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Black Country Living Museum secures HLF funding for major expansion

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The museum'>Black Country Living Museum (BCLM) in Dudley has been awarded £9.8m by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) which will go towards a facility expansion increasing the museum’s footprint by a third.

The £21.7m project – BCLM: Forging Ahead – is the first phase of a 40 year masterplan laid out by the museum, which celebrates the history of the Black Country in the Midlands.

The funding means the museum can now start work on the development of a 1940s to 1960s area, which will also feature new learning spaces and visitor facilities.

The museum says it has identified buildings across the region, which it wants to translocate, recreate or replicate on-site. These include pub, shops, a hairdressers and an NHS clinic.

Among the buildings to be relocated “brick by brick”, identified structures include the West Bromwich Gas Showroom, the Woodside Library, the William Griffin & Sons Proving House and the J H Lavender Aluminium Foundry.

“We plan to create a new historic development set in the 1940s-1960s, telling the story of social, cultural, commercial and industrial life in the Black Country during this period,” said BCLM.

“This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will allow us to tell the story of the Black Country up to the closure of the Baggeridge Coal Mine in 1968, bringing about the end of a unique era for the Black Country.”

In order to accommodate the 500,000 visitors a year the museum is targeting by 2022, a new contemporary Visitor Centre including new retail and catering facilities will provide a juxtaposition against the historic site. Additionally a new contemporary learning centre and complementary industrial learning space will be created to significantly enhance BCLM’s ability to deliver learning activities for the 80,000 school children that visit the site each year.

“BCLM is a world-class attraction that tells the story of the region’s history and provides a real boost to the local economy,” said Karen Bradley secretary of state for culture, media and sport.

“This exciting project, backed by £9.8m funding from National Lottery players, will help the museum reflect an important time in the area’s past and preserve its historic buildings for the future.”

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The Black Country Living Museum (BCLM) in Dudley has been awarded £9.8m (US$12.5m, €11.2m) by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) which will go towards a facility expansion increasing the museum’s footprint by a third.
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