It’s been many months since we visited Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings near Bromsgrove (in fact I think it was March, which just goes to show how far behind I am with blogging!), but I guess this write-up is better late than never. Avoncroft is a fascinating site full of old buildings that have been brought there from elsewhere and painstakingly reconstructed, brick by brick, to preserve these historic structures for posterity.
The first building you see on entering the museum grounds is this old Co-op building, which is now a cafe, where we stopped for a bite to eat before delving further into the museum site.
An ominous stamping of feet accompanied by much high-pitched babble from the room above signalled the presence of a group of rowdy schoolchildren, so we decided to have a quick slice of cake before making a hasty retreat.
This little Victorian corrugated iron church reminded me strongly of the ones in Iceland.
This is what it’s like inside. It was originally in Herefordshire.
I had visited Avoncroft once before, when my grandparents took my sister and me as a child, but this windmill (and the toll house towards the end of this post) were all that I remembered from that visit. I do love a good windmill; they are so romantic and nostalgic. Luckily we managed to have a look inside before being caught up by the rowdy schoolkids. (Apologies for the dire photograph. It’s surprisingly difficult to photograph windmills.)
From a practical point of view, it’s quite remarkable how some of these buildings have been moved here from elsewhere. These well-worn stone steps, for instance, must weigh an immense amount.
There’s lots of old farm machinery lying around, which I always find fascinating.
I recognised some of it, as we’ve found this sort of stuff gathering dust at the airfield, which is also a farm.
The mangles in this little outbuilding made me think that I would quite like to buy a mangle for use as a garden ornament. *opens eBay in a new tab*
This unusual building was originally somewhere in the Black Country, and it was one of a row of similar structures in which steel chains were manufactured.
This is how it looks inside. You can imagine what it would have been like with the furnaces going; the noise, the heat, the sweat.
I thought the museum had done an excellent job of making it look as though the building had always been there, just abandoned as it was the day the last workmen laid down their tools.
Opposite that, I rather liked this post-war pre-fab house. These were of a type common after the war, when many new homes were needed to house those who had lost theirs to the German bombs.
This was the kitchen. I love the balancing scales; I use some like that to this day (I’m old-fashioned like that).
This was the air raid shelter in the garden. I’ve always been really interested in life on the Home Front, and this brought it to life a bit.
As a former resident of an old toll house, I was particularly taken with this wonderfully restored example. You can see mine here (as you can see, mine has a later extension added onto the right-hand side, but similarities are immediately obvious); how I miss that cottage!
I’ve always wondered what my little toll house cottage would have been like inside back when it was first built, and I expect this gives a good impression of how it might once have been.
The bedroom was amazingly similar to my spare room in my old toll house, with the little fireplace and the windows looking out from different directions.
Finally, an unlikely point of interest at Avoncroft is its rather delightful collection of telephone boxes. Not, one might think, the most scintillating of exhibits, but you’d be surprised. Some of them work and you can, if you feel so inclined, telephone from one to another.
Amazing though I found some of the older ones, I maintain a strong aversion to public telephones on account of hygiene (goodness, I’m glad we have mobile phones now), so I declined to give any of them a test run!
The buildings I’ve included in this post are only a small selection of the huge number of amazing structures collected at Avoncroft for future generations, so I’d definitely recommend visiting if you’re at all interested in the England of days gone by. Find out more about visiting here.