Black Country Living Museum to invest £30m in expansion

Black Country Living Museum is to invest £30m in 20 new buildings at its visitor attraction in Dudley, with the creation of 140 jobs.

Twenty-two historic buildings and structures will be constructed on the Museum site in phase one of Forging Ahead, making it BCLM’s largest single development project since opening in 1978.

Forging Ahead encompasses a brand-new visitor centre and learning spaces, plus an industrial quarter – which will showcase Black Country industry at the height of its post-war manufacturing prowess.

The centrepiece of the project is the 1940s-60s town (pictured), which will herald the social and political changes experienced by the Black Country during one of the most dynamic times in its history.

The Museum’s new visitor centre is scheduled to open from early 2022 and the 1940s-60s historic town and industrial quarter will welcome visitors in 2023.

The development will expand the Museum’s footprint by about a third and increase its capacity to welcome around 500,000 visitors per year by 2026.

By 2032, the project will contribute an extra £102.5m of economic benefit.

The project has been made possible with support from funders including National Lottery Heritage Fund, which provided £10m, the Department of Culture Media and Sport’s Capital Kickstart Fund via the Culture Recovery Fund, and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.

The museum currently has three food and beverage sites: Hobbs' Fish and Chip Shop, The Bottle & Glass Inn Outdoor Yard Bar, and Workers’ Institute Café.