Weekly Blog No 107 – Black Country Living Museum ( Part 2). 

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St James School, Salop Street, Eve Hill, Dudley

In 1811 the Church of England established the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor with the aim of setting up a school near to ever parish church. There was 4 schools in Dudley and St James School in Salop St, Eve Hill was built in 1842 just 2 years after the parish church.

Hobbs & Sons Fish & Chip Shop, Hall Street, Dudley

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The building housing Hobbs, Fish & Chip Shops and Morralls Menswear Shop was sited originally in Hall Street, Dudley. The building dates back to the 1700’s, however was recladded with pressed brickwork in 1889.

H Morralls Gentlemens Outfitters, Hall Street, Dudley

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Originally next door to Hobbs, Fish & Chip Shop at 42 Hall Street, Dudley. From 1935 the shop was a tailors and Gentlemen’s outfitters ran by Archibald Victor Rogers.

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4 shops formerly known as 12, 14, 16 & 18 Birmingham Street, Oldbury. In  2005, Black Country LM arranged for the transfer of the block dated around 1850 – 1875

A Hartill Motorcycles, Birmingham Street, Oldbury

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in the 1930’s,  Number 14 Birmingham St, Oldbury was Humphrey Bros premises, ho but use to reconstruct 1930’s motorcycles by A Hartill Motorcycles.

Humphrey Brothers Builders Merchant, Birmingham Street, Oldbury

Humphrey Bros were number 12 Birmingham St, Oldbury from 1921 until about 1960 although one time they also occupied 14 and 16. The shop display is dominated by a large fireplace surround of mottled brown,  beige tiles and dark oak. The green basin and wc represents mid 30’s.

A. Preedy & Sons, Birmingham Street, Oldbury

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Number 16 was occupied by two small independent tobacconists up to 1932. A Preddy & Sons was a well known wholesaler and retail tobacconists in the west Midlands, established in Dudley in 1868.

The Workers Institute, Lower Hill Street, Cradley Heath 

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The Cradley Heath Workers Institute stands as a monument to the struggle of the women chain makers of Cradley Heath who laid down tools in 1910 to strike for a living wage. Focusing on Britain low paid workers and establishing the principle of a minimum wage.

The Boat Dock & Boat Collection

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The museum has built the boat dock on a canal branch believed to have been formed by mining subsidence in the middle of the 19th century. The branch  arm formerly joined the canal arm built in 1839 to link the Limekilns with the Birmingham Canal Navigation (BCN).  The second photo is inside a canal narrow boat,

The Penfold Letter Box

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Letter boxes arrived on our streets in the 1850’s and the contract for making the first national standard design in 1859 was awarded to Cochrane & Co of Dudley.

Anchor Maker’s  House, Lawrence Lane, Old Hill

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This house is one of a pair built around 118 that used to stand on Lawrence Lance, Old Hill. The homes were condemned by the local council in the mid 1970’s. The museum dismantled the property in 1978 and rebuilt it at the museum. The property as a side entry to a back yard.

The Hardware & Ironmongers Shop

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The Ironmongers shop and hardware shop occupy two properties, which formerly stood on the corner of Piper’s Row and Tower street in Wolverhampton. The shop contents have been collected to represent a typical hardware shop of the 1930@s. The stock includes a selection of household equipment – tin baths, pots and pans, tableware, lamps, laundry irons and heath equipment.

Veal’s Bakers Shop, Birmingham Street, Oldbury

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The Veal’s Bakery shop was carried out at 50 Birmingham Street, Oldbury from the 1870’s. George Veal was a confectioner brought the shop in 1879 and he died in 1884. His wife remarried Arthur Smith and the properties remained in the family until the 1920’s.

Providence Chapel, Darby Hand, Near Netherton.

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The Darby Hand New Connexion Methodist Chapel was originally opened on the 29th January 1837. Methodism had emerged in the mid-eighteenth century through preaching of John Wesley (1703 – 1791) who made 15 visits to Dudley and other parts of the Black Country in 1749.

