Black Country Living Museum defies snow as ‘game-changer’ vaccine centre opens

A coronavirus vaccination centre has opened its doors at The Black Country Living Museum, known to millions of Peaky Blinders fans as the backdrop for numerous scenes from the hit TV drama.

Council and museum staff at the West Midlands attraction, which preserves the history of the Black Country through dozens of reconstructed shops, houses and industrial areas, cleared away snow to allow the 26-acre site to open as planned on Monday.

Conference and exhibition space at the site is being used to provide reception, waiting and vaccination areas at the museum in Dudley.

Museum Chief Operating Officer Natasha Eden said: “Our remit is to be here for our community and for the area of the Black Country. We can’t do that as much as we’d like to at the moment – with the museum being shut.

“This really give us an opportunity to be here for our community in these extraordinary times – and for people to come somewhere they’re familiar with and where they feel comfortable.

“When we got the approach from the NHS we were really glad that they had thought about us and that they wanted us to be involved.”

The museum’s COO added: “We took that as a massive compliment – that an organisation that’s well-known for welcoming people for great days out and to learn about the Black Country can actually turn its hand to supporting this as well.

“Everyone has come together as much as they can to make sure that this can be a great success.”

Coronavirus – Mon Jan 25, 2021
Coronavirus – Mon Jan 25, 2021

The new vaccine centre, confirmed last week by the NHS’s Black Country and West Birmingham clinical commissioning groups, has been described as a “game-changer” for Dudley and the surrounding area.

It is offering invite-only vaccines, with patients receiving letters to attend appointments, prioritising jabs for people most at risk of complications from Covid-19.

People are being urged not to call or contact the museum directly, but wait to be written to by the NHS.

Coronavirus – Mon Jan 25, 2021
Coronavirus – Mon Jan 25, 2021

Pharmacists Davinder Manku and Josh Athwal were among the first people to receive an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at the museum.

Among the Peaky Blinders scenes filmed at the museum – where a canalside area is transformed into Charlie Strong’s Yard – was the show’s infamous tea party scene.

Attractions at the open-air museum, which has organised Peaky Blinders Nights allowing fans to walk in the footsteps of their favourite characters, include a chain-making shop, a 1920s cinema and an 18th century pub which was moved brick-by-brick to the site.