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Vintage Radio Entertainment at The Black Country Living Museum

July 27, 2010

I spent a hugely enjoyable day at The Black Country Living Museum last Friday.  The museum, in Tipton, near Dudley, celebrates and explores the region’s social and industrial heritage through (as it’s name suggests) living exhibits.  It’s made up of period buildings all of which have been moved brick by brick from their original locations to the museum site.

I first went there over twenty-five years ago when there were just a couple of houses, a chapel, a chemists and a chainmaker’s forge,  Now the museum covers some 26 acres in total and has a pub, trams, a cinema showing silent movies from the 1920s, a sweet shop, a chip shop, a mine, a garage and lots more.

I was there to check out their recently opened 1930s street which includes the marvelous Gripton’s Radio Store.

Vintage vocalist Simon Partridge outside Gripton's Radio Store at The Black Country Living Museum

The store is a must-see for fans of all things vintage and, as a lover of vintage music and professional vintage vocalist, I was in sheer heaven looking at all the beautiful radio sets and accessories the shop had on display.

Vintage radios at The Black Country Living Museum

In their day these weren’t just functional items they were objects to be enjoyed in their own right.  Unlike today’s mass-produced identikit disposables each one has it’s own individual style (one might even say personality!).

Vintage vocalist Simon Partridge talking with the guide in Gripton's Radio Store at The Black Country Living Museum

I had a great chat with the museum guide who was “keeping shop”.  Virtually all of the exhibits at The Black Country Living Museum have a costumed guide who’s there to tell you more about that particular building and answer questions.  The guy in Gripton’s Radio Store was clearly an enthusiast who knew all about his “stock” and was happy to spend time sharing his knowledge.

If you haven’t been I highly recommend a visit to The Black Country Living Museum and if you do what I did and go by train you can get 2 for 1 entry by picking up a leaflet from any London Midland station or by printing off the voucher on the London Midland website.

Have a great day out!

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