Sunday, 22 April 2012

Black Country


Where is the Black Country? You couldn't find it on the map could you?. The Black Country is the West Midlands region of industrial heartlands. Originally coal mining and the working of iron the Black Country region covers the areas of Dudley and Wolverhampton and stretches round West Bromwich to Wednesbury and Walsall. The name is derived from the mid 1900's when literally thousands of furnaces and chimneys filled the air with smoke. This was mining country. A smoking wasteland caused by underground burning coal and derelict and depleted coal faces.

The Industrial might of this region was known the world over. The worlds first successful steam engine for pumping water out of the mines was made in Dudley by Thomas Newcomen. The Black Country region produced vast quantities of metal goods. The American Consul in Birmingham in 1868 wrote "The Black Country, black by day and red by night, cannot be matched for vast and varied production, by any other space of equal radius on the surface of the globe". Furnaces and foundries worked round the clock, the thundering of machinery and the coal merchants fuelling the demand guaranteed that the Black Country played a prominent role in the Industrial Revolution. It was not without it's toll in human life. A visit to the Black Country Living Museum demonstrates what life was like in these times, so hard for us to imagine today.

Today, the Black Country benefits from traditional industries as well as more modern newcomers and is a growing tourist attraction in its own right.

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