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Oak House Museum, West Bromwich

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Paid a visit to a museum I had not heard of before looking at that area a year ago. It is not on any main road or directly on a bus route and is entirely surrounded by late victorian/edwardian terraced houses. Entrance is free and they have attempted to provide much to occupy the young. In fact I think probably most of their visitors are school parties, but is of interest to all. the gardens have been planted as far as was possible with plants of the period (so I understand- I'm no gardener). Entrance is free but only open to casual visitors on specific days april-end September, and it will be closing this october for a year or more for refurbishment, including removal of the victorian colour scheme of black and white which was never the original tudor scheme, despite many house owners believing that it was.
The house was a yeoman farmers house, probably from c1600. It seems to have been occupied originally by the Turton family, originally farmers, but who later became prosperous in the area from nailmaking. In later years John Wesley preached there twice. The mayor of West bromwich purchsed it in th e1890s , and eventually gave it to the town as a museum.
First, outside photos:
P1000055A.jpg P1000056A.jpg P1000063A.jpg

The kitchen and hall, and also a very old chest from a local church, used for storing valuables,which was placed in the house when the church was being renovated, but when the renovation was complete it was decided that it was too fragile to move back, so the house got an added item . Good trick if you can get away with it!!

P1000064 kitchen.jpg P1000068 hall.jpg P1000075 old church chest.jpg
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Old games on display,

P1000072 games displayed.jpg

Upstairs passageway showing very old flooring and stairs on which one has to be very careful

P1000084 upstairs passageway showing floor.jpg P1000107 stairs take care.jpg

Main bedroom and fireplace (could not use flash in bedroom as bed hangings are very old and fragile)

P1000086 main bedroom.jpg P1000089 fireplace in main bedroom.jpg

Upstairs landing and servant's bedroom ( a little less plush)



P1000093 upstairs landing.jpg P1000097 servants bedroom.jpg

Finally downstairs study with beautiful writing desk, which I coveted

P1000109 study.jpg P1000110 study.jpg P1000112 writing desk.jpg
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Mike, thanks for the information and excellent photos. I never knew this place existed, it’s on my list places to go.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
thanks mike what a lovely place it looks...both inside and out...will try and get there before it closes for refurb...and well done to the mayor of west bromwich...

lyn
 

nickcc101

master brummie
Good to see the house left as it would have been (more or less). We have a property that was similar to this until taken over by the National Trust, now converted to rental apartments with modern plumbing and furniture in many rooms. The property is very imposing from the exterior and has been used in the TV series Poldark ( Godolphin House ) but must be a real disappointment for visitors expecting to see a real country Manor House plus the fact that it can only be viewed internally for one week per month if you're lucky as rentals take precedent over visitors.
 

Bill Boyd

master brummie
Wonderful photographs, i would really love to go to this museum, but i was a little put off by it not being on a bus route, however i find that i can get there with just a 4 minute walk from the tram stop, The Oak House Museum.jpg
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yes Bill. It is downhill to the house, but uphill back to the tram stop, or when you leave downhill down Cambridge St (by the side of Oak house) to Bromford Lne, which has very frequent buses to West Brom bus station.
 

Rosary_Boy

master brummie
Old games on display,

View attachment 125647

Upstairs passageway showing very old flooring and stairs on which one has to be very careful

View attachment 125648View attachment 125653

Main bedroom and fireplace (could not use flash in bedroom as bed hangings are very old and fragile)

View attachment 125649View attachment 125650

Upstairs landing and servant's bedroom ( a little less plush)



View attachment 125651View attachment 125652

Finally downstairs study with beautiful writing desk, which I coveted

View attachment 125654View attachment 125655View attachment 125656

The photos are very good
 

JohnO

master brummie
Not many seem tohave heard of it, though it has its own web page (https://www.sandwell.gov.uk/info/200265/museums_and_art_gallery/8/oak_house/1) did not put originally in post but the Turtons were later described as gulgropers,ie moneylenders. I think that is a wonderful word.

