The great grandson of an early 20th century greengrocer was pleasantly surprised to find out that his Grandmother’s shop will have a place in history, as the building is restored to its former glory, complete with costumed characters at a Living Museum.
The original two up two down building, once occupying 39 Lower Lichfield Street in Willenhall has long since been demolished, but a brick-by-original-brick replica has been at Black Country Living Museum for over 20 years. After extensive research by the Museum’s curators it was discovered that the home actually served as a greengrocers and was run and lived in by a Gertrude and William Adey and their two children from 1916 until at least 1932.
A public appeal for more information culminated in a very surprising call for Gertrude’s great grandson Andrew Adey, who had no knowledge of the building at the museum or its restoration into a 1916 greengrocer shop.
“I’ve been researching my family tree on and off for thirty or so years,” comments Andrew, now living in Wolverhampton and working as a dentist, “to learn that theBlack CountryLivingMuseumis going to recreate a part of it is very exciting.”
The shop will be restored to its original state as of 1916, during the midst of World War One. A costumed character will be teaching visitors about the life of Gertrude Adey while her husband was away at war. Only fruit and vegetables that were available during this period of history, and in season, will be sold. To be truly historically accurate, the museum will look at using leftovers to make pickles, preserves and chutneys which visitors will be able to purchase.
Mark Reeves, General Manager for Food & Drink comments, “for the Museum this is an opportunity to do something really special – not only will we be selling seasonal, locally-sourced fruit and vegetables to visitors, but the shop will also be supplying the multiple cafes and eateries across the site. This is a waste-not-want-not exercise, just like how it would have been in 1916.”
The shop officially opens on Saturday 26 July.
BCLM Link here