By Tristan Harris 25/06 Updated: 01/07 00:19
A HISTORIC house that provides a fantastic insight into Bromsgrove's nailmaking past has been saved for future generations to enjoy, thanks to Avoncroft Museum receiving a £100,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The two-up, two-down nailmaker's cottage, at Lickey End, has been saved from demolition and will be reassembled at the museum's open air site, after being carefully dismantled.
Records show the building, which has a nailer's workshop at the front, remained in the same family from 1871 until 2008 - since then it has stood empty.
The largely unaltered cottage has been described by experts as a 'remarkable find' and saving it has become a priority.
Reyahn King, the head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: “This is a fascinating project that will save a fine example of the area’s world-beating cottage industry.
"Such a find is rare and provides the basis for an excellent education programme.”
Avoncroft director Simon Carter thanked the HLF for its support with the building, which he said would become such a valuable resource to the museum.
The cottage will show the harsh living and working conditions of the people who, over a period of 300 years, helped make Bromsgrove the 'nailmaking capital of the world'.
A good nailer could produce 24,000 nails per week but the trade was badly rewarded.
Whole families took part in the trade and, according to the 1861 census, nailmaking accounted for a quarter of the child labour in England and Wales. In the mid-1800s it was estimated that 10,300 people in Bromsgrove were working in the trade - and there were as many female nail-makers as there were men.
Avoncroft, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, will be running nailmaking courses and help local people trace online whether their ancestors were engaged in nailmaking.
Mr Carter added: "Regionally, when people think about working conditions in times gone by, they tend to focus on what life was like for people working in factories.
"This property is critically important because it gives us an insight into the day-to-day experiences of people working in a true ‘cottage industry’.
"We’re delighted that we can now preserve it for future generations.”
The work will begin in the next three weeks and will take three weeks to complete and the cottage should be fully open in May next year.
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