A socially distanced day out at Blists Hill Victorian Town.
We were among the first people to visit Blists Hill Victorian Town when the attraction reopened at the beginning of July 2020 after being closed for three months due to the coronavirus crisis.
It was the first time we had been out on a ‘non-essential’ visit so we were excited to be out but also a little nervous about how we would feel and the restrictions that may be in place.
But we need not have been concerned. The entrance to the museum was well organised with clear social distanced queues and the museum itself has so much open space to spread around, there were no crowds to avoid.
The incongruity of having clear evidence of a 21st century crisis in a 19th century setting, didn’t jar with us, and we soon got used to the blending of the two worlds.
The first shop we went in was the sweetshop – it was quite strange seeing the plastic barrier across the counter and the shopkeeper, dressed in a long skirt and apron, taking a contactless payment.
But I was very happy to see these reassuring things in place and as we went into more shops and houses and of course, the famous chip shop, we became enthralled in the Victorian world created by the costumed actors as usual.
I loved how the museum had gone to the effort to put social distancing signs up which looked like they had been produced in a Victorian press shop, so they looked in keeping with the site, but also provided the direction and warnings to guide visitors safely around the site.
Having visited in the past, the school room has always been our family’s favourite buildings to visit, especially as my son is left handed and loves to hear the story of how Victorian children were forced to write with their right hands, so we were keen to take a look inside.
We entered the schoolroom by the main entrance and were met by the Victorian school mistress who gave us a very fitting lesson in how to wash our hands! A common Victorian lesson but one that has been resurrected in schools across the land over the last few months too.
Each generation has their problems to face, this current crisis might be ours, so it is fascinating to take a trip back into the past at Blists Hill, when life was much harder and crueller than the life we live today and to remind ourselves just how lucky we really are.
If you have been thinking about visiting Ironbridge, now is the time to show your support, as the charitable trust that runs Blists Hill and the other museums in the area has been hit hard losing £2 million in income due to the crisis – it needs to make £10,000 a day to keep running.
To ensure the correct amount of visitors on site and make sure queues do not build up at the entrance to the museum you must buy a ticket and then select a timed entry slot from www.ironbridge.org.uk
You can buy an Annual Pass to Ironbridge Museums at a discounted price at the moment and come back to any of the open museums as many times as you like for 12 months.
To make the most of the evening sunshine Blists Hill have extended their opening time until 7pm at night (Weds-Sun) so perfect for a later visit in the day.