The Greengrocer’s Shop

 

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the building is a replica of two shops out of a row of 3 in Lower Lichfield Street, Willenhall before 1848. The Willenhall shops were originally built as houses and converted into front room shops in the early 1900’s. The greengrocer was owned by Gertrude Adey, wife of Willenhall Locksmiths

Museum employees dressed in period costume

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Station Road Cottages, Station Road, Old Hill

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The two cottages are replicas of houses which stand albeit mortified on Station Road, Old Hill near the Great Western Railway station. They were built in 1848 and formed part of the Earl of Dudley’s estates. Dwelling of that time were typically 3 rooms, a kitchen, pantry and a bedroom.

The Coal Yard, Station Road, Old Hill

This reconstruction of a Coal Yard is based on evidence collected from several Black Country coal merchants and dealers. Small yards selling coal could be found almost every neighbourhood catering for domestic consumers and small businesses such as bakeries and sweet shops etc. Most people used coal for cooking, laundering and room heating and could consume as much as two hundred weight (over 100 kg) a week.

Limelight Cinema, Harts Hill, Brierly Hill.

IMG_0212The Limelight cinema is an example of a small family run cinema typical of the period 1910 -1920 although it did not open until 30 August 1921. It was owned by John Henry Revill an engineer with Cartwright & Paddock and tucked away behind a row of houses on Vine St, Harts Hill.

Blacksmith’s Shop

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The Blacksmith’s Shop its housed in a reconstructed building from the Great Bridge which retains the original corner fireplace. The equipment is from Eliza Tinsley Works in Old Hill.

Anchor Forge, Woods Lane, Cradley Heath

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The Museum,s Anchor Forge is set in the 1920’s and preserves the equipment from the last anchor forge to operate in the Black Country. Anchor making was a prominent industry in the Black Country and anchors for some famous ships like the Great Easten, the Titanic and Royal Yacht Britannia.

Peaky Blinders Filming Location for the BBC Drama

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Weekly Blog 106 – Cancer Update 


Cancer Update 
On Monday I went to see my Oncologist, following recent tests and a scan. He confirmed that I have a tumour on my right ovary possibly a small one on the left too. (I’ve been questioning my ovaries for a couple of years now). I also have disease in my bowel. I’m been suffering terrible pain due to the bowel and right ovary, I’m on morphine and liquid morphine. However I feel a sense of relief that my concerns have been vindicated. The proposal is ileostomy(bowel to external bag) and remove my ovaries. 

I will still have cancer in other areas, nevertheless this is to eliminate pain and give me a quality of life. Morphine in a cancer patient always represents end of life to me, therefore at some point it’s going to be needed so I don’t want to use all my options at this stage. If I have the op, I hope to come off the morphine until it is required again. 

He’s going to discuss my case with a very experienced surgeon this Wednesday as he feels my case is quiet complex. (I’ve had 3 cancer surgeries already). The surgeon will then send me an appointment to see him and hopefully give me an operation date. 

How do I feel:-

I’m ok, pleased that my concerns have finally been acknowledged. I want to get off morphine and hopefully be somewhat pain free. It’s no fun being in pain all the time with everything else going on. Yes the bag is not a great option but I will take it, if it eliminates pain and gives me more freedom.  

Next week, I’m seeing an ENT Consultant because I appear to have developed a hoarse voice. Now I know this might be attractive to some people, a husky voice but it’s so random. My Oncologist asked my GP to arrange it locally. His concern is its cancer because it’s been going on for a few months, therefore he wants to eradicate the possibility. I hope not, enough is enough. Should it be I will deal with it head on as always. 

Mr Zebrakat as per normal, is with me on every appointment. I would be lost without his continuous support. Thank you Mr Zebrakat for absolutely everything that you do. ❤️

Love to you all 😘x including my Oncologist 


PS I’m just working on Part 2, Black Country Living Museum.  The post will be on by Saturday. 

Weekly Blog No 105 – Black Country Living Museum(Part 1)


The Black Country Living Museum represents the period leading to the industry revolution. The area was rich in coal, ironstone, fireclay and limestone.The Black Country was the biggest contributed of ironstone in the UK due to steam and its canals. The Back Country is know for ‘black by day and red by night’ due its fires of blast  furnaces, forges and kilns. The Black Country dates back to the 1830’s and is a collection of about 20 towns.

