Friday, October 15, 2010

The Black Country

A sharp left turn and a mile gets us to Dudley and the Black Country Museum with really secure moorings, boater facilities and the tunnel. The black country is a huge area of geological significance containing all the raw materials to set off the industrial revolution. Coal mining, iron and steel making, lime stone mines and lime kilns.
It was a very hard life for those who lived and worked during the 17 th. and 18 th. centuries.
Women were employed making chains all day long often using their children to help. They went on strike because they could not even afford to feed themselves. They were the white slaves of England.
We walked down into an 1850’s coal mine to experience the blackness and low ceilings. We were given hard hats and torches. A young boy was employed to open and shut ventilation doors but he was working in the dark because he was not worth a light. Ponies at this time were considered more valuable than children. If they were to fall into the canal it was the pony that got rescued first. When we were in that mine we thought about the trapped miners in Chilly. Thankfully they are now all rescued safely.
There was plenty to see in the completely reconstructed village with many shops and even a 1920’s cinema showing silent movies.
Then there was that tunnel with more than expected. It was the entrance to what was a huge underground mining industry digging out coal and lime.
There are caverns and tunnels in many directions. Many more unseen below are now flooded. We went in with our hard hats by boat on a round trip. It was an education by commentary and audio visual show seen and heard deep in the hillside. It was so good that we went in again the next day!

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