Hi Mike - great pics, ta! I used occasionally to do my homework on the big table * (front room on right hand side) - not much is changed, apart from some recently made ‘rustic-type’ furniture. The last owner, Elizabeth Turton, was a cousin of sorts, to my great grandfather. She was a great traveler (according to family legend) - I inherited a few small pieces she had bought back from the Far East : a small, round metal box, beautifully inlaid with coloured metals; a brass ‘Yin/Yang token - now sadly lost. Plus a childs’ toy pistol, inlaid with Mother-of-Pearl; a soap-stone vase/decoration and, a couple of oriental, bamboo brush/pen-pots.

* the then elderly lady who acted as curator (?) during the 50’s and 60’s was a friend of my father (he used to repair bits and pieces of the woodwork) and, during the dark, winter months, she used to allow me to spread my school books over the table, and do my homework during the last hour or so before she locked-up. Why would I? Well, wouldn’t anyone, given the chance? I have fond memories of working away, in the warmth and light of the open fire. It was all very cosy.

However, my last visit, circa 1967-ish, wasn’t so good, as unknown to me, the old lady had retired. I’d just just got started on my homework, when this angry bloke appeared, demanding to know what the hell I was doing! It took some explanation, between bouts of his abuse, but I was still chucked out on my ear. I recall my father laughing like a drain, when I told him about it.

I have, somewhere, a photograph of myself, taken when I was a small toddler, using the ‘baby walker’ - as seen in your pic, in the bedroom with the tester bed - although back then, it used to be kept in the back room, off the first reception room.
 

JohnO

master brummie
A few further remarks: the garden and surrounds are now much improved to what they once were. I recall only a shabby old knot-garden, and few trees. It was quite a bleak setting. As a child, I had seen Victorian/Edwardian-era postcard/photographs of the place, that showed a far more attractive vista. I suppose it must had suffered somewhat, between the wars; and there wasn’t money enough back then, to restore it to its present glory. However, the inside looked, and felt, more like a real ‘home’ - whereas now, it is much more of a museum - obviously! Also, there is now much more furniture, and other content, than in my day - a tad overkill perhaps, but still a very lovely place.
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Excellent personal recollections, John, that add a bit of reality to the rather museum-like appearance of it today. Lovely building however, though I wouldn't like to be responsible for its maintenence.

Maurice
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thank you John for the recollections. If you can find the picture of yourself in the babywalker, I would love to see it if you could post it on the forum
 

JohnO

master brummie
Thank you John for the recollections. If you can find the picture of yourself in the babywalker, I would love to see it if you could post it on the forum
Thanks Mike. Being a bit of a hoarder (massive understatement!) I couldn’t guarantee finding the photo’, even supposing I began a concerted search tomorrow. It may reveal itself one day, or ten years hence - I wouldn’t know where to start; things have got a tad out of hand! Made worse still, by having a vast collection of Victorian/Edwardian photographs (mostly studio portraiture) rescued in the mid 60’s when my brother-in-law took over an old photographer’s business in Walsall - each stored portrait sample was accompanied by a half, or full plate, glass negative. I could only save the sample/specimen photographs - it broke my heart to see those glass plates smashed up in rubbish bins. So much history destroyed - it was nothing short of sacrilege! Not to mention the destruction of many large, mounted and framed portraits, glass and all, and often in ornately decorated frames; all just smashed to pieces. Of course, I understand that the space was needed, but still ...

I rescued two large suitcases of prints - damned near pulled my arms from their sockets!) - and I’ve carted them around ever since.

Added to which, were an almost similar quantity of photo’s rescued from the now defunct ‘Boarder Press’ archive - a Scots regional newspaper group, for which I did occasional relief work, whilst I was a student during the 70’s. These included every aspect of local press photography, taken during the 60’s and 70’s. Somewhere, the negatives still exist (I hope!) but I have the sample copies, with all the relevant details, date stamped, on the back.

Well, now I’ve got that off my chest, my apologies for rambling on!
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
No apologies needed. You sound a bit like me, though in my case it is a 2 foot high pile of civil engineering drawings
 
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