If you've read my blog for a while you'll know that I'm from Walsall, a large industrial town in the Black Country, once the manufacturing heartland of the UK. Even if you've never heard of my home town you'll be very familiar with something made here, the Launer handbags the Queen always carries.
Known for its leather industry since the middle ages, Walsall's craftspeople manufactured and shipped saddles throughout the entire British Empire and at one time the town was home to almost a third of the UK saddlers. There are still over ninety thriving leather manufacturing companies in business and the town even has a leather museum.
What I didn't know was that during the 1950s we manufactured an iconic sports car, the Swallow Doretti,
Along with the Gadabout, an incredibly cool scooter.
As part of the Black Country Echoes Festival Kinky Melon, along with a handful of other local indie businesses, was invited to take part in Vintage Vehicles and Views, a celebration marking their 60th anniversary.
Built between 1954 and 1955 just 276 Swallow Dorettis were built at the factory at Aldridge Airport.
The groovy Gadabout was made from 1946 until 1951. This model used to retail at £103 in 1948.
Liz took quite a fancy to it.
These gorgeous delivery lorries were manufactured by Guy Motors in Wolverhampton which closed in 1981, the Black Country's longest surviving powered vehicle manufacturer.
I wouldn't mind having that John Lewis van as a pop-up vintage shop.
Or the chieftain mounted on Gilbert.
As well as some sexy motors was a hand-built, wood fired pizza oven doing a roaring trade.
And a local wood carver, Rustic Woodcraft, demonstrating and selling his wares.
Inside Top Hanger were an amazing variety of locally made handmade toys (from Dragonflies Den), silver jewellery (Jolene Smith), felting, painted furniture, home-made cakes & preserves (Hetty's Heavenly Treats), art and printed advertisements & printing blocks from Huxley's, a Walsall printing business founded in 1891.
Liz had a pitch opposite us with her Izzybird bags, corsages and honey from her hives.
I love an industrial setting, bare brick and concrete floors, corrugated metal and steel girders. I'm a townie through and through.
The salvaged cable reels with mismatched chairs and jam jars filled with wild flowers, brambles and berries were a lovely touch.
There were some great local bands on, too. This was The Brave Boys blasting out a bit of 1950s rock 'n' roll. All in all, a fabulous FREE event for every age group.
If you live in the West Midlands go to the website and download a programme. There's absolutely loads of interesting FREE stuff on from now until December with everything from art, films, canal trips, exhibitions, visits to temples and houses, events and parties.
Wherever you live, learn to love your home town instead of moaning about it. We do!
See you soon.
Linking to Patti's Visible Monday.