About Dudley Central Civic Restaurant

Purpose built in 1948 the Civic Restaurant in Dudley was part of a government led initiative to change popular wartime British restaurants into civic restaurants. These aimed to provide affordable and nutritious food without diners needing to use their precious personal rations and was particularly important in the Black Country as many companies were too small to run canteens for their workers. Prior to this, most British Restaurants had been located in makeshift venues like church halls, town halls and school buildings. Dudley’s were in church halls at St John’s Kate’s Hill, King Street Methodist, and St Christopher’s, on the Wren’s Nest estate. But a handful of councils looked at Civic Restaurants as an opportunity to build brand new, modern and efficient restaurants – Dudley was one of this pioneering group.


The Civic Restaurant, built by the bus station to a modern pre-cast concrete design, was designed for mass dining, serving midday dinners, coffees, teas and evening meals for to up to 200 people at a time. The restaurant featured an open plan kitchen, a mural designed by local students from Dudley Technical College, coffee room and a terrace. In later years it was also hired out for private functions, dances and wedding receptions. Dudley’s Central Civic Restaurant was a great success to begin with, but as more prosperous times came to the Black Country, diners began to look elsewhere for less basic cuisine, and the restaurant began to struggle. Despite a revamp in 1954 as the Ednam Restaurant, with new menus, jukeboxes, and carpets, by 1956 it had become unprofitable, and closed later that year. The building was then used for several different council purposes following its closure, most notably as the home of the Black Country Museum Development Office from 1975-1984. The building was eventually demolished to make way for Dudley’s new bus station with many fixtures and fittings sold at public auction.


Do you have memories of dining or attending a function in the restaurant in the 1940s to 1950s? Did you or anyone in your family eat, join in a celebration or work in the Civic restaurant? Can you remember the food, the decoration or even the mural? Please get in touch with us by emailing collections@bclm.com or by calling 0121 557 9643.  For more information about BCLM: Forging Ahead, please visitwww.bclm.com/forgingahead. To keep up-to-date with the project please visit the Museum website (www.bclm.com/forgingahead), follow the Museum on twitter @BCLivingMuseum or like the Facebook page, ‘The Black Country Living Museum’.


The Gas Showroom has been removed from West Bromwich High Street to be rebuilt at BCLM.

BCLM would like to build an archive of material to accompany the future exhibit and would be interested in obtaining your memories. 

Please contact the Black Country Living Museum

Major Development Plans are Forging Ahead


Congratulations to the Black Country Living Museum which has received the final go

ahead to begin its transformational £23m development project ‘BCLM: Forging Ahead’

in Summer 2019, thanks to confirmation of £9.4m of funding from the National Lottery

Heritage Fund, alongside existing funding from the Black Country Local Enterprise

Partnership and Arts Council England.  As Andrew Lovett, Chief Executive, has stated

'it has required a huge team effort across the Museum'. 

Since January 2016, the Black Country Society, represented by Secretary, Judith Watkin,

and the Co-Chairs of the Society's Industrial Archaeology Group, Keith Hodgkins and

Pete Glews, has been part of an Advisory Panel, helping to plan the new 1940s/50s 60s

development which will include the Woodside Library, taken down brick by brick and

transported to the Museum.  Past Presidents of the Black Country Society, Ned Williams

and Dr Trevor Raybould have also been involved.  Other buildings to be erected include

the Gas Showroom from West Bromwich and replications of Stanton's record shop, Dudley; the Stourbridge Road Co-op, Halesowen; and from Wolverhampton, the NHS clinic - Lea Road Infant Welfare Centre and the Elephant and Castle pub.  (For further details of the plans see https://www.bclm.co.uk/forging-ahead/our-plans/1.htm)

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