Avoncroft Museum of Buildings

Avoncroft Museum of Buildings – https://avoncroft.org.uk/ – is one of those places I have read about, but never got to. It is near Bromsgrove, and we found it easily. They have a mobility scooter you can borrow, so we were able to get to the whole site. They have an interesting mix of buildings, and other bits and pieces. The ecclesiastical pieces – this started as a church crawling blog after all – are the spire of St Paul’s church Smethwick and a tin tabernacle from Bringsty Common, Herefordshire, and a hearse.

The original St Paul’s church was built in 1857 – West Smethwick Working Men’s Church, designed by G.B. Nicholls. By 1961 the base of the spire had rotted, and a fibreglass replacement was cheaper. Two years later the church was burned down, only the spire remained. It was kept when a new building was constructed in 1966. That was declared redundant in 1991, and the spire was re-erected here!

The Tin Chapel was built in 1891 at a cost of £70. The Anglicans were worried about the number of people attending the Methodist church. It was purchased from the catalogue of J.C. Humphries, a London iron merchant and manufacturers – similar chapels were installed across the Empire (they had a photo of the Railway Mission chapel in Bury St Edmunds). It arrived in a flat pack at Brockhampton railway sidings, and was taken by horse and cart to its final site. It could host baptisms, but not weddings or funerals – wonderful Ecclesiatical Law! It was closed in 1988 and moved here in 1995.

The Tollhouse comes from Little Malvern. It dates to 1822 and stood where the current A4104 meets the current A449. When they rebuilt it here they discovered the bread oven – and they rebuilt the privy.

The Chain Shop comes from Scotia Works at Cradley Heath near Birmingham. Mid C19, fourteen hearths, worked until 1969. A recording of some memories helped us picture how hot (but freezing in winter) and noisy it must have been. There was also a Blacksmith’s Shop.

The C15 Town House from Bromsgrove was rather lovely – though they need a gardener.

The Perry Mill is from Hunt End, Redditch, and was built between 1790 and 1810. Perry is an alcoholic drink made by fermenting pear juice.

The Windmill is from Hill Farm, Danzey Green, Warwickshire. It is a typical West Midlands Post Mill. The upper structure, called the Buck, pivots on a huge central post. It turns into the wind, and the sails have an 18 metre wide span. The mill was built in 1830, though the post comes from an earlier mill that had been taken down in around 1784. It was rebuilt in 1969/70.

The Museum has the National Collection of Telephone boxes. I could write a piece about each sort of box, or you could just enjoy the photos.

A wonderful collection of AA and RAC boxes too – what we did before mobile phones.

And some police boxes (in the days when we had police).

They had a very nice café. I had a large pot of tea, and a very small cup and saucer.

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