Black Country Living Museum (BCLM) has today (19 January) announced that work will soon begin on its Forging Ahead project - the museum's largest venture to date. 

A major expansion for the Tipton site, the project's £30million investment has been made possible with support from numerous funders, including the Department of Culture Media & Sport’s Capital Kickstart Fund via the Culture Recovery Fund, National Lottery Heritage Fund, and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.  

Phase one of the project will see the construction of 22 historic buildings on the museum site. There will also be a brand-new visitor centre, learning spaces, and an Industrial Quarter to highlight the Black Country's contribution to post-war manufacturing.

A 1940s-to-’60s town, heralding the social and political changes experienced by the region, will form the centrepiece of the project. Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and smells of everyday life via an NHS clinic, record shop, barbers and Coop supermarket. Notable local buildings to be reconstructed onsite at BCLM will include Woodside Library from Holly Hall in Dudley and the Elephant & Castle pub, which once dominated the corner of Stafford Street and the Cannock Road in Wolverhampton. 

The museum’s new visitor centre is scheduled to open from early 2022 and the 1940s-to-’60s historic town and industrial quarter will welcome visitors in 2023. The development will expand the BCLM’s footprint by about a third and increase its capacity to 500,000 visitors per year by 2026.