A bank holiday is the perfect chance to enjoy a family day out, but with the weather not exactly looking tropical last weekend, I didn’t really fancy traveling to far afield. With this in mind we decided to enjoy the 1940s day at Haden Hill House, a gorgeous Manor House built in Cradley Heath in 1878, with a much older Tudor hall next door. Haden Hill House is now a Sandwell Museum, and is set in some exquisite park land that now has a children’s playground, forest and woodland walks to enjoy.
On Monday, Haden Hill House played host to a 1940s day. Now, I am rather partial to the style and the music of the 1940s, and fancied a little bit of dressing up, so I hoped the rain would hold and went to enjoy all that was on offer. Entrance was free, although there were some refreshment stands and a few craft stores where you could buy something. This was my one disappointment about the day, I was hoping for some vintage clothing and accessories stores, but sadly there were none. (definitely a tip for next time Sandwell).
But there were plenty of other things to enjoy. The music from the Steve King Big Band was just wonderful, totally evocative of a time when things may have been pretty awful, but the music was pretty wonderful. There were soldiers and civilians were walking around in different costumes, members of the Forever 40s reenactment group, and there were fabulous vintage vehicles to look at and enjoy.
Inside the Tudor part of the hall there was a chance to try some wartime food, as long as you bought a ration card first for £1(such a lovely idea). The food included Spam sandwiches and Anzac biscuits and was pretty revolting to say the least. But it was still interesting to try it.
The 1940s Day was also a perfect excuse to take a good look at Haden Hill House. It is a truly stunning building, especially for anyone who is a fan of the Arts and Crafts Movement or beautiful glasswork. I loved the tiled floors, the period features and lovingly recreated rooms. It is a lovely place and one definitely worth a visit.
We had a lovely few hours at Haden Hill House and applaud Sandwell Council for putting on free events for families in their wonderful museums.
Getting into costume