The Avoncroft Museum is situated to the west of the canal, about a twenty minute walk. Bridget and Storm had visited the museum on their way up to Alvechurch and had said how much they’d enjoyed it and wouldn’t mind going again. We took the scenic route there across fields and railway lines.
Avoncroft Museum opened to the public in 1967 following the rescue and reconstruction of a Medieval Town House from Bromsgrove town centre. Over the last five decades, they have continued to rescue buildings that were threatened with demolition or neglect. They range from the Medieval Town House, A threshing barn, a windmill, a chain shop to the National Collection of Telephone Kiosks.
Mick was eager to look around the telephone kiosks and the telephone exchange. There were numerous phone boxes and you can make calls between them, all the original dial tones and buttons to press. The phone box that I chose had quite a crackle on the line, luckily I had called a telephone engineer in the adjacent box so that I could report the fault. He quickly identified the fault as being with the handset cord.
There were volunteers on hand who had all worked for The Post Office and or BT, just like Mick. They helped explain the phone boxes and the telephone exchanges. There was a UAX 13 in full working order. Mick was in his element to say the least.
Outside you could ring the Tardis and the light even flashed on the roof. Very exciting.
This was only a small part of the museum, so once we’d managed to get Mick away from the switches and dials we continued to walk round. The windmill was been brought back into working order last year. Very impressive even if the gaps in the wooden floor and the slight sway of the building unnerved me. Andy the volunteer here was very knowledgeable as were all the volunteers around the museum.
A lady was cooking in the medieval town house, vegetables, herbs and weeds. It smelt nice, although she did later discard it into a hedgerow. She explained how the term curfew came about. Beside the fire were two curfew pots. At dusk the house fires would be put out with the help of these pots and you could be fined if you had a fire going at night. Everyone would shut up the house to try to keep any heat inside and would huddle around the stone surrounds to keep warm.
The chain shop must have been a warm place to work with fourteen fires blasting out heat as chains were made. The size and different shapes of the bellows were impressive. A prefab house was laid out and dressed, it’s contents reminding me of my Grandparents home in Bradford.
A very good day out with varied buildings and telephones. We had stayed well into the afternoon, so The Wasp is staying put this evening, ready to move on down towards Worcester tomorrow. We may have to go and sample the beer across the cut later this evening.
0 locks, 0 miles, 0 trains, 2 tiffins, 23 telephone boxes, 4 sails, 1 black cat, 1 black dog, 1 inch chains, 1 Twyfords Edinburgh, 2 custard tarts.