New 40s-60s high street set to open at Black Country Living Museum

Black Country Living Museum’s new 1940s-60s high street opens on Saturday, inviting visitors to listen to vinyl in Stanton’s Music Shop and enjoy flavours of the past from Marsh & Baxter and Burgin’s Newsagents.

The opening of the next phase of the Museum’s development will expand its storytelling and create an even bigger stage for visitors to immerse themselves in history, as they experience the hustle and bustle of a busy high street.

The Museum has opened the doors to five brand-new shops – Burgin’s Newsagents, Laurie Thomas Hairdressers, Marsh & Baxter, Stanton’s Music Shop, and West Bromwich Building Society, as well as displaying the latest trends in the frontage of E. Minett’s Ladieswear.

The businesses represent different areas of the Black Country and have been brought to life with invaluable support from the Black Country community, who have shared memories and donated items, from pots of Brylcreem to personal safes.

Each building has multiple stories to tell of ordinary people and objects that impacted people’s daily lives, as well as wider societal changes, such as the impact of post-war prosperity, migration and ‘the rise of the teenager’.

New historic characters include Jane Burgin and her daughter-in-law Cynthia, who together ran Burgin’s Newsagents; an example of female entrepreneurship in an era when businesses were commonly dominated by men. Visitors will also meet the eponymous Laurie Thomas of Laurie Thomas Hairdressers, who was often found entertaining customers with his swanee whistle, harmonica and tales of his imaginary pet monkey.

The Museum is also welcoming back its fantastic fairground, with new period rides and stalls. People of all ages will be thrilled as they try their hand at traditional games, as well as reaching for the stars on exciting rides like ‘Super Sonic Jets’ and the ‘Chairoplane’.

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