 1940-60s town will look

By Heather Large | Dudley | Attractions | Published:

The museum is launching a final fundraising push towards its £23m Forging Ahead project

The Elephant and Castle pub which once stood in Wolverhampton

New artist's impressions of how the Black Country Living Museum's new 1940s-60s town will look have been unveiled as bosses launch the final fundraising push to reach their £23 million target.

Wolverhampton's Elephant & Castle pub, which will be recreated, and Dudley's Woodside Library, due to be relocated to the site brick by brick, are among the buildings that feature in the eye-catching images.

WATCH: Fly through the 1940s-60s town

Fly through Black Country Living Museum 1940s-60s town plans

The museum has received support from numerous organisations to date including a pledge from the Heritage Lottery Fund of £9.8m.

Now it is calling out for donations towards a final fundraising target of £150,000 from the public, with the aim of raising at least £30,000 in the coming week.

It has joined forces match funding campaign the Big Give, which will see all donations to its Forging Ahead project doubled between 12pm on November 27 and 12pm on December 4.

Fundraisers Katy Price and Sophie Howell, historical researcher Simon Briercliffe, and architect Greg Day, with one of the plans for the new 1940's-60's town

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Director Andrew Lovett said: “This is an incredibly ambitious, once-in-a-lifetime project. Our research so far has helped us uncover incredible stories that will help us piece together the revolutionary time that was the '40s-60s.

"We cannot express how grateful we are to the generosity of those who have come forward in support of this project.

"Being part of this national campaign will allow us to double every single donation from the public, getting us ever closer to our final fundraising goal to bring this incredible period of history to life, and make sure future generations can always reflect upon the past in an immersive and thought-provoking way.”

A shot of one of the two new streets in the 1940s-60s town

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"I think it's a project that's close to people's hearts because we are telling a story that is their story. It's important that people understand where they came from and how they got to be where they are now."

Simon Briercliffe is a historical researcher, who has been helping to ensure that all of the buildings and their interiors are historically accurate.

Photographs, building plans and oral histories are being used to paint a picture of the past by the team with information then fed to the architects drawing up the designs.

Woodside Library which will be moved to the museum, brick by brick, from Holly Hall, Dudley

Mr Briercliffe said: "We work closely with the architects as we need to be confident that the buildings are an accurate historical representation and that's where people's memories come in.

"Often we have pictures of the outside but not the interior so it's great when we find some photos of the interiors of shops because we can see what the decor was like and what the staff were wearing.

"We also have to bear in mind building regulations so things like fire doors will be added and we may alter the layout to ensure people can walk through the building and see it properly. We want people to enjoy it and get the most from it,"

Greg Day, who works as an architectural technologist, is using the research to develop the plans for the shops and other buildings.

He said: "These aren't just buildings, they are stories. I love all of the family history that comes with them like Laurie Thomas Hairdressers.

"The Elephant & Castle pub, for example, is one that a lot of people remember because they drank there or they know somebody else who drank there so it's great to be able to bring it back to life for them."

The new 1940s-60s town

Fundraiser Katy Price is helping to generate the last £150,000 needed to make Forging Ahead a reality.

She said: "We are just hoping that people who are as excited about this project as we are can help and we can save our Black Country history together."

The new town will also feature recreations of Stanton’s Records in Dudley, Marsh & Baxter’s Butchers Shop in Brierley Hill, West Bromwich Building Society in Cape Hill, Smethwick, and E Minett Ladies Clothes Shop in Walsall Road, Wednesbury.

The development will also feature an NHS clinic based at Wolverhampton’s Lea Road Infant Welfare Centre, which opened on June 25, 1928.

As well as a new visitor centre and car park, the existing Rolfe Street entrance building will be re-purposed and refurbished as a learning centre.

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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