New retro pub attraction to recreate treasured Wolverhampton drinking memories

John Purchase raises his glass in the renovated bar. He had the honor of drawing the first pint

The Elephant and Castle is the first part of the brand new multi-million pound BCLM: Forging Ahead development at the Black Country Museum and recreates the classic public house that originally stood in Wolverhampton.

The pub has been outfitted with period pieces, such as a smoking room and upstairs bar, as well as coloring on the wall to replicate cigarette stains and authentic beer coasters and napkins.

The upstairs lounge has a fully stocked bar and can be used as a party room

The Black Country Museum have been working to recreate the pub as it appeared in 1960, with much work collecting memorabilia and items from families and people connected with the original pub.

Some of these people were present at a special launch event where they enjoyed a few pints and a fish and chips lunch at the downstairs bar, including former owner John Purchase.

Guests enjoy a pint in the new downstairs bar

He had the honor of pulling the first pint and enjoyed a pint with his daughter Lisa Newell, admitting he was very moved to see the pub again.

He said: “It’s like seeing an old friend for me and it really made my day being here so I know it will be a lot of people when they see this place.

“I thought we wouldn’t see it again, but the Black Country Museum has done a great job putting it together.”

Lisa Newell and John Purchase share a joke seeing what the pub looks like

Lisa Newell said: “We donated Babycham glasses and we also had some original brass which we donated here.

“I think this place here will really bring back memories of it because I remember when it was demolished and there were university students, digging through the rubble to find something to salvage because they thought the have lost forever.

“I have to admit I was very moved when I turned the corner and saw that I felt like I was stepping back in time because it was such an iconic place.”

Toasting the pub’s good fortune are (front center left) Roy Mincher and his family who lived in the pub in the 1970s and (front right) former owner 1978-79 John Purchase

Dr Simon Briercliffe worked for six years from inception to inception as Head of Research to get the pub built and fitted with the right authentic touches.

He said: “It’s my job to make it as historically accurate as possible whilst bearing in mind that it will always be a functional pub so it has an accessible lift for example.

“We spent a lot of time interviewing people, customers, staff and others to get the right idea and worked to make sure we had everything we needed, like Babycham bottles, Irish whiskeys and the glasses of the time.

“What we want is to make it feel like a family pub and part of a close-knit community, so that it feels like a place where people can come and hang out. amuse.”

Chief executive Andrew Lovett said he hoped it could be a place people saw as a new museum icon

Andrew Lovett, Managing Director of BCLM, said: “The Elephant and Castle is the first building we will enter living memory, which is the big part of our Forging Ahead development, with 26 more buildings and features still to come. ‘next year. .

“We hope visitors will come to what we believe will become the museum’s new icon.”

The Elephant and Castle officially opens tomorrow.

Keith P. Plain