Rolfe Street Public Bath, Smethwick

The building was built by the Board of Health and opened in May 1888. There was a shortage of water and lack of space and the expense of baths made it difficult for the average working class family. From the 1840’s Public baths were established through pressure of public reformers.

Bradburn & Wedge Motor Garage

A former horse tram deport in Darlington, Wolverhampton.


One of the buses used at the museum.

The Conway Garage, Near Fighting Cocks, on Wolverhampton to Dudley Road. 

The Garage belong to Alexander Broome 1903 – 1987. Alex was apprenticed to the Sunbeam Motor Company until 1919 and then transferred to the company’t experimental racing team in the 1920’s.

War Memorial 

The war memorial consisting of a bronze British solider. Originally erected in 1923 at William Butlers, Springfield Brewary, Wolverhampton to commentate those who had fallen in the First World War and those who served and survived.

Cast Iron Houses, Birmingham Road, Dudley. 

Typical new style of council houses, designed to provide fresh air, light using llarge windows, gas lighting, a coal fired kitchen range, indoor wc and a fitted bath with running hot and cold water.

Newcomen Engine

In 1712, Thomas Newcomen (1663 – 1729) from Dartmouth in Devon invented the world successful steam engineer in, which mechanical work was achieved by a piston moving cylinder.
Toll House

The Toll House was built in 1843, it stood at the Littleworth Gate, Woodsetton on the Sedgley to Tividale Turnpike Road, which was authorised by Act of parliament in 1841.

 

Jesushah House, Coopers Bank, Gornal Wood. 

It was probably built around 1847 when Cooper Bank consisted of a few cottages scattered around the coalmines, quarries and brickworks in the area. in 1881, the cottage was occupied by Benjamin Meredith, a bricklayer from as early as 1900’s – 1984.

 

IMG_0036Lench’s Oliver Shop, Toss, blackheath

Lench’s Oliver shop was built between 1908 and 1910 by Onan Lowe, an oddworker. Oddwork is a Black Country Term for making of miscellaneous  small items of wrought iron by hard.

Oliver is a spring loaded hammer operated by a treadle, which allowed the blacksmith to guide or manipulate the metal being forged with both his hands as they worked. The tension cam from an overhead ash pole or a large metal spring ensuring the hammer heads returned to the upright position.

Part 2 will follow in a few days. Enjoy

Weekly Blog No 104 – Dudley Zoological Gardens, UK

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After being so ill the previous week Mr Zebrakat took me away for a mini break. If that meant staying in a hotel room for most of our visit, that was going to be ok. The aim of the break was a change of  scenery. As i was feeling stronger this week and only dealing with pelvic pain and not migraines, we decided to go to Dudley Zoo.

Dudley Zoo is 40 acres surrounding a 11 century castle and was opened in 1937 by the 3rd Earl of Dudley. Most of the animals are linked to international breeding and conservation programmes.

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Some of the photos taken during our visit.

Camal – Bactrian

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Guanaco

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Chimpanzee

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This chimp looked so cute sleeping

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Rhea

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Tortoise

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Lemur – Black & White Ruffed

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Tragopan

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Kangaroos

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Sheep –  Barbary

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Capybara

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Giraffes

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Tiger

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Kookaburra

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Flamingos

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A lovely zoo with so many animals to see, therefore a worthy trip for adults and children.

Next weeks blog is Black Country Museum

 

Weekly Blog No 102 – Local Dog Show

Yesterday we went to a local dog show with the hope that we could enter Lottie into some of the categories. Oh my, it was a dog fest with more cross breeds than pedigrees. Dont they say owners can look like their pets, maybe there is some truth in that saying.

We entered Lottie into 2 categories as the rain looked promising. 1. Prettiest Bitch and 2. Best Crossbreed.  There was 5 rosettes to be won in each category.  I actually did think Lottie would win one in the prettiest bitch category as everyone was saying how pretty she was. We had people stop us to stroke Lottie. Yet she didn’t win in either category. Never mind there is always next year.

