The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley is set for a major expansion following a £30m investment from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA),
The museum’s ‘Forging Ahead’ project will see the construction of a brand-new visitor welcome centre, learning spaces, industrial quarter, historic town and the creation of around 140 new jobs.
The first phase of the project will feature 22 historic buildings and structures, including the recreation of Wolverhampton’s Elephant and Castle pub. Dudley’s Woodside Library will also be transported to the museum and be rebuilt brick-by-brick as one of the main landmarks.
The project is said to be the largest and most ambitious development since the location opened in 1978, and will expand the size of the museum by around a third, allowing for around half a million visitors a year.
The project was initially stalled due to a major funding gap that had arisen because of the costs of cleaning up the derelict industrial site. The WMCA has now intervened with its Board committing devolved housing and land investment to fund the clean-up and make the site ready for development.
Detailed negotiations are now taking place with the museum on the final terms of the investment.
Andrew Lovett, chief executive officer at Black Country Living Museum, said: “Forging Ahead is now more important than ever to the future of the Museum and our region. It provides added momentum to thrive once again for our community following the unprecedented challenge of the pandemic.”