BCSC Study Day
Black Country: Stage and Screen
Saturday 14 March, Black Country Living Museum
Lights! Camera! Action!
A day of expert talks exploring the performing and cinematic arts in the Black Country. Our speakers will take you on a behind the scenes tour of the Black Country’s global contribution to music, theatre, comedy, poetry and film.
This study day includes several talks and a screening in the museum’s 1920s Limelight Cinema, plus lunch and refreshments. Tickets cost £20 and can be booked online through Black Country Living Museum, via telephone: 0121 520 8054 or email: email@example.com (Monday-Friday 10am-4pm).
What makes the region’s sense of humour unique? How did a Dudley-born lad become Hollywood’s highest paid director and help define a cinematic genre? What place does poetry hold in Black Country culture? How did a Black Country company kick start a rock ‘n’ roll revolution? These are just some of the questions that will be raised during this insightful, fun and informative day.
Confirmed speakers include (see below for provisional schedule):
James Laney – the Black Country’s rock and roll connections
Josiane Boutonnet – finding our Black Country funny roots
Dr Rob Francis – talking about poetry in the Black Country
Craig Denston – the life of Dudley-born Hollywood film director, James Whale
Dr Jefny Ashcroft – Black Country history and how it can make gripping theatre
Dr Sarah Whitfield – diversity in Black Country performance, 1900-1950
09:30-10:00 Arrival, registration and tea/coffee
10:00-10:15 Welcome and housekeeping - Dr Jenny Gilbert, BCSC Coordinator
10:15-11:00 Music – James Laney, CEO Laney Amplification
11:00-12:00 Humour – Dr Josiane Boutonnet, University of Wolverhampton
12:45-13:15 Drama – Dr Jefny Ashcroft, playwright
13:15-14:00 Theatre and Variety – Dr Sarah Whitfield, University of Wolverhampton
14:00-14:15 Coffee break
14:15-15:00 Poetry – Dr Rob Francis, University of Wolverhampton
15:00-15:15 Move to Limelight Cinema
15:15-15:30 Talk on Limelight Cinema and short screening
15:30-16:30 Cinema – Craig Denston, Independent Researcher
About BCSC Study Days
BCSC Study Days are your chance to dig deeper into the Black Country’s past, present and future. They bring together specially selected speakers to cover unexpected and overlooked aspects of the region’s culture, industry, traditions and history. The days are relaxed and friendly, with chance to explore aspects of the museum and collections. They are ideal for anyone with an interest in the area who wants discover more and see the region from a fresh perspective.
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 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’.