Chocolate, Coffins & Cornelius

After the best Death Cafe so far, I had a day off work with big plans. Laura T had bought us tickets to go to Cadbury World for my birthday, and while we were in that part of the country I was eager to visit another place I’d had my eye on for a while.

Cadbury World itself is fabulous and well worth a visit. It was so quiet there apart from a few school groups that we had a bit of a crazy time running about, eating chocolate and taking silly photos of ourselves. In hindsight, among the chocolate shoes, teapots and footballs, I should have asked if they’d make a coffin or a skull. Just a thought!

Just a tad excited to eat all the chocolate!

From there we drove about twenty minutes back into the city to visit an old factory known as Coffin Works. Coffin Works is the original home of the Newman Brothers coffin furniture business founded in 1894. Hidden away down Fleet Street, it’s only noticeable from a distance by the distinct turquoise signage outside. I picked up a leaflet for this place when I visited Abney Park cemetery with Laura D not realising it was in Birmingham but agreeing with myself that I would visit one day.

The factory itself closed in 1998 and shut its doors, but not for good. Those that cared deeply about the history and legacy of the building took great care until the funds were raised to open a museum on the site with many of the original features and fittings still in place.

We arrived not long before two o’clock and were told a tour started in approximately ten minutes so to go and wait in the courtyard until it began. Such a pretty courtyard it is!

Hanging out in the courtyard

Our tour guide is named Cornelius and he himself worked at the factory and knows the machinery there like the back of his hand. He showed us around every nook and cranny, telling us stories about the people who worked there and explaining how each part worked and would have looked originally. Cornelius even got quite emotional when telling us about one of the original staff members and I just wanted to tell him he was the best tour guide I’ve ever had. I think I then did, later on back in the shop and also in their guestbook!

The rather brilliant Cornelius

Please do visit the Coffin Works museum if you find yourself in Birmingham. It’s an hour tour which is rich in history and some heartwarming stories of the people who made coffin furniture (or the tea for those people) for some of the wealthiest and most important people in the country. An absolute bargain at £6 entry and you won’t regret it one bit.

Thank you to Laura T for a fantastic day out, it was incredible!

MG x

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