The Black Country is a loosely defined area of the English West Midlands conurbation, to the north and west of Birmingham, and to the south and east of Wolverhampton, around the South Staffordshire coalfield. The West Midlands conurbation is the name given to the large Conurbation that includes the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the large towns of Birmingham ( ˈbɜːmɪŋəm Ber -ming-um Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. A coalfield is an area of certain uniform characteristics where coal is mined It has a combined population of around one million.
By the late 19th century, this area had become one of the most intensely industrialised in the nation. The South Staffordshire coal mines, the coal coking operations, and the iron foundries and steel mills that used the local coal to fire their furnaces, produced a level of air pollution that had few equals anywhere in the world. Coke is a solid Carbonaceous material derived from Destructive distillation of low-ash low-sulfur Bituminous coal. Iron (ˈаɪɚn is a Chemical element with the symbol Fe (ferrum and Atomic number 26 A foundry is a Factory which produces Metal Castings from either Ferrous or non-ferrous alloys Steel Mill was one of Bruce Springsteen 's early bands and performed regularly on the Jersey Shore, in Virginia, and also in California from 1969 Air pollution is the human introduction into the atmosphere of Chemicals Particulate matter, or Biological materials that cause harm or discomfort
It is popularly believed that The Black Country got its name because of pollution from these heavy industries that covered the area in black soot. There is an anecdote (of dubious authenticity) about Queen Victoria ordering the blinds lowered on her carriage as the royal train passed through. Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901 was from 20 June 1837 the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland However, historians suggest that it is more likely that the name existed even before the Industrial Revolution; outcroppings of black coal scarred the surface of the local heath, and the presence of coal so near the surface rendered the local soil very black. The Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major changes in agriculture manufacturing and transportation had a profound effect on the
The Black Country is also known for its distinctive dialect, which differs slightly in various parts of the region.
Despite its close proximity to Birmingham, the vast majority of the Black Country's population refuse to claim membership of the city, and are fiercely proud of their area's identity as a separate region.
The bounds of the Black Country, however, are controversial, and the whole of Wolverhampton is included by some and not at all by others. The usual 21st century definition of the Black Country, encompasses the three Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton. A metropolitan borough is a type of local government district in England covering urban areas within metropolitan counties. Localities Localities within the borough include Amblecote Brierley Hill Bromley Coseley History of the Borough The borough was formed on 1 April 1974 as a merger of the County boroughs of Warley (associated with Worcestershire Localities Aldridge, Alumwell Barr Beacon, Bentley, Birchills, Blakenall Heath, Bloxwich The town of Dudley is sometimes referred to as being the Black Country's (unofficial) capital. Dudley ( is a large town in the West Midlands, England, with a population of 194919.
An older, more precise, de facto definition uses geology and follows the outcroppings of the South Staffordshire "thick" coal seam known locally as the "thirty foot seam", as bounded by the eastern and western boundary faults and on the north by the Bentley fault (which divides the South Staffordshire coalfield from the adjoining Cannock Chase coalfield. Cannock Chase ( is a mixed area of countryside in the county of Staffordshire, England. Near Halesowen and Stourbridge, the coal seams outcropped, providing a southern boundary. Halesowen is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the West Midlands, England. Stourbridge is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the West Midlands of England. On this basis parts of Walsall, Wolverhampton and Stourbridge are not part of the Black Country but West Bromwich is, although here the thirty foot seam is at relative depth. West Bromwich ( is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, in the West Midlands, England These delineations are still of importance locally.
A useful guide for outsiders is to regard the M5 and M6 motorways as the eastern boundary but this, even using the 21st century definition is only approximately correct, as Smethwick is to the east of it and most of Walsall lies north east of the M6 motorway. This article is about the M5 motorway in England See M5 for other roads numbered "M5" This article concerns the M6 motorway in England There are also M6 motorways in Russia (see Caspian Highway) Hungary (see M6 motorway Smethwick (pronounced 'Smethick' is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, in the West Midlands of England. The definition is simply wrong using the older geological definition.
The Black Country has coalesced into a single conurbation, but is unusual in that it has no single centre, having grown up from a number of historic market towns and industrial villages that have coalesced during the 20th century. It remains essentially polyfocal with many of the towns and villages remaining recognisable communities and in some cases resenting having been subsumed into a metropolitan borough whose centre is elsewhere.
