Family Discovers Great Grandparents’ Greengrocers in Living Museum

The family of an early 20th century greengrocer were pleasantly surprised to find their Great-Grandparents’ wartime shop, thought to be long since demolished, fully restored with costumed guides in a Living Museum.

The original two up-two down building, once occupying 39 Lower Lichfield Street in Willenhall (Black Country, West Midlands) was taken down brick-by-brick and replicated by Black Country Living Museum in 1995 and has been at the museum since.

After extensive research by the Museum’s curators it was discovered that the home actually served as a greengrocers and was run and lived in by a Gertrude and William Adey and their two children from 1916 until at least 1932.

A public appeal for more information earlier this year culminated in a very surprising phone call for Gertrude’s great grandson Andrew Adey, who had no knowledge of the building at the museum or its restoration into a 1916 greengrocer shop.

I’ve been researching my family tree on and off for thirty or so years

comments Andrew, now living in Wolverhampton and working as a dentist,

to learn that the Black Country Living Museum has recreated a part of it is very exciting.

Three generations of the family saw the shop for the very first time on Saturday 26th July, including Jim Adey (81) who remembers the shop in its later years, Andrew Adey (51) and his daughter Melanie (22).

Costumed characters playing William and Gertrude were there to greet the family, making the experience even more special. Gertrude Adey will be manning the shop, selling fruit and veg as well as teaching visitors about the life of the couple as they made their living and survived the war.

The shop, having been restored to its original state as of 1916, during the midst of World War One will only sell fruit and vegetables that were available during this period of history. That means no modern favourites such as kiwis, avacados or courgettes. To be truly historically accurate, the Museum will only sell seasonal items and will look at using leftovers to make pickles, preserves and chutneys which visitors will be able to purchase.



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