Our long weekend - which now seems forever ago- away was fantastic, just what the doctor would have ordered, had I been to the doctors!
I'm going to share a little bit of knowledge I gained on my visit to the Black Country Living Museum.
On our way round, we happened upon this chap...
He was so engaging I didn't take as many photos as I normally would have. But basically, one makes an impression of the brass one wants to make in sand. One grooves a pouring channel with one's thumb. One then heats brass - which is a combination on copper ( which burns at 1000F ) and zinc which burns at gas mark 600, up to about 1400F . Slightly warmer than your average slow cooker!
One then pours the molten metal from its crucible using massive sugar tongs into one's cast one made earlier! One then lets it go cold. Once set, one 'breaks the mould' and one plunges the newly forged brass into a bucket of cold water.
The metal that has set along the pouring channel is called the 'git'. This is unwanted and goes back into the crucible because there is no further use for it. Hence, 'useless git'.
Now back to the edjucayshun.(sic)
Hands up if you thought horse brasses were invented to hang by the side of your Grandma's fire. Elderly Aunties especially in the 1970s may also apply. Well guess what! You'd be wrong!
If you look on my carefully borrowed google images picture you can see the horse brasses on the 'hosses' which is how the man above pronounced it.
But if you are now thinking that hoss brasses are necklaces for hosses, you'd also be wrong!
They were the original 'sign on the dotted line contract agreements.' The different designs were important too. Each design was actually a pub, inn, or a tavern. It was in fact like the first ever SAT NAV! Going in order from the bottom, the driver would 'read' the brasses and would recognise the symbol from the pub! ( side note - a lot of folks couldn't read in the black and white days before the flipping Victorians stuck their oar in and invented schools for all children to go to.)
The driver would then drop off the barrels at the pub, the publican would sample the ale. If he liked it, the hoss brass was detached and given to him. This acceptance of the brass indicated the fact that he had bought the beer on contract. Later on in the day, the brewery would send the money collectors round, take payment and collect the brass. It was also like a receipt!
Sorry if you already knew this but I positively was fizzing with this new information!
We also went downt pit. We also went on a canal cruise in the amazing man built caverns that run under Dudley. I've never ever been/seen anything like this before. It was fascinating. We didn't have the chips, although they smelt amazing. This was because we'd stuffed our faces at the hotel's amazing breakfast buffet! We were full to bursting! We did sample a shandy of the old fashioned ale though. It was a gorgeous day and I was glad we got there for it opening. Payment gets you year round passes, so we will definitely put in a return trip later on in the year. Even if it's just for the chips! What a great place!
We also fit in a trip to Kennilworth Castle. Beautiful place. The Earl of Dudley romanced Elizabeth 1st by building her a whopping great fancy pants addition to the castel original built in the 1200s. She still turned him down!
We, as English Heritage members always know it's a good one when non members have to pay £11 to get in!!!
Right, best get a wriggle on. First week almost done! Six to go! I will bob round your blogs and comment backwards through your posts over the weekend. The waistcoat was a bit too small, so it's going to someone else and I'm on with another bigger one for the original 'customer'!
Our way home was long and hot.
Lots of love from
Rachel *hands up if you spotted she's got a new photo doodle app thingy* Radiostar xx
Well I never knew the history of hoss brasses. I knew the hoses wore them but that was it.ReplyDelete
Looks like you had a great time.
It was brilliant and I'd go back in a heartbeat! I was fascinated by the story of the 'ossndray'Delete
Photo doodle app thingy noted. I'm chuffed you had a great weekend. What a shame your knitting didn't quite fit. I'm sure you'll find a worthy recipient. Thank you for the history lesson. The photograph you took of the castle through the trees is lovely. XReplyDelete
I just wish I had used a camera n not just my phone! It was just breathtaking X.Delete
I love learning things like that. The science behind it all doesn't interest me that much, but the reasoning of why people do or say things, well I could soak that up all day.ReplyDelete
I always think the same about car park charges when we go to a NT site, they're pretty steep as are the entrance fees compared to annual membership. Avebury would have cost us £44.50 plus £7 to park, Lacock Abbey £30.20. Our family membership for a year only cost £107. Definitely worth joining. xx
I know, Stonehenge would have cost us £88 to get in. Think it was free to park!!!Delete
We would be great day out buddies!!
Well I had no idea about the brasses being used in that way, I always thought they were a decorative thing! I also didn't know about the git - sorry, just had to write it! - but it makes sense doesn't it. Amazing where so many of the phrases that we use come from and actually originally had real meaning. My grandparents had what felt like 1000 brasses in their house, I wonder where they are now!ReplyDelete
I always thought they were like trophies the horses had won at competitions!!!Delete
lol - love the photos, the info and that you sound so happy!ReplyDelete
I was happy xxDelete
And this has only just appeared on my notifications! Bit late . . .ReplyDelete
No worries Joy! XDelete
I do remember horse brasses being quite the cutting edge in interior decorating here, too. (They went particularly well with the burnt orange and avocado green of the 1970's). That was actually very interesting. I thought they were just for decoration, part of the tack. And even though "useless git" isn't really a phrase used here, I have heard it, but never knew its origin. Your vacation sounds like exactly the kind I would like, too. Thanks for sharing! -JennReplyDelete
Thanks for reading Jenn X I love the history of phrasesDelete
Fascinating! I feel totally educated. A 'bostin' post, as they say in the Black Country!!xxReplyDelete
I'm glad I imparted some knowledge your way! XDelete
I've met a few useless gits over the years and none of them were attached to a horse brass. It is a fine sight to see a pair of heavy horse rigged up in their Sunday best, the coats gleam nearly as much as the brass.ReplyDelete
Pam I almost choked on my brew then!! That was so funny!!!Delete
Very good use of the photo doodle app thingy! And I didn't know any of that about horse brasses and found it very interesting. Sounds like you had a great couple of days.ReplyDelete
Cheers MMC! I wonder if you'll tell someone else what you now know!!Delete
I used to have the unenviable job of cleaning me mothers brasses and she had quite a few hoss brasses. Never knew there proper use but now I do.ReplyDelete
Glad you had a good time-x-
How funny that people wanted them for decoration!Delete
ooh, you're like Suzy whatshername on Countdown with your Origins of Words info! I love the origin of Useless Git. A phrase I use often!ReplyDelete
also very much enjoyed the use of your new doodle app thingummy! You used it wisely ;o) xx
I think there'll be no stopping me now photo doodle wise!!Delete
ooh, yes, meant to say that have not forgotten to email, just have been a useless git myself and concentrated on other stuff. So fret not, contact will be made. Just who knows when?! ;o) xxReplyDelete
No fretting! No worriesDelete
Very interesting and fascinating post. I have never been to England, but a series of books I am reading take place in the Black Country...ironic that I would now read of this area on a blog post. Perhaps it is a sign! :)ReplyDelete
Well thank you kindly and Welcome to my rambly little blog full of stuff and nonsense!Delete