The Black Country lies wholly within the West Midlands County, but was formerly divided between the ancient counties of Staffordshire and Worcestershire. The West Midlands is a Metropolitan county in western central England with a population of 2591300 Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. Worcestershire (ˈwʊstəʃə abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. Curiously, the ancient parish (and pre-1965 municipal borough) of Dudley was once a detached part of Worcestershire within Staffordshire and some still consider Dudley to be Dudley, Worcs. Worcestershire (ˈwʊstəʃə abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. Even more strangely, until 1845, much of the parish of Halesowen, including Oldbury and Warley Salop (but not Cradley or Warley Wigorn) was a detached part of Shropshire. Halesowen is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the West Midlands, England. Oldbury is a Town in the West Midlands in England. It is a part of the Black Country and the administrative centre of the borough of Sandwell Places in the United Kingdom called Cradley: Cradley West Midlands Cradley Heath, also in the West Midlands Shropshire (ˈʃrɒpʃɪə/ /-ʃə alternatively known as Salop or abbreviated in print only Shrops, is a county in the
The Black Country comprises parts of the city of Wolverhampton, and the towns of:
Industrialisation in the Black Country goes far back. Bilston is a town in England 's West Midlands region ( Wolverhampton) Blackheath is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, West Midlands, England. Brierley Hill is a Town and electoral ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, West Midlands, England. Coseley is a town located mostly within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in the English West Midlands. Places in the United Kingdom called Cradley: Cradley West Midlands Cradley Heath, also in the West Midlands Darlaston is a Town in the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall in the West Midlands of England. Dudley ( is a large town in the West Midlands, England, with a population of 194919. Sedgley is a town in the West Midlands of England, but historically in Staffordshire. Great Bridge is a village in the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, West Midlands, England. Halesowen is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the West Midlands, England. Lye is a Corrosive alkaline substance commonly Sodium hydroxide (NaOH Netherton is a town in the West Midlands within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley. Oldbury is a Town in the West Midlands in England. It is a part of the Black Country and the administrative centre of the borough of Sandwell Quarry Bank is a small town in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, West Midlands, England. Rowley Regis is a town in the Sandwell metropolitan borough of the West Midlands county, and a part of the Black Country in the United Kingdom Sedgley is a town in the West Midlands of England, but historically in Staffordshire. Stourbridge is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the West Midlands of England. Tipton is a town in the Sandwell borough of the West Midlands, England, with a population of around 47000 Walsall ( is a large industrial town in the West Midlands of England. Warley is a place in the metropolitan borough of Sandwell in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom. Wednesbury is a Market town in England 's Black Country, part of the Sandwell metropolitan borough in West Midlands, near the Wednesfield (population about 35000 is a town in Wolverhampton, West Midlands. West Bromwich ( is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, in the West Midlands, England Willenhall is a small town in the Black Country area of the West Midlands of England, with a population of approximately 40000 It was already an area where metal working was important as far back as the 16th century, due to the presence of iron ore and of coal in a seam 30 feet (9 m) thick, the thickest seam in Great Britain, which outcropped in various places. Iron (ˈаɪɚn is a Chemical element with the symbol Fe (ferrum and Atomic number 26 See also Kingdom of Great Britain Great Britain (Breatainn Mhòr Prydain Fawr Breten Veur Graet Breetain is the larger of the two main islands Many people had an agricultural smallholding and supplemented their income by working as nailers or smiths, an example of a phenomenon known to economic historians as proto-industrialisation. Proto-industrialisation (also spelled proto-industrialization) is a phase in the development of modern industrial economies that preceded and created conditions for the establishment
By the 19th century or early 20th century, many villages had their characteristic manufacture, but earlier occupations were less concentrated. Some of these concentrations are less ancient than sometimes supposed. For example, chain making in Cradley Heath seems only to have begun in about the 1820s, and the Lye holloware industry is even more recent. Lye is a Corrosive alkaline substance commonly Sodium hydroxide (NaOH