The event was good fun and proves that people are very passionate about their pets. The grey sky never put a hindrance on the day and the show went on even when there was a sprinkle of rain. Enjoy looking at some of pets who attended the day. X

Weekly Blog No 101 – Vegetable Garden

This year, my goal was to do a vegetable garden. As I had the space down the bottom of garden, it was worth a shot. In February/March, I started to grow from seeds, tomatoes and brussels sprouts. In the meantime, I got Mr Zebrakat to start making raised wooden beds.

Everything I was attempting was a complete learning curve. I did the seeds in seed trays and watering the seeds was crucial. There was even an element of excitement when you see a sea of green coming through the soil. Little leaves started to protrude through and develop into a dainty like stem. Once I had seedlings I would transfer them into seed/cutting trays. Seeds definitely need a lot of attention and perseverance. Outdoor seeds seem less demanding. Now in seeing my crop of veggies, I think I would attempt seeds again but on a smaller scale as I will explain later.

I needed the wooden raised beds, therefore I got Mr Zebrakat to show me his carpentry skills. My request was wooden tubs with legs to reduce bending. Most of my raised were 4ft X 2ft. I painted the outside of the beds with a Ronseal paint. I filled the bed with a layer of gravel for drainage and to stop mould. Then a layer of organic compost and then a moisture control soil and I had read raised beds dry out quicker. That does appear to be the case, however we have had extreme heat wave days.

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Raised Vegetable Beds

I attempted to plant vegetable companions to avoid diseases etc. For example Brussels with tomatoes.  Potatoes with cauliflower. I brought cauliflower plants the only plant I didn’t grow from seed and caterpillars took revenge. The perfect yellow and black inserts were all over the back of the leaves. I was so disappointed, nevertheless it’s the only way to learn. Therefore, to eliminate the problem I removed them all. Goodbye cauliflower.

I then sow carrots from seed directly into the beds and are ready in 12 weeks. They are doing fine, however are being smothered by tomato plants.  Brussels are still growing and I’m learning they take a while. My early potatoes are taking shape in spite of picking some to early. My first crop of potatoes tasted wonderful.  I actually pulled the potatoes when the plant flowered, I have since you don’t pull them until the flower has died. Someone else told me to let them flower twice before gathering the next crop.  well today I have collected the remaining crop. I shall plant some more potatoes in the next couple of days.

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Potatoes

I actually over planted my tomatoes. It’s like a jungle of plants and restricting my walking around the beds. I have learned, I don’t need so many plants next time around and I will support the individual plants. Although my tomatoes are taking shape as you can see from the photos its definitely a lesson learned.

When spaces become vacant in the beds, I will plant some other vegetables. I would like to try courgettes, cabbage and salad items. If anyone has any tips please share them with me.

Weekly Blog No 100 – Cancer Update. 

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Cancer Update.



Late January my GP/Family Physcian was getting concerned with me, regarding my symptoms. The Royal Free Hospital, London, UK requested some additional tests including the most advanced scan for my cancer. I have personally been struggling at times, when I have a bad day, I rest and when I have a good day I make the most of it. My body was certainly telling me my cancer had advanced but I had to have medical procedures to confirm that. Today, I went to the RFH for the results and the news was not great.

There was more progression of cancer both in my abdomen and liver.  Was I shocked, no I wasn’t because I knew. What was my reaction, well I smiled because now there was data to represent my symptoms. Weird reaction, I know but I’ve been here at least 5 times before, it’s old hat.  What happens now, my Oncologist wants me to have additional scans to examine the growth in more detail on my abdomen and liver, which is supposed to be in the next 2-4 weeks. However my scan is in 4 weeks with additional blood work. That gives him 2 weeks to discuss my case with other Consultants before seeing him again. He has proposed 3 treatment options but I won’t go into that yet until a final decision has been made. In the meantime, guess what, I have more meds, let’s just add a few more to my rather big collection.

I’m going to continue life the best I can and with no boundaries. I will update you in July when I have more news. I would like to thank the people who continuously support both me & Mr ZebraKat  ❤️