Hello, thank you for calling in. I am Quite Excited: do you remember that last time you were here, I told you that I couldn't remember the last rain-free day? Well, last Friday, 8th January, was a rain-free day!!!!!!! At last. Admittedly, I couldn't make the most of it because I spent most of the day at work, but at least I got there and home again with dry feet and I could see sunshine through the window. Yippee!
It didn't last: on Saturday I had to run a lot of errands and I got absolutely soaked, but on Sunday morning the sun shone and we decided to go out for the afternoon. It was cold, but I have a warm coat, gloves, a scarf and woollen socks and I'm not afraid to don them, so suitably attired, off we set, the Best Beloved and I. We had a voucher to redeem. We were not much more than ten minutes away from home when the sun went in...but we didn't care, it was dry, we were wrapped up cosily and we were outdoors in the Fresh Air. Boy, did it feel good.
Ironbridge Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, apparently the second most popular IN THE WORLD in 2013 (I am still trying to comprehend that) and there are ten museums in the valley. Blists HilI Victorian Town is an open-air museum which recreates a small town set in 1900, the last year of Queen Victoria's reign.
Some of the buildings are copies of Victorian buildings and some are original old buildings which have been taken down, moved here and rebuilt, brick by brick and they include shops, a pub, a bank, a chapel, a post office, a doctor's surgery, businesses and houses. The museum staff wear Victorian costume and speak knowledgeably about their trades - the printer is one of my favourites and the Best Beloved likes the foreman who operates the steam engine at the mine. It's a wonderful place to bring children to teach them about life in Victorian times and very popular for school visits.
The shop on the right is the pharmacy, used in the BBC series Victorian Pharmacy, and the building in the middle is a grocer's shop which reminds me very much of Ginger & Pickles' shop in Beatrix Potter's tale. Would you like to have a look in the window? -
These shops are not just exhibits; you can buy their goods. My absolute favourite is the draper's shop, not an original building but newly built six years ago - you might have seen it on the BBC series Edwardian Farm -
I took several photos of that gorgeous window display -
Deliciously girly, isn't it? The woman who runs it once told that dressmakers and shops like this were crucial to the suffragette movement in the early twentieth century because they were one of the few places women could go to unchaperoned by men, so they would gather there to talk.
The locksmith was out but his workshop was open so we wandered in -
The decorative plasterer is another of my favourites -
We arrived just over an hour before closing time and the site was obviously winding down, but it didn't matter because we have been before and we know that we shall go again before long - as well as the buildings, there are paths to be walked in the woods which rise above the site. This is not a cheap outing: ticket prices are £16.95 for adults and £11.50 for children and although it would be easy to spend a whole day here, that makes for an expensive family outing. However, I found a voucher deal here and bought two annual passport tickets for £29 - that's cheaper than two single visits and the passport gives us unlimited visits to not just this museum, but also to the other nine museums in Ironbridge Gorge for twelve months. So I shall have plenty more opportunities to show you around over the next year.
See you soon.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x