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, coal and limestone were worked only on a modest scale for local consumption, but during the Industrial Revolution by the opening of canals, such as the Birmingham Canal Navigations, Stourbridge Canal and the Dudley Canal (the Dudley Canal Line No 1 and the Dudley Tunnel) opened up the mineral wealth of the area to exploitation. The Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major changes in agriculture manufacturing and transportation had a profound effect on the Limestone is a Sedimentary rock composed largely of the Mineral Calcite ( Calcium carbonate: CaCO3 Birmingham Canal Navigations ( BCN) is a network of navigable Canals connecting Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and the eastern part of the Black The Stourbridge Canal is a Canal in the West Midlands of England. The Dudley Canal is a Canal passing though Dudley in the West Midlands of England. The Dudley Canal is a Canal passing though Dudley in the West Midlands of England. Dudley Tunnel is a Canal Tunnel on the Dudley Canal Line No 1, England. Advances in the use of coke for the production in iron enabled iron production (hitherto limited by the supply of charcoal) to expand rapidly. Coke is a solid Carbonaceous material derived from Destructive distillation of low-ash low-sulfur Bituminous coal. Charcoal' is the blackish residue consisting of impure Carbon obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from Animal and Vegetation
By Victorian times, the Black Country was one of the most heavily industrialised areas in Britain, and it became known for its pollution, particularly from iron and coal industries and their many associated smaller businesses. Culture The Victorian fascination with novelty resulted in a deep interest in the relationship between modernity and cultural continuities Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into an environment that causes instability disorder harm or discomfort to the physical systems or living organisms they are in This lead to the expansion of local railways and coal mine lines. "Railroad" and "Railway" both redirect here For other uses see Railroad (disambiguation. The Line running from Stourbridge to Walsall via Dudley Port and Wednesbury closed in the 1960s, but the Birmingham to Wolverhampton via Tipton is still a major transport route. Dudley Port railway station is located in the Tipton area of the borough of Sandwell, West Midlands, England. Wednesbury is a Market town in England 's Black Country, part of the Sandwell metropolitan borough in West Midlands, near the Tipton is a town in the Sandwell borough of the West Midlands, England, with a population of around 47000
The anchors and chains for the ill-fated liner RMS Titanic were manufactured in the Black Country in the area of Netherton. An anchor is an object often made out of metal that is used to attach a ship to the bottom of a body of water at a specific point A chain is a series of connected links. This article is about the literal physical chain Construction The Titanic was a White Star Line ocean liner built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland Netherton is a town in the West Midlands within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley. Three anchors and accompanying chains were manufactured; and the set weighed in at 100 tons. Units of mass There are three similar units of Mass called the ton: Long ton (simply ton in countries such as the United The centre anchor alone weighed 12 tons and was pulled through Netherton on its journey to the ship by 20 shire horses.
The area soon gained notoriety. Charles Dickens's novel The Old Curiosity Shop, written in 1841, described how the area's local factory chimneys "Poured out their plague of smoke, obscured the light, and made foul the melancholy air". The Old Curiosity Shop is a novel by Charles Dickens. The plot follows the life of Nell Trent and her grandfather both residents of The Old Curiosity Shop in In 1862, Elihu Burritt, the American Consul to Birmingham, described the region as "black by day and red by night", because of the smoke and grime generated by the intense manufacturing activity and the glow from furnaces at night. Elihu Burritt ( December 8, 1810 – March 6, 1879) was an American philanthropist and social activist
It is said that J. R. R. Tolkien based the grim region of Mordor on the heavily industrialised Black Country area in his famed novel The Lord of the Rings. In J R R Tolkien 's Fictional universe of Middle-earth, Mordor (from Sindarin Black Land and Quenya Land of Shadow The Lord of the Rings is an epic Indeed, in the Elvish Sindarin language, Mor-Dor means Dark (or Black) Land, and is sometimes even referred to within the novel as "The Black Country". Sindarin is an Artificial language developed by J R R Tolkien.
The heavy industry which once dominated the Black Country has now largely gone. Mining ceased in the area in the late 1960s, and clean air legislation has meant that the Black Country is no longer black. The area still maintains some manufacturing, but on a much smaller scale than historically.
Much but not all of the area now suffers from high unemployment and is amongst the most economically deprived communities in the UK; this is particularly true in parts of Sandwell and Dudley, and to a lesser extent Wolverhampton. Unemployment occurs when a person is available to work and currently seeking work but the person is without work. As with many urban areas in England, there is also a significant ethnic minority population in parts; resistance to mass immigration in the 1960s and 1970s led to the slogan "Keep the Black Country white!".
The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley recreates life in the Black Country in the early 20th century, and is a popular tourist attraction. The Black Country Living Museum (formerly The Black Country Museum) is an open-air Museum of rebuilt historic buildings located in Dudley in the West A tourist attraction is a place of interest where Tourists visit typically for its inherent or exhibited cultural value historical significance natural or built beauty or
The traditional Black Country dialect preserves many archaic traits of Early Modern English and even Middle English, and can be very confusing for outsiders. Early Modern English is the stage of the English language used from about the end of the Middle English period (the latter half of the 15th century to 1650 Middle English is the name given by Historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language spoken between the Norman invasion of Thee, Thy and Thou are still in use, as is the case in parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Yorkshire is a historic county of Northern England and the largest in Great Britain. Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea "'Ow B'ist", meaning "How beist thou?" is a common greeting, with the typical answering being "'Bay too bah", meaning "I bayn't be too bad". "I haven't seen her" becomes "I ay sid 'er". Black Country dialect often substitutes the word "ar" for "yes". Several word pronunciations have been changed as well: "you" is pronounced "yow", whereas "go", which is often pronounced "goo" or "gooin'" for "going", is more in line with pronunciations in the Midlands. (Please note that not all of the phrases used here to illustrate Black Country dialect can be heard throughout the entire Black Country area; most refer to the Dudley area alone. )
Inhabitants are proud to be known as Black Country "folk" and resist hints at any relationship to people living in Birmingham, calling Birmingham "Brum-a-jum" (Birmingham's colloquial name is Brummagem, a corruption of its older name of Bromwicham — and hence West Bromwich) or Birminam (missing the g and h out and saying it the way it's spelt). Residents of Birmingham (Brummies) meanwhile often refer to their Black Country neighbours as "Yam Yams", a reference to the use of "Yow am" instead of "You are". Dudley residents often refer to the people of Birmingham as 'Dummy Brummies'. Also, the town of Walsall can be pronounced War-sall. Walsall ( is a large industrial town in the West Midlands of England.
The strong Black Country dialect is less commonly heard today than in the past.
As the image shows, a road sign containing local dialect was placed at the A461/A459/A4037 junction in 1997 before the construction of a traffic island on the site. The A461 is a main road in Great Britain that links Lichfield in Staffordshire, with Stourbridge, West Midlands, passing through Walsall This island was completed in 1998 and was the first phase of the Dudley Southern By-Pass which was opened on 15 October 1999. The Dudley Southern By-Pass is a major road located in Dudley, a large town in the West Midlands of England. Events 533 - Byzantine General Belisarius makes his formal entry into Carthage, having conquered it from the Year 1999 ( MCMXCIX) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1999 Gregorian calendar)
The word endings with 'en' are still noticeable in conversation as in 'gooen' (going), callen (calling) and the vowel 'A' is pronounced as 'O' as in sond (sand), hond (hand) and mon (man). Other pronunciations are 'winder' for window, 'fer' for far, and 'loff' for laugh — exactly as Chaucer's English was spoken. Local dialect was (and probably still is to a lesser degree) quite distinctive between the different towns and villages of the Black Country.
The Black Country is home to two radio stations Beacon Radio and Classic Gold 990/1017 while the city of Wolverhampton has its own local station called 107.7 The Wolf. Beacon Radio is the name of a Radio station in the Midlands of England, previously known as Beacon FM, and before that Beacon Radio 303. Classic Gold WABC was a United Kingdom radio station broadcasting to much of Wolverhampton and Shropshire from studios in Dunstable. Both Beacon and Radio WABC (now called Classic Gold) have broadcast since 1976 from transmitter sites from Turner's Hill in neighbouring Rowley Regis. This article is about Turners Hill West Midlands For the village of that name in West Sussex see Turners Hill. Rowley Regis is a town in the Sandwell metropolitan borough of the West Midlands county, and a part of the Black Country in the United Kingdom
The Express and Star is the region's newspaper and publishes eleven local editions from its Wolverhampton headquarters (for example the Dudley edition will have a different front page from the Wolverhampton or Stafford editions). The Express & Star is an evening Newspaper based in Wolverhampton, England, publishing 11 different editions covering the Black Country Incidentally the Express and Star, traditionally a Black Country paper has expanded to the point where they sell copies from vendors in Birmingham city centre. Birmingham ( ˈbɜːmɪŋəm Ber -ming-um