The Victorian town of Blists Hill was the first thing I remembered about the area from when we visited many years earlier, and I was, therefore, more than happy to revisit and find out about life as it was in Victorian times.
Located just outside of Ironbridge Gorge, the site has in part been preserved with original, for example, blast furnaces and brick works, and in other parts, buildings have been relocated brick by brick from within the county. This means there are numerous buildings, work places, and shops, all working establishments, to visit including grocers, chemist, and dentists.
From the moment you leave the ticket office, you know you have stepped back in time. You are greeted by a video projected onto each wall of a room showing men working in blast furnaces, it is so cleverly done you can feel the heat and are deafened by the noise. When you emerge blinking into the light you have arrived in the year 1900 and the whole town is set out before you with Victorian characters going about their daily lives.
I would recommend you make a beeline for the bank to exchange your money for shillings, tanners, and ha’pennies. It’s not obligatory, but you don’t want to pass up a chance to use old money which can be spent in town.
Almost everything in the shops is for sale. So the pharmacy with its apothecary jars would sell you a herbal remedy. You could buy fish and chips from the chippy cooked in dripping or as we did, delicious oat crunchies and ginger nuts from the bakery that we washed down with Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola and Dandelion and Burdock, we could have had these with a quick pint in the pub but at lunchtime it was full. Now that’s unusual!
We paid a visit to the Victorian School. The teacher plays her role incredibly well, so well I actually felt slightly nervous as she told me to come in, choose a seat and only speak when spoken to. Oh! visions of Mother Mary Agnes came flooding back.
Other attractions include a railway, a funfair, a smallholding with animals a print shop, candle makers and several houses where you could chat with the residents who are required to stay in character.
I suspect though that the bobby on his bike is not playing a role, if he is then he deserves an Oscar.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and spent most of the day wandering through the town, and the trip back in time is accurate down to